Topping the Chart: University of Oregon Fugue

by | May 23, 2012, 12:44am 0

20 Days of Nationals and the 2012 College Tour are presented by Spin Ultimate

Oregon dominant reputation precedes them. Rumors of their crazy junk zone and the legendary coach Lou Burruss pave the way – and their intimidating roster backs it up every point they play. We interviewed Lou and Katie “Nij” Weatherhead, Oregon’s 2012 Callahan nominee, to shed some light on how the top seed at Nationals is taking on Boulder.

What has Fugue been focusing on throughout the season?

Lou: Growth

Nij: Finding our team identity through our successes and failures.

Nij, Lou is highly regarded as one of the top coaches in college women’s ultimate. Could you talk about what it is like to have someone so experienced as a coach, and what he has done for your team this season?

Nij: I don’t think I can exactly put into words the amount of work/love/attention Lou has given to Fugue.  His dedication to our team despite having a a family with three small children, a job, and living about an hour away is amazing.  His ability to juggle these things while still making every player on Fugue feel important is something that I truly admire.  Not only is he a talented strategist, but he is also amazing a reading people.  He knows when you need a pick-me-up and he knows when you need to be left alone.  I see that I am rambling now, but I truly think that I could not have been blessed with a greater coach.  I mean, of course he drives me crazy sometimes, but no one is perfect.

What have your goals been all season?

Lou: Growth

Nij: Tangible goals: Win conference and regionals to earn a bid to Natties!
Intangible goals: Support your sisters to make Fugue 2012 the best it can be.

Sophie Darch plays some intense D at Pres Day (Photo by Adam Lerman)

Who has really stepped up this season for your team to become a big part of your success on O and on D?

Lou: I have a really hard time with this question.  Can I answer it for UBC and UW?
UBC – Cat Hui, Rena Kawabata and Crystal Koo
UW – super balanced, but Sarah Davis and Sarah Edwards deliver most consistently.

Nij: Oregon D: Claire Stewart and Christina Schueler have been consistent top defenders.
Oregon O: Sophie Darch as well as our freshman class cutters have been making things happen on offense.  Also the return of Kimber Coles from Fugue 2010 has been an awesome addition.
Oregon Love: I just wanted to give a shout out to our Club ACL Members.  Bailey Zahniser, Angela Tocchi, and Molly Lanning.  They have been amazing support throughout the season despite torn ACLs.  Watch out for them next year!

What was your favorite tournament of the season?

Lou: Double Regionals.  Six games against UW and UBC, all great battles, 6-0.

Nij: I would agree with Lou, but Pres Day was also a blast.  It was the just the beginning of Fugue’s journey to where we are now.

What was your hardest game at Regionals?

Lou: Both UBC and UW2 were tough in their own way.  The UW game was probably tougher, just because we were down 8-7 at half.  Nij, who is our Callahan nominee, got hurt in the morning and couldn’t really throw.  That threw our offense out of sync a bit, plus they played great defense.

Nij: I agree with Lou, but I think a specific game to note is the showcase game against UBC.  We played at 7pm Saturday night under the lights with a huge home crowd, including EGO.  It was also the game to go. If we beat UBC, we would finish in the top 2 after the round robin and automatically advance. Our offense struggled with the pressure but our defense was on fire!  It was a great challenge preparing for the crowds and the pressure at Nationals.

How has your team grown all season to qualify for Nationals? What strategies have you been working on?

Lou: Unlike Fugue 2010 or 2011, this team is very new.  Lots of young players in big roles and so the biggest thing has been to learn what the team identity was going to be and how we could be successful with the players we had, because it was clear that the personality of this team was very different from those teams.  Offensively, we decided it was finally time to actually have one, so we made one up.  Defensively, I can’t quite remember, but it must work okay.

Nij: Growth, just in case you haven’t caught on, is a big thing for Fugue.  It is not easy to exactly say how we have grown, but all I know is that I have enjoyed the ride and are very happy where Fugue is today.  To be a bit more specific, our strategy on defense is what Lou calls “grudgy poo.”  What that means is that we all take it upon ourselves individually to find a match up that sparks a fire within you to play the best defense that you can.  Fugue 2012 has the best man defense I have seen on Fugue in my 5 years here.  On offense, we have had to play around with new things based on the amount of people we lost from last year (9, I believe).  This year’s team is completely unique from those in years past and adjustments have been made so that everyone fits.

Breakmark All American Freshman of the Year Jesse Shofner gets up (Photo by Adam Lerman)

What are you most looking forward to at Nationals? Who would you most like to face?

Lou: Nationals is where you get to see what your team is.  Who they are.  I have a pretty good idea and they do too, but it will still be great to see them perform on that stage.

Nij: I am most looking forward to spending more time doing what I love with the people I love.  This is my 5th and final year and I am going to cherish every moment I have left with my team.  I would like to see the teams we lost to at Stanford.  It would really show us how much we have grown.  I would also love to see UW again.  It is always a great game with them.

What will the focus be on until Boulder?

Lou: Fine tuning.

Nij: The focus of the focus is to focus.  Focus.

Feature Photo Showing off the Oregon Swag – Photo by Kyle McBard (

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]