Dragon Coalition Takes Norco
In their last tournament of 2021, UCSD Dragon Coalition (D-Co) competed at the pinnacle of play for their sport: USA Ultimate College Championships. Long awaited after a two-and-a-half-year break since the last national tournament, they were thrilled to make the short trek to Norco to play teams from across the country.
D-Co’s first day of pool play left some to be desired. In both of their games against the University of Chicago and Carleton College, the formula was the same. Play passable ultimate for the first half, going down a few breaks. Then, in the second half, amp the energy up and go point-for-point or even outscore their opponents. Unfortunately, despite their rebounds, they lost both of their games 11-12 and 12-15 and knew they would have to put in work the next day to recover.
The Dragons came back with fire their second day, knowing it was win or go home. They scorched the University of Vermont in their first game, beating them 15-8. Kristine Mendoza and Anna Adams played great zone defense. On the other end, Jessica Wan was a scoring machine. In a gritty game against Florida State University, D-Co had to dig deep. With springy legs, star freshman Abbi Shilts reeled in disc after disc over the Floridian’s heads. Lauren Stuart and captain Charlotte Sue blasted past their matchups for big yardage gains. In a thrilling universe point final, D-Co won 12-11, advancing them to pre-quarterfinals against the University of Colorado. Stoking the blaze they had built in their first two games, D-Co came out swinging. Defensive stalwart Denika Hallin generated countless turns, while Maggie Pierce elevated in the endzone for a huge break. A well-earned 15-11 victory thrilled the team, charting their path to their second-ever quarterfinal appearance the next day.
The next day against the University of North Carolina, UCSD left it all on the field. As they had the whole season, Ava Hanna and Alex Diaz fought off UNC’s pressure, scoring big points. Even while down, D-Co’s sideline could be heard throughout the complex supporting their on-field teammates until the end. Despite a 7-15 loss, D-Co was extremely proud of having ended the tournament playing their game with consistency and poise. While they are all extremely saddened to be losing teammates that have been with them for years, they are grateful to all have gotten one last tournament together before their alumni leave. Now, the younger crop looks hopefully ahead for what’s to come.