Hatgiving 2017 is tomorrow!

Valley Ultimate is super excited for tomorrow’s event!

All registered players were sent an email with their team’s roster and the following information. For more information, please visit the event page.

Competition and rostering questions should be directed to Joe Costello (joe.costello2@gmail.com)

Thanks for participating in the 2017 Hatgiving Hat Tournament! If you’re unfamiliar with Hat Tournaments in general, the teams are more or less selected at random. You may be on a team with many friends, or you may be on a team with many people that you’ve never met! Please keep this in mind during the day so that everyone has an opportunity to have fun!

*** If you have any unresolved USUA roster issues, please take care of them ASAP, before the tournament! ***

Here are some guidelines for your team:

1. Please arrive with enough time to check in at the registration table, get your cleats on, and meet your teammates! Registration beings at 8:15am, but there may be a line!

2. Do an Icebreaker before playing your first game. This doesn’t need to be elaborate, but everyone should have the opportunity to say their name and try to learn about each other before play. Sometimes including interesting personal facts helps with remembering. Favorite movie? Pet names? Strangest Ultimate experience? It has been suggested that players state their preferred pronouns. Ex.: “My name is Joe and I go by “he/him/his.” Once ate an entire chicken in 6 minutes.”

3. Everyone plays. All players are encouraged to play at their leisure. Don’t try to call subs or sub “competitively.” Also, seek out some younger players or others that haven’t been playing much and try to get them on the field.

4. Start your games ON TIME. Work with the other team. When your game is over, please already know where and when your next game will start.

5. Slap 5 with other team after your game.

6. Report scores.

7. NO SWAPPING PLAYERS, MAKING TRADES, OR SWITCHING TEAMS. For you or anybody. Part of the fun of a Hat Tournament is making it work as a group for one day!

2017 Fall Middle School League Recap

The 2017 Valley Ultimate Fall Middle School League just wrapped up a successful 8-week season! Coach Lee just sent in this dispatch:

We couldn’t be more excited about the first ever Middle School Youth Fall League that just wrapped up this past Sunday. Steve Andrews, JFK teacher and Ultimate coach was there every week to guide the players, who were also treated to multiple guest appearances by Jim Pistrang, from the Amherst Middle School Ultimate program, Lee Feldscher, Boys Varsity coach at Northampton High School, Ben Wood, former Girls coach at Northampton High School, and Andy Charlton (Coach Boss), coach of the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School Ultimate team. With a lineup of coaches like that there was always lots of variety and new perspectives to keep the players on their toes. Mother Nature had plenty to say during our 8 week program, starting out with scorching heat the first few weeks, some high wind days in the middle, and plenty of rain for the finale. Despite her attempts to throw a wrench into the proceedings – the program went off without a hitch, and everyone had a great time and learned tons. New friendships were made, skills were honed, and muscles were toned. We’re looking forward to doing it again next year, as some of our players will graduate to the high school league, and a new crop of 6th graders will get to be part of the fun. Please spread the word so the program can be even bigger and better next Fall. Best of luck to all our players in the Spring and Summer Ultimate seasons.

October 2017 Board Meeting

The next Valley Ultimate Board meeting will take place on Monday, October 16th from 7-8pm at Johnny’s Roadside Diner in Hadley, MA.

Anyone with any interest in growing Ultimate in the Valley is welcome to attend!

Topics of discussion at the meeting will include:

  • Outreach programs
  • Fall youth league
  • Coaching clinic
  • Winter event planning
  • Spring even planning
  • Womens events
  • …and much more!

Spread the word! Facebook event online here.

Hatgiving 2017 Registration Online!

Registration is now online for the 4th annual Hatgiving hat tournament!

HatgivingLogo-01

Hatgiving is a single-day Ultimate tournament that will take place on Saturday, 11/18/17. The event is open to all levels of players 12 or older. Every registered player will be assigned to a team prior to the event. Each team will be coed, randomly yet fairly built, and captained by two experienced players. We may have A and B divisions. We are capping the event at 12 teams of 15.

Head on over to the event page for more information including how to register.

