2011 Preview – University of Pittsburgh Danger

by | January 5, 2011, 3:00pm 0

[stextbox id=”alert” color=”050505″ bcolor=”6cc3f8″ bgcolor=”ffffff” big=”true” image=”null”]School Name: University of Pittsburgh
Team Name: Danger
Captains Kayla Kleynen, Meredith Hadley, Sarah Roth
Coaches: Amanda Virbitsky, Tad Wissel
Year Founded: 2006 (prior to 2006, a consortium with Carnegie Melon)
Jersey Colors: Blue, gold, and white
Website: http://sites.google.com/site/dangerultimate2/
2010 Record: 31-13
Score Reporter

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get involved with Ultimate at your school?

Kayla Kleynen: This is my 5th year with the team. I went to Danger practice in the fall of ’06 and I was hooked almost immediately.

Rachel Olszewski: I’m a sophomore at Pitt and I’ve been playing Ultimate for a year.  I got involved with Danger at our school’s activities fair the first week of school.  A player came up to me and told me about Ultimate and I signed up.  When I started getting emails about practice I started going and I ended up really liking the sport and the people involved.

How did your Danger do last year? What was the highlight of your season?

Kayla: We finished last season T-9th at nationals. That was the first danger squad to qualify for Nationals. Winning the Metro East Regionals championship game was the highlight of my season.

Rachel: We did really well last year.  Last year was not only the first time that the Pitt woman’s team made it to College Nationals but it was also the first time any Pitt Ultimate team won at Regionals.  We also tied for 9th place at Nationals which is really good considering it was our first time there.  The highlight of my season was beating the University of Maryland in finals at Regionals on universe point.

Who is your favorite team to play against?

Rachel: I enjoy playing Maryland because they give us a real challenge.

Tell us about your captains. What do they bring to your team?

Kayla: Sarah brings a great attitude to the team—always positive and calm on the field. Meredith’s intensity on and off the field gets the team ready to go; she may not give the pump up speeches, but her play says it all.

Rachel: Our captains are amazing.  They each contribute to the team in a different way yet they work together to keep the team motivated.

Are there players on your team who deserve consideration for Callahan, All-Region, or Freshman of the Year? Tell me about them.

Kayla: Several of our juniors deserve all-region consideration—Meredith Hadley, Jeanne Sullivan, and Bailey Moorhead, among others. Bailey really stands out in this group, making huge contributions in all aspects of the game. Bailey was one of our best deep receivers last season and this season she (along with Jeanne) has stepped up to become a go-to cutter. Bailey is the girl I want to train with because I know she’ll push my limits. She’s the girl I ask to sprint down the field point after point to match up on a good handler—she does whatever she’s asked without complaint and she does it well.

Katelyn Loughery should definitely be in the running for FOTY. She’s a player like Bailey, in that she’ll fill whatever role the team needs her to fill. Katelyn will make you do a double take when someone tells you she’s a freshman.

Meredith Hadley: Kayla Kleynen, our fifth year handler, should definitely be considered for all-region. Her poise and skill on the field and her sportsmanship and leadership off it have been a huge asset to the team this year, as we lost many of the older girls from last season. She sets a great example for other players, with huge bids on D and O, big throws, aggressive D, and a strong respect for the game and her opponents.

Katelyn Loughery should be considered for Freshman of the Year. While she has had some prior experience, she has made great strides in the 2 short months of the season so far. She is always open cutting and has made some big plays for us. She is an extremely versatile player who plays D-line, O-line, cutting and handling when we need her to. She stays cool and keeps her focus in the game consistently.

So nearly a handblock. (Photo by Peter Guion- UltiPhotos.com)

What player is most likely to make a huge play as a thrower? As a receiver? On D?

Rachel: Kayla or Meredith are probably the most likely to make a huge play as a thrower.  They are both handlers so they know how to move the disc well but they also have great long throws which can usually end in a score.  Sarah B would probably be the most likely to make a huge play as a receiver.  She has great hands and can usually come down with the disc most of the time.  Kaitlyn would probably make a huge play on D.  She is a rookie but so far she has been one of the most aggressive players that we have when it comes to really working to get that D.

It’s easy to see when someone throws a huge huck or gets a layout D. Who’s a player you have to watch more carefully to see how valuable they are to your team?

Kayla: Mel Callahan definitely deserves some credit here. Mel makes huge contributions on the field, but her attitude on and off the field really keeps this team going. Mel is always positive and in your ear when she’s on the sideline. She knows how to bring her teammates up

Rachel: Mel.  She is a great handler and is really tall so it’s easier for her to catch floaty discs.  But I feel she contributes the most by always staying positive even if we are losing a game.  She is always there to answer any questions and give constructive criticism when needed.  She also does a great job at pumping everyone up before a game.

How does your team bring new players up to speed on ultimate?

Rachel: We try to get the rookies out throwing or practicing as much as possible.  We always stay open for questions and offer help when necessary.

Has your team set any goals for this season? What are they?

Rachel: We always have a meeting to set team and individual goals.  Mostly we want to be the best conditioned team, we want to win Sectionals and Regionals again, and of course do our best at Nationals.

A Danger player elevates for the disc at CUFF 2010. (Photo by Kevin Leclaire - UltiPhotos.com)

What has your team been doing this fall to prepare for the spring season?

Rachel: We have 4 team tournaments lined up.  We have practice twice a week and sometimes we have an agility session or a throwing clinic on the weekends.  We’re pretty much getting the rookies familiar with the game and starting to get our vets back into shape.

What tournaments do you plan to attend in the spring? Which one are you most looking forward to?

Rachel: We’re hoping to go to the Stanford invite in California.  But of course the sweetest tournament will be College Nationals.

What does your team do to get pumped up for a big game?

Rachel: We like to listen to rap music a lot.  But in our huddle before the game we always have someone say something inspirational to get us really pumped up.

What song would you pick for the soundtrack to your team’s 2011 highlight video?

Kayla: Pretty Boy Swag.

Rachel: All I Do Is Win.

Which team has the best shot at winning the 2011 USA Ultimate Women’s College Championships?

Kayla: I believe UCSB has a pretty good shot at the title. With two consecutive finals appearances, they have plenty of experience at that level and, based on last year’s roster, they likely only lost 3 players (or fewer if last year’s seniors returned for a 5th year). Wisconsin and Oregon are obviously also in the running, but they had very senior heavy squads last year.

Comments Policy: At Skyd, we value all legitimate contributions to the discussion of ultimate. However, please ensure your input is respectful. Hateful, slanderous, or disrespectful comments will be deleted. For grammatical, factual, and typographic errors, instead of leaving a comment, please e-mail our editors directly at editors [at] skydmagazine.com.