Lehigh University swept the field at both the Conference Championships and Regionals in order to qualify for the DIII Championships in Milwaukee. Their Captain Jeff ‘Byron’ Gilbert was able to answer a few questions leading up to the weekend.
Skyd: How is this year’s roster different from last year’s? More young players? Veteran team?
Jeff ‘Byron’ Gilbert: All except for three players returned from last year’s roster, though we bumped up the number of players on our team by one. We have four rookies on the roster, but otherwise we have a very veteran team. Of the seventeen members of Lehigh Ultimate, nine are seniors or grad students.
How did your spring season go?
Our spring season was incredibly successful, with an overall record of 34-7. We placed second at our first tournament, Business in the Burg, falling to George Washington in the finals – who had played two fewer games than us due to field conditions. At our second tournament, Callahans in the Capital, we took home third place, after falling to Columbia in a closely contested semifinal matchup. At High Tide Session II (which isn’t on Score Reporter, obviously) we went 8-0 and beat New Hampshire in the finals to take home the Elite Division Championship. Our one slip-up of a weekend came at Steakfest, where things never came together; we finished a disappointing 9th. We went undefeated at both East Penn Conference Championships and Ohio Valley Regionals.
Who’s been the team MVP this season?
Junior and assistant captain Nick ‘Falcore Moonblood’ Mathison is a force to be reckoned with, both defensively and offensively. He is 6’4” of pure athleticism and defensive prowess, with increasingly dirty throws to boot.
What will be your team’s focus until Milwaukee?
Playing our game. The success of our program comes from every player doing his part on the field. We certainly have big playmakers, but we’re at our absolute best when each cut and throw is executed like we’ve drilled time and time again at practice. Our focus will be on remembering how much we enjoy playing together, and working as one, singular unit.
What was the most difficult game you’ve played this season? What set it apart?
At our first tournament, we were down 2-6 against William & Mary in the semifinals. The fields were absolutely destroyed – the mud was so think that it was essentially like running in quicksand. The previous day had been four games of snow, wind, and rain. We battled back with a 6-1 run to take half 8-7, before clinching the game 14-11. Even though this game was early in the season, we defied one of our historic problems of getting behind in the score and rolling over. In the past, in close games that started to shift away from us, we’d give up. This victory was huge in that we reversed our trend and started breeding our new, tougher mentality that pushed us through to Nationals.
Most teams set goals before the season – have you accomplished those goals?
At the beginning of the season, each player set an individual and a team goal for the season, ranging from some of the rookies seeking greater confidence in their throws to Dan ‘Doug’ Thareja getting a first throw Callahan (the latter was accomplished during the semifinals of Regionals). Our number one goal was to win regionals, which we obviously accomplished. We also set, and accomplished, our goal of having a winning record at every tournament. We wanted to ensure that even in consolation games we were pushing ourselves to play how we know we can, every step of the way.
Rapid Fire Questions:
Song most likely to be played on your sideline?
It’s a fiercely contested three-way tie between “Die Young” by Ke$ha, “I Like It Like That” by Hot Chelle Rae, and “Ray Bands” by B.o.B.
Which professional team do you root for?
Philly Spinners, to support our players Justin ‘Chalky Beats’ Carter and Nick ‘Falcore Moonblood’ Mathison
Favorite timeout game?
Drink-drink-pass, aka the hydration game.
Which Game of Thrones character best embodies your team?
Answer per our women’s team’s coach, Pete: “Thoros of Myr. A skilled fighter, reveler, and priest of the Red God. He fights for the Brotherhood Without Banners. He is wise, self-aware, and a definite under dog. When in fine form, he is a formidable opponent.” [Best answer yet.]
Lehigh faces off against Puget Sound, Bentley and Rice on Saturday of the DIII Championships. Be sure to follow them on Twitter: @lehighultimate