With a single loss coming against national #3 Stanford, the UCSB Burning Skirts ultimate Frisbee team took third place in the Santa Barbara Invitational this weekend. Despite missing the overall goal of winning the tournament, junior co-captain Kaela Jorgenson is happy with the weekend.
“Obviously, we wanted to win the tournament,” Jorgenson said. “But we learned a lot this weekend and now we know we have to work hard to get to where we want to be.”
In a total of six games for UCSB this weekend, five came against teams ranked in the top 10 in the nation. Except for a few close games, the tournament hosts handled the tough competition with ease despite their youth. According to Jorgensen, with such a young team, any match they play in is good for its experience, regardless of the final score.
“We have a really young team this year of mostly freshman and sophomores,” Jorgenson said. “We’re going to rely on the younger players a lot which means they have to step up.”
As if the team’s inexperience wasn’t challenging enough, the team captains, including Jorgenson and junior Carolyn Finney, have implemented a new offensive strategy, which they started teaching just two weeks before the tournament.
“We were still learning the offense this weekend,” Jorgenson said. “It wasn’t as clean as it could have been, but it was definitely a learning experience, which is always good.”
Finney said that Santa Barbara’s offensive tactics have fundamentally changed, which definitely takes more time to learn and adjust to.
“The new offense focuses on the field horizontally instead of vertically,” Finney added. “Rather than using the side lanes, we are trying to focus more on the middle of the field.”
The Burning Skirts will have another chance to test out their new offense in three weeks in the President’s Day Invitational in San Diego. For captain Jorgenson, the tournament will offer even more chances to play against some of the best teams in the nation.
“At this point in the season, I want to play all of the teams possible and see what our competition is for the year,” Jorgenson said. “We would want to win the tournament of course, but it is a pretty big one with a lot of good competition.”
According to Jorgenson, the new offense – coupled with the team’s inexperience – will undoubtedly be the team’s hardest test of the season, but will ultimately prove to make the second-ranked team even better.
“It’s going to be tough just because we’re young, but that will be our biggest challenge,” Jorgenson said. “So far, though, I’m just excited about where the season is going.”