Mischief is one of those rare club teams that has not only been around, but dominated, for ages. It’s a testament to the strength of Bay Area Mixed Ultimate that they’ve received bids to nationals 5 of the last 6 years, but won their section even less than that. After not qualifying for Nationals in 2009, 2010 saw an amazing season. They frequently rallied during hard games, coming back from down 9-13 to win Labor Day, down 8-13 to win regional semi-finals, and down 9-13 to win Northwest Regionals. Unfortunately they didn’t perform as well as expected at the Big Show, finishing 7th at Nationals.
Mischief gained a bunch of studs this year, some new, some returning. Their men get bolstered by Matt Kissmann (previously of Flycoons), Chris Farina (Slow White), and Drew Kim (Funk, CTR). The new ladies bring a staggering amount of experience to Mischief’s game: Sally Mimms (Nemesis), Rachel “Rotch” Habbert (Stanford Superfly, coming off a successful college season), and most notably Karen “KB” Brimacombe (Fury, Riot).
They also gain back a fantastic roster of returners who weren’t with them in 2010, but have made their way back to the team. Look to UC-Berkeley stud Andrew “Hagen” Hagen (Mischief 2009) in the air, with his ridiculous skies and layouts. Coming off a national and world championship year with Fury, Kari Deleeuw (2009) is ready to win her mixed title. UCLA alum and former LA Metro captain Angie “Taz” Sanan (2009) has rejoined the team to show off her elegant handler skills. Finally, not one to keep the Smith brothers apart, Kevin “Dollar” Smith (2004-07) returns to his roots and reunites with brothers Mark and Kyle.
Leadership, Strategy, Philosophy
In the past, Mischief has shown true grit, running with their trademark “heart and legs” motto. This year, they’re looking to add more “brain” to their game. Captain Andi “Gizmo” Coleman says they’re looking to lead with more consistent, strategic play. Their goal, as always, is not only to secure their trip to Florida but to do all they can to win it. Though it’s a Worlds year, Mischief isn’t letting the formation of teams like regional rivals Blackbird or Bigfoot halt their stride – their ultimate goal is to go to Japan.
At their heart, Mischief is a defensive team. You’ll see more than a few defensive schemes ranging from zones to more poachy, or strict man. Each team has a weakness, and Mischief prides themselves changing up their strategy to exploit the weaknesses of each team they face. They also have incredibly sure hands on defense, and expect them to convert a lot of their turnovers. On D, watch out for Matt West, who not only serves as their prime puller, but also led the team in Ds at both ECC and Labor Day. Also check out Matt Kissman; previously an offensive starter for Flycoon, he’s transitioned well to his role on the D-line, and if Mischief scored a break, chances are he’ll have the disc in his hands. Is Dollar playing D? If so, expect a lot of one throw DOffensive huck conversions.
On offense, the team is going to focus on moving the disc, and playing it safe, swinging until the highest percentage opportunity presents itself. Here come the Smith brothers! Though teammates for 8 years, Mark and Kyle rarely played on the same line. Now they’re united in full force, and expect to see amazing throws from Mark followed up by some ridiculously acrobatic catch by Kyle. Also expect Kari Deleeuw’s experience with Fury to show through her calm and confidence with the disc and, in the rare case of a turn, defensive aggression.
Otherwise, there’s not going to be any big strategic changes for Mischief this year. They’ve worked to build their traditional camaraderie, making sure they have just as much fun off the field as on it; they really consider themselves a family. They’re going to take their road to nationals one point at a time, practice hard, play hard, and “boost it!” as much as possible.
Regular Season Results and Schedule
Mischief had a pretty successful regular season, going 3-3 at Emerald City Classic, and 4-2 at Labor Day. Significant wins include 15-13 over Blackbird and 14-13 over Polar Bears. But that’s earlier in the season and Mischief is definitely not taking anything for granted. In fact, this may be one of their greatest mental advantages, they’re going to work hard to make it knowing they can’t just coast to Sarasota.
While Gizmo shows excitement about the development of Mixed ultimate in the recent years, she also notes her team’s new strong competition. In the Bay Area alone they have to deal with defending national champs Polar Bears, Blackbird, and a beefed-up American BBQ. Their region is going to be even stronger, bringing in Seattle and Oregon teams to the mix.
Check out Mischief’s site at mischief.ultiteam.org, or at @mischief_nation. Make sure to look for their fantastic rendition of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” to pump them up before big games.