By John Bray
Last season was undoubtedly one for the record books for SERF, the Kenyon men’s ultimate team. They finished the season as the no. 1-ranked Division III team in the country, and though they easily qualified for the DIII Ohio Valley regionals, the team opted to compete at the DI level.
This year’s team wants to continue last season’s success.
Their season opened this past weekend at home, where they hosted the Kenyon Fall Preview Tournament. Among the 14 teams competing were Case Western Reserve University, Carnegie Mellon University, Michigan State University, Penn State University, The Ohio State University and the College of Wooster.
The challengers might have bigger student populations, but SERF proved that small colleges can pack some serious punch. SERF finished the weekend with an overall record of 6-2, with both losses coming at the hands of Penn State.
The tournament started off with pool play, and it was a slow start for SERF, who found themselves down early against Carnegie Mellon University ﾗ the team that knocked them out of the DI regionals months ago. A late five-point comeback put SERF in position to force a universe point, which is the ultimate equivalent to a shootout where the first team to score wins. SERF scored first and put away the Tartans, improving to 1-0 on the season.
The rest of Saturday went to SERF, with handed victories against Ohio State and Wooster.
Sunday would prove to be more of a test. The first game began at 9 a.m., with SERF playing Penn State. The game was grueling and went down to the wire, with the Nittany Lions ultimately winning by a score of 13-12, ending SERF’s winning streak. SERF would end pool play tied for first with an overall record of 4-1.
SERF paved their way to the championship game, where they would once again meet Penn State. But this was a different Penn State team, since Penn State fielded two squads in the tourney. Despite the different team, SERF lost again to Penn State and took second place.
Coming off of the weekend’s success, Co-Captain Max Dugan ’14 noted one issue for the team. “My only concern now is getting everyone playing time, since we have a surplus of excellent players,” he wrote in an email.
Dugan recapped some stellar performances from this past weekend. “Sam Ross [’14] had amazing throws,” he wrote. “Co-Captain Ian Kenison [’14] embarrassed multiple opponents by literally jumping high enough that certain lower limbs were at their shoulders. Alex Piper [’16] cut great for us. Sam Graf [’16] was very consistent as a handler. Corey Barber-Bockelman [’14] defended very well for us. Eli Kernis [’17] handled like a veteran and Alex Koch [’15] was perfect.”
Most of the above-mentioned players have more experience than the rookies, but Dugan still praised the newbies. “Honestly, everyone played sensationally this weekend,” he wrote. “That goes double for the youngsters who far exceeded my expectations.”
SERF competes next on the weekend of Oct. 5-6 at the Cincinnati Showcase hosted by the University of Cincinnati. It’ll be another test as the young season continues. Dugan’s ﾗ and the team’s ﾗ outlook on the season may be simple, but is one that all teams should try to remember in the heat of competition: “Have fun.”
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