With the hopes and expectations of a national championship always in the back of its mind, the UCSB men’s ultimate Frisbee team is off to a fair start.

This weekend, the Santa Barbara squad split into two teams to rumble in a home tournament. The more experienced team battled their way to the quarterfinals, but the other did not fare so well. According to fifth-year co-captain Jeff Silverman, the youth of the program as a whole played a big part in its performance.

“This year’s team is pretty new,” Silverman said. “We usually have quite a few returners, but this team is mostly first and second-year players.”

Although their age may act as a negative attribute when it comes to skill and experience on the ultimate field, it has its positives as well.

“The youth means that they will have less skill, but also more heart,” Silverman said. “As they begin to understand the flow of the game, they get better fast. The learning curve is huge. Even this weekend I noticed significant improvement from our younger players.”

Silverman and his fellow captain, senior Tim Beatty, are looking toward the Santa Barbara invitational showcase tournament in two weeks.

“It’s our best against the best in the country,” Silverman said. “Teams from Texas and Ohio will be coming, some of the best in the nation.”

The tournament will be held on Jan. 24 in Harder Stadium and will culminate in the UCSB team playing the best performer in the tournament at 7 p.m. As for Silverman, his goals remain as lofty as they look to improve upon this weekend’s games.

“We’re still a top 20 team in the nation, I think,” Silverman said. “And the national championship is our constant goal.”