It is Nationals or bust for the UCSB men’s ultimate Frisbee team, who qualified for Regionals after defeating UC San Diego in Sunday’s sectional final 15-8.
The Black Tide went 4-0 in Saturday’s first-round round-robin action before moving on to the finals by defeating San Diego State 15-5 in the quarterfinals and UCLA 15-3 in the semifinals.
“We didn’t have any low points. We warmed up against some local teams from our section and we won the games easily as we kept our cool and didn’t let up,” sophomore Rory Orloff said. “We played our sectional rival UCSD in the finals and we came out with some big plays, one by Alex Roedel. We played hard – the best we’ve played as a team this year.”
Fifty minutes after the UCLA victory, Roedel started things for Santa Barbara by knocking down a pass from the Squid offense. The Tide’s offense fell into place shortly after that, taking an 8-5 lead into halftime and staying ahead the rest of the way.
“UCSD is a big rival for us, so everyone was little nervous going into that game because we haven’t played San Diego for awhile. That was the only game that we were really worried out that weekend,” senior co-captain Scott Perry said. “Personally I didn’t think we were going to be able to focus and play well against a lesser-quality team, but we were able to concentrate and dominate over those teams.”
Taking first place in sectionals gives the Black Tide a second-place ranking in their region (which includes teams from Arizona, Colorado and Southern California) as they head to Regionals in Colorado Springs on May 7-8. San Diego will also make the trek to Colorado and could face Santa Barbara again for a trip to Nationals. The Tide will begin running practices twice daily to prepare and are confident heading into the tournament.
“We played as a cohesive team, and that was the first time we’ve done that this year. We really figured out how to play as one team, as opposed to using individual strength. It looked great,” Perry said. “Our defense is still not up to the level that it needs to be, but our offense has improved a lot.”