It's too bad the cameras weren't rolling. First-year Katy Hansen's performance at the ultimate regionals last weekend just needed a little inspiring background music.
"Katy laid out and caught the disc on the sidelines in front of about 25 Indiana men," said co-captain sophomore Karin Kettenring. "They promptly burst into applause. It was all Hollywood."
Perhaps it was appropriate, as the whole weekend was all Hollywood for the Praying Manti.
The team entered the tournament with few expectations. No hopes of nationals or playing in the big leagues. No late night prayers or pilgrimages to empty fields a la Rudy. But by the end of the weekend, the team had pulled out a fifth-place finish and played some excellent ultimate.
"We played really well," said Hansen, "We really stepped it up and played the best our team has ever played."
The Manti won their first two games against the University of Michigan and Notre Dame. Notre Dame had assembled a seemingly impenetrable lead, 10-5. The game was capped at 11, meaning the first team to reach 11 points would be declared the winner. Oberlin managed to score six in a row to upset Notre Dame 11-10.
"Hannah Merriman played incredible defense," said Kettenring, "She had the flu, and she still managed to save the game for us." Merriman's solid defensive efforts culminated in an end-zone charge, narrowly preventing a Notre Dame win.
"Everyone stepped up the level of play," said Merriman.
Oberlin was unable to maintain their winning streak. Indiana University and Macalaster College took turns squashing the Manti.
Oberlin's final opponents hailed from Colorado University. The Colorado team competed in Nationals last year, and provided stiff competition for Oberlin.
"We played Colorado in a huge, horrible rainstorm," sophomore Brooke Wilkerson said, "It gave us an advantage since we're from northeast Ohio and we're used to it."
Despite Oberlin's adaptive attitude to the soggy clime, Colorado was able to surge ahead in the beginning minutes of the game. Oberlin was never able to catch up, although the play was even for the remainder of the game. "We matched Colorado point for point," Kettenring said.
The loss to Colorado eliminated the Manti from the tournament.
However, a sequel might be in the works. The team is hosting the Oberlin Mellow Invitational Tournament at home on Saturday. "We have a crazy future," Hansen said.
Copyright © 1996, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 124, Number 23; May 3, 1996
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