Syzygy, Carleton’s Division 1 women’s ultimate frisbee team, is slated to compete this weekend in the D-1 National Championships in scenic Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Syzygy emerged as the only qualifier from the North Central region, trouncing Iowa 13-1 in humiliating fashion. Ultiworld, the premier source for ultimate frisbee information, has Syzygy ranked third behind Colorado and North Carolina.
“There’s no one team we’re particularly worried about, just excited to get to play new people and play teams we played earlier in the season,” said Kate Lanier ’22. “Nationals are super exciting because we’ve all been working within our region and growing a ton, so the style of play is much higher than it was at our last national tournament. We try to stay focused on ourselves and what we can control.”
After a relatively stress-free regional tournament, Syzygy is looking forward to playing better competition at the national level.
“Regionals for us, is definitely one of our easier tournaments,” said Allie Fridkin ’23. “It’s definitely an odd phenomenon afterwards because we are headed into nationals, our most difficult and high-level tournament of the year, after playing those teams that don’t really challenge us. Regionals can definitely be a confidence boost, but it can also leave us questioning whether we fully know what to expect at nationals.”
Syzygy’s first matchup of pool play is on Friday against sixth seeded British Columbia (UBC). California San Diego, Virginia, and Colorado State make up the rest of their pool.
“Our pool for nationals has a great line up. In terms of seeds, we are seeded the highest, and UBC is our closest competition,” said Fridkin. “We played them twice, they were both super awesome, high intensity games. We won our first game against them and lost our second one by a really tight margin. They’re the first game of the tournament, which will be great for us because we’ll have super fresh legs, fresh energy, and just be hyped up and ready to go.”
The Syzygy team is led by a handful of star players including Carly Campana ’22, Lanier and Tori Gray ’24. Campana in particular made the Ultiworld offensive player of year shortlist, described as a “lethal downfield option” with “enough deep throwing game to keep defenses honest.”
“I think everyone is feeling a bit of a mixture of nerves and excitement,” said Campana. “We definitely have some tough matchups in our pool, but overall, the team is just excited to play together and take on those challenges — our region isn’t that strong, so it’s been a while since we had a chance to play those competitive games.”
In the 2021 National Championships that were held in December of 2021, Syzygy advanced to the semifinals before falling to Washington. However, that tournament was a makeup for the 2021 Championships which were postponed due to COVID-19. This meant that Syzygy’s team included alums and first-years weren’t allowed to play.
“2021 Nationals was a great chance to see how other teams play and how we match up against them. It was definitely not a perfect representation of this spring though, because we had such large numbers of alumni playing with us (I think around 13) and our freshmen didn’t get a chance to play. We are really trying to look at these coming nationals as a chance for us, as the 2022 iteration of Syzygy, to show what we can do on the field.”
Yet for a team that’s spent years together, the tournament is more than just a chance to win a national championship. It’s teammates’ last chance to cherish the bonds they’ve made with each other, on and off the field.
“Nationals is always such a celebration of the end of the season,” concluded Lanier. “It’s the culmination of nine months of work. So much is the joy on the field but equally the time spent off the field. This team has so many strong friendships and is a space that brings a lot of people together. We definitely view Nationals as a time to appreciate each other’s company, and we’ve got some fun and sweet traditions that go along this time in the season.”
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