McNeil Ultimate Competes at MLK Tournament

The team takes second place, falling to LASA A in the finals


The ultimate frisbee team competed and finished second in the early season annual MLK Day tournament. In their morning quarterfinals match up, they matched up against LASA B. The Mavs were able to jump out to a quick start, taking half 8-0. They stymied LASA B’s horizontal stack and their offense was able to break LASA B’s zone defense with ease. The team cruised to an 11-1 victory.

After defeating LASA B, the Mavs faced a pesky Coppell team who had beaten them in a preseason game in November. With the momentum of their blowout victory against LASA B, they cruised to a 3-0 start. Coppell called timeout and came back firing. Coppell was able to move the disc up and down the field with their vertical stack and Coppell ramped up the pressure defensively. After a quick 3-0 run of their own, the Mavs called timeout. They switched to a zone defense which forced Coppell to transition to a horizontal stack. The teams traded blows until a Luke Henke pass found Mark Henke in the end zone to make it 6-5 with less than five minutes remaining. Coppell received, and after the teams traded turnovers, Coppell was able to connect on a deep shot to a diving receiver. The horn went off during the point which meant the Mavs received on double game point. They worked it up calmly until Mark Henke found Santiago De La Garza in the end zone for the game winning score. 

“The rush of everyone storming the field after the game was amazing,”  junior Santiago De La Garza said. “I have never felt anything like that.”

After defeating Coppell in the semifinals, the Mavs faced rivals LASA A in the finals where 4 of the 7 games have been decided by a single point. While the Mavs were still recovering after a hard-fought game that never reached halftime, LASA A jumped out to a 2-0 lead. The teams traded points with LASA leading 8-6 at halftime and receiving out of the half. The Mavs were able to use their zone defense to force a quick turn and punched in a break. As was the case in the semifinals against Coppell, the Mavs found themselves in another double game point game. LASA A received and McNeil went to their zone defense look. After a bunch of swing passes, a crossfield deep shot bladed toward the ground as the receiver attempted to catch it. After a long discussion of whether the receiver caught it, the disc got sent back. After a couple more swing passes, another blading shot is thrown in the direction of a seemingly wide open receiver, but Luke Henke makes up the ground and gets the block. Luke Henke picked up and couldn’t quite connect on a deep shot to Mark Henke. After the Mavs turned it over, LASA A stayed patient and worked it up the entire field before finding an open receiver near the front of the endzone for the game winning score.

“Losing on the last point hurts,” senior Will McLean said. “But at the end of the day, we shouldn’t have been in a situation where one play makes or breaks the game.”

Although the ultimate frisbee team didn’t win the whole tournament, they remain hungry as they set their sights on March 26 for the spring league opener.

If you are interested in joining the ultimate frisbee team in the future, please contact Mr. Romano