The Oberlin Flying Horsecows made their second tournament trip of the year on the first weekend of fall break with brilliant results. The 'Cows went 4-2 in the tournament in Ann Arbor run by the University of Michigan, losing only to the host and in the semifinal game on the tournament's second day to the University of Iowa.
The Horsecows journeyed up to Ann Arbor with dire weather predictions hovering over their anticipation of the tournament. But Oberlin arrived Saturday morning after a beautiful night's sleep in their spacious accommodations to find a sunshine-soaked field. The day's first match came against fellow-Ohioans Case Western Reserve University. Despite the Death Valley baseball field occupying much of one end zone, the 'Cows dispatched Case in relatively short order, putting them away by a score of 13-6.
The next challenge came from Iowa, a small but coordinated corn-bred team with outstanding handlers. The game was tight from the start, with neither team pulling in front by more than two, and the "piping hot" Iowa team taking the game to half at 7-6. The 'Cows did not relent, however, staying with Iowa by playing dynamic defense and patient offense. This allowed Oberlin to come back and take the game 9-8 after the cap had set in.
The game was particularly meaningful for many veterans, as Iowa had beaten OC last spring in the final game of college regionals, the game that determined a spot at college nationals.
Some first-years, too, were particularly excited by the action in the Iowa game. "I'm taking off my pants," Aaron "Mooch" Mucciolo said at one point in the heat of the action.
During the Iowa game, Jamie "Awog" Merchant performed impressively against his home state chums, putting in several crucial defensive efforts en route to the victory. "Awog played like an animal against Iowa," first-year Anthony "Fat Tony D'Amico" Davis said. "Not a bad animal, like a mosquito or weasel. A good animal, like a dragon or something." First-year Mateo "Chupe Diggler" Pastore was similarly impressed by Awog's efforts. "He took the disk away from them like a pirate, a one-eyed pirate," Chupe said.
The next game was a hotly contested affair as well, one in which tempers flared. Michigan took the lead on Oberlin early, and it was apparent that the emotional expenditures of the Iowa contest had left the Horsecows drained, at least initially. After Michigan jumped out 2-0, the 'Cows matched score for score until half, which came with Michigan up 7-5.
On one of Michigan's scores, the infamous "Ducky" spiked the disk in the face of sophomore Nick "Lint Trap" Dent. Captain senior John Fedota "had words" with the diminutive U-Mich. player, but actions would ultimately speak louder than any words could. On the very next point, Fedota launched a huck downfield to senior Dan "Podin" Feldman, whose ups easily exceeded Ducky's, allowing him to sky the poor, arrogant little boy with ease. But the 'Cows never made up the initial deficit, and eventually lost to Michigan 12-7 after coming out a little flat in the second half.
The day's last game was against Northwestern, on whom the 'Cows vented their frustrations from the Michigan loss, taking the game to half at 7-2. The second half saw much playing time for first-years and non-starters, with the score finally settling at 13-7.
While relaxing for the night back at the old homestead, Horsecow alumnus Bob "Coach Jim" Woodroffe noticed some particularly nasty weather in the Michigan football game at Northwestern, and astutely observed that that was the weather the 'Cows could expect the next day. And while the rain did not come down in buckets as it did in Evanston, rain it did through most of the night, leaving the fields soft, wet and cold.
The winds were also rough that Sunday morning as the 'Cows prepared to square off against a veteran Ann Arbor Club team. Oberlin, a wee bit groggy in the early morning raw, fought tooth and nail in an intense upwind-downwind zone defense-based game. Ann Arbor brought the game to half at 8-7, but Oberlin came out newly energized and took the capped contest 10-8, completely shutting down the Ann Arbor offense in the second half with more intense zone defense.
This victory put the 'Cows into the tournament's semifinal game, a rematch against Iowa. Oberlin stayed close from the beginning, but it was obvious that they did not have the same intensity. Iowa brought the game to half ahead 8-6, and Oberlin stumbled disastrously in the second half, finally losing 15-8.
This was not, however, a disastrous tournament by any means. The Horsecows went 4-2 overall, an improvement from their first tournament's 3-4 record. More importantly, however, the 'Cows showed the ability to come back, to stay close and, at times, to dominate. This is especially important given that Oberlin will see many of the same faces they saw in the Michigan tournament throughout the spring season.
The 'Cows truck on down to Ohio University and the throbbing metropolis that is Athens, Ohio for a one-day tournament Saturday. Jacob Kramer-Duffield is a member of the ultimate frisbee team.
Copyright © 1998, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 127, Number 7, October 30, 1998
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