Missouri Loves Company 2011
SERF rolled out of Gambier in two vans on Friday afternoon, embarking on a 10 hour long journey to Columbia, MO to play our last and most competitive tournament of the season. This was also SERF’s first fall tournament with a more or less full roster, finally giving us the opportunity to see what we are capable of at full strength.
In the first round of pool play on Saturday morning we dispatched the University of Northern Iowa AmmUNItion, the fourth seed in our pool, with relative ease, 15-10. During this game and the next D-line came out looking for blood, breaking to start against Ammo and breaking to both start and end the first half against third seed Washington University Contra. The second half of the game against Contra became somewhat chippy in parts, both teams playing hard, physical defense, but the meeting ended in good spirits. Before our last game of the day, against first seed Kansas State Huckstables, SERF took a moment to reflect on the patience and efficiency that had defined our play in the first two rounds of the day, pleased in the knowledge that in many of the points played most — if not all — of the players on the field had touched the disc at least once. We knew then that we were capable of sustaining the calm, mechanical offense that we had caught glimpses of in practice or at other tournaments, but here saw consistently across the course of two games.
The goal, then, was to carry that into the next round. Like Kenyon, Kansas State came into MLC with something to prove: K-State finished 4th at Centex last year (losing 15-6 in the semifinals to eventual champions and Nationals qualifier Colorado College and 14-13 in the 3rd place game to Nationals qualifier University of Texas), finishing 5th at Regionals and ranked 33rd in the country. Our game against them was one of the best we have ever played, both in terms of quality of performance and spiritedness. SERF took half 8-6 again, knowing that the Huckstables would come out hard in the second half — and they did. Through several marathon points, SERF was able to hold on to the two point lead and finish the game 12-10. The last point of the game was one of the longest, possession of the disc being traded back and forth as K-State tried desperately to work it up the field against both the wind and the hardcap, but Kenyon players came up with D after D, and eventually Adrian Galvin ’12 took over with bookends for the win. This last play is visible at 1:23 of this video, put together by Asa Nelson ’15.
Beating Kansas State put SERF in the championship bracket, facing off at 8:30 Sunday morning in the pre-quarters against Minnesota Grey Duck, who had pulled an upset of their own over National Champions Carleton College CUT. The wind on Sunday morning was significantly stronger than it had been even at its worst on Saturday, gusting and shifting in direction every few minutes. Both Kenyon and Minnesota would struggle in these conditions, resulting in a 10-6 loss for SERF that did not really truly the quality of either team. After playing a tight rotation against Minnesota (and K-State on Saturday), SERF decided to open up the lines and get the less experienced players who had been invited to make the trip more playing time against Harding University and the University of St. Louis, both of whom had also won their pools on Saturday. The captains acknowledged that, despite losing both games, the SERF young bulls had demonstrated a tenacity and level of teamwork that everyone should strive to emulate.
All in all, an extremely successful weekend, and an excellent finish to the fall season. Time to hit the track!