Throughout the ages, Loyola intramural sports have been an outlet for students to channel their energy and take a brief break from an academic setting. This intramural sports year debuted with ultimate frisbee, showing great promise of fantastic rivalries and contestants for intramurals for the rest of the school year. When interviewed about the teams that he has seen this year, moderator Mr. Legant stated, “We got some teams out there that clearly know the game and know the sport.” The competition was high with ample amounts of trash talk, absurd plays and sheer athleticism.
All throughout his four years, Senior Dillon Klein has played with his intramural team and has dominated the league in every sport. When asked how he felt about becoming a potential champion after losing his second round game to Team Valenzuela he said, “I think we will hopefully make it there and hopefully win, winning is the plan and I don’t see another way around it.” The unit poses a threat for anyone that steps on the field and tries to compete with them. The majority of those playing on the team are stars on the volleyball court, thus their size is a large intimidation factor for anyone going against them. They are savages on the field and play with maximum effort.
Although teams had shown fantastic style of game play, the Ultimate Frisbee Club or “Team Valenzuela” was overall the most impressive and cohesive unit to watch. The club played with elegance and composure due to their capability to control the field in all aspects of the game. The team attributes their success to their use of wit and skill to crush the competition on both sides of the field. Their defense is locked down, and their offense is built around their collective ability to precisely throw the frisbee in any spot they wish. Out of all the teams competing, the Ultimate Frisbee Club sets the bar for level of play the highest. With the majority of the team being seniors on the cross country team, the squad has played, practiced and been friends with each other for quite some time. Everyone in the club is a threat that teams need to build a game plan around. They have studied the game and have numerous plays that cripple the opposing teams defense. Truly, they are a team that is entertaining and exciting to watch.
As the games continued, the bitter rivalries and distaste for other teams became stronger. The style of play had noticeably become more strategic, and teams were scouting out their next opponent. Those competing understood that every game counts, for each match is one more chance to reach the finals. The teams with losing records became more desperate, while those with winning records strolled into playoffs with the assurance of taking the glory of winning the championship. The playoffs began with high intensity and next level competition, and as teams started to drop off, it became clear who was going to make it to the championship. The day had come and Team Valenzuela and Team Klein faced off in arguably one of the most entertaining championship intramural games ever played at Loyola. The weather was perfect, little to no breeze with light clouds hovering over Smith Field where the battle took place. Crowds of students flocked to witness their friends, teammates and classmates fight for the title match. The sidelines were packed with eager specta tors to watch the games begin. The two teams met in the middle of the field and faced off with one another, both sides knowing that it was going to be a struggle to win the head to head. Out of the gate, Team Valenzuela scored two unanswered points setting the tone for the rest of the game. While Team Klein began to start showing signs of frustration and anger, Team Valenzuela continued to play with composure and ease. Although the win had seemed promising for the Ultimate Frisbee club, senior Tino Valdez made it virtually impossible to make that happen. He was nearly ejected from the game for his physicality in a short period of time, but came back onto the field ready and eager to make up for his time lost on the field during his brief suspension. The senior nearly had more than a dozen unforgettable athletic plays such as three touchdowns and two touchdown stops and consistent defensive plays that disrupted the flow of Team Valenzuela’s offense. The game was neck and neck as Team Valenzuela was winning five to four, steadily keeping a one point difference on their opponent. Time was dwindling down and Team Klein started to become desperate. They had no other option but to send Hail Marys and hope for the best, and to their luck, they were able to score two points and catch the lead making the game six to five. With little to no time left, Team Valenzuela went down the field and scored again, making the game tied and sending both teams into overtime.
Then the call went out, “Last point wins” and the energy on the field was tense, as any mistake could cost the game. With the frisbee in possession of Team Klein, the team marched down the field in effort to be crowned victorious. Off a faulty pass, the frisbee was dropped and was put in ownership of Team Valenzuela. Effortlessly, the team went down the field and scored, making them the Intramural Frisbee Champions. The stands were cleared as students rushed to celebrate the win with the winning team, while Klein and his men sulked in the loss. When asked about how the game went, a player on Team Klein, Jackson Shea, stated, “I feel like it was a heck of a battle. We were inexperienced in terms of ultimate frisbee compared to them, but I felt like we came together as a team to really battle against them. After going down early we could’ve quit but we came back to take the lead. Definitely some questionable play at the end and maybe a questionable call here and there but overall great game by both.
As the team moped over their loss, Team Valenzuela rejoiced in their victory. When asked about how his team won, Owen Roberts ’22, a key player on Team Valenzuela, said, “We initiated most of the game play through our short game. We never played toss up because they were really tall. We additionally planned to go man to man defense and really try to focus on Tino [Valdez] because he was the most important player on their team.” Through their strategies and ability to remain calm under pressure, Team Valenzuela came out on top making them the Champions of Ultimate Frisbee at Loyola teams. “We are coming for the championship second semester. Tell Mr. Legant we want round two.”