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Monday, Apr 22, 2024

Pranksters Make National Debut at North Carolina Tourney

Author: John Oliver

The Middlebury Ultimate Frisbee Pranksters made their mark on a national level three weeks ago in a tournament that concluded the fall season. Electing to pass on "Frozen Disc," a regional, co-ed tournament held at Dartmouth, the Pranksters instead undertook a thirteen-hour drive all the way to Wilmington, N.C.

The tournament, held on the UNC-Wilmington campus, was a meeting-place for many of the best teams in the south-eastern portion of the country, including UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Wilmington, Georgia, University of Richmond, Eastern Carolina University and the University of Maryland.

The morning of Saturday, Nov. 10 opened with three exciting games for Middlebury against Illinois, UNC-Chapel Hill and Richmond. In what would turn out to be a morning of incredible first half play and down-turning second halves for the Pranksters, Middlebury opened up strong against Illinois, scoring on the opening pull play with a deep huck from co-captain Alden "McFly" Woodrow '02 to Josh Howe '02, the team's favored deep man this season. After a beautiful hammer throw by co-captain Ray Coffey '02, Midd took the lead into the half. However, a combination of good adjustments by Illinois and some mental errors by the Prankster offense and defense lead to an Illinois comeback. After repeated game points, Illinois won a hard-fought battle by the score of 13-11. The third game of the morning resulted in a deflating loss to University of Richmond by the score of 15-13.

The defining moment of the weekend, however, was in the last game on Saturday, versus the University of Georgia. Fighting declining morale and a severe injury to veteran offensive and defensive star Patrick "RoughHouse" Duffey '02, Middlebury rallied late in the game and overcame a 7-4 halftime deficit. In probably the best second half Middlebury has played all season, the Pranksters rolled as night set in and play continued under the field lights. Middlebury's hard-nosed, intensive man-to-man defense shut down the Georgia attack while the Prankster offense utilized the "dump and swing" tactic to keep the disc moving from one side of the field to the other, exhausting the Georgia defense. Middlebury won a solid victory by a score of 13-10.

On Sunday morning, the aching and injured Pranksters suffered two losses to a solid Maryland team and the former national champion NC State team. Nonetheless, the games were characterized by good team defense by the Pranksters and inspired hustle. With seniors Matt Noble, Duffey, and co-captain Coffey sidelined with injuries, the remaining Pranksters finished the tournament proudly and positively.


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