September 2017 Board Meeting

The next Valley Ultimate Board meeting will take place on Monday, September 18th from 7-8pm at the Bluebonnet Diner in Northampton.

Anyone with any interest in growing Ultimate in the Valley is welcome to attend!

Topics of discussion at the meeting will include:

  • Outreach programs
  • Fall summer league
  • Youth Club Champs program wrap up
  • Womens events
  • …and much more!

Spread the word! Facebook event online here.

Valley Ultimate Fall Youth League 2017

9/18/17: It’s not too late to sign up! 

What Is the Valley Ultimate Fall League?
The Valley Ultimate Fall League is a coed youth program designed for high school and middle school players who wish to continue playing in the fall season. This league is intended to be a fun, competitive environment that will help players of all experience levels develop their skills.

The league will be divided into two divisions: One for students in grades 6th through 8th and one for students in grades 9 through 12.

Who is eligible to play in the league?

The league is open to all high school and middle school students in the region (grades 6 through 12). There will be a maximum of 90 players admitted to each league on a first come, first-served basis.

How does registration work?

There are three registration steps:

1) Login to your USAU membership account and make sure you’ve signed the online waiver and paid your USAU dues.

2) Pay the $70 league fee right here using PayPal. You can use a credit card and you do not have to create a PayPal account. We are only accepting payments online. Make sure your USAU Membership is up-to-date.

3) Fill out and submit the online registration form.

What are the dates of the league?

The league will run on six Sundays in the fall:

  • Sunday 9/17
  • Sunday 9/24
  • Sunday 10/1
  • (Youth Regionals are 10/6-10/8) [We will NOT be going this year.]
  • Sunday 10/15
  • Sunday 10/22
  • Sunday 10/29

In addition, some league high school players may participate in a Youth Regional tournament in Pennsylvania during the weekend of October 6-8.

Do I need to attend all of the sessions?

Attendance at all sessions is strongly encouraged, but if you need to miss one or two sessions you can still play in the league.

How long are the sessions?

All sessions are from 1 pm to 3:30 pm. Each session has a 60 minute practice, followed by a 90 minute game.

Who are the League Directors?

Joe Costello and Jeremiah Berlin are the league directors of the High School League and Suna Turgay is the director of the Middle School League.

Who are the coaches?

Each team will have an experienced, dedicated coach.

Where will we play?

Practices and games will be held at the Oxbow Marina in Northampton, MA.

How much does it cost?

The cost will be $70 per player. In addition, all players must be USAU members. All payments will be made online via PayPal, and will be part of the registration process. You are not registered until payment is made.

Scholarships are available for both the league fee and for USAU fees. Send an email to the league director if you need more information on scholarships.

Youth Regionals Teams [We will NOT be going this year.]

Valley Ultimate would like to send a boys and girls team to the inaugural Youth Regional tournament 10/6-10/8. It is recommended that players who are interested in participating in Youth Regionals indicate that on the registration form. Interested players will be contacted about the Youth Regionals team. Selection for the teams will require a separate player fee, and overnight stays in Pennsylvania on Friday 10/6 and Saturday 10/7.

For more information:

Please contact the league organizers –

Joe Costello – joe.costello2@gmail.com

Jeremiah Berlin – jeremiah.berlin@gmail.com

Youth Club Champs: August 7th

Coaches Leila and Joe sent in an update from the last day of play:


Leila:

In the first game for the Girls, we faced Philadelphia Forge in the 13th place bracket. We arrived Monday morning looking like a totally new, seasoned and well-acquainted team. We went up early and maintained a comfortable lead the entire game. Our horizontal offense was clicking and running smoothly (something we had been working hard to achieve all weekend!) and the team had high energy and were cheering loudly, both on and off the field (another big goal of ours!). After a small come-back from Forge in the second half, we took the game 13-9. It felt like a huge success to win our first game of the weekend and everyone felt proud of all of the work we had put in to earn that win. 

In our second and final game, we played Daydream from Illinois for 13th place. It was a fantastic game and both teams were well-matched. We had long, arduous points, but the team continued to improve and rise to a new challenge. We ended up winning in the cap, 12-7.

The VU Girls honor two of their coaches Leila and Nolan.


Going into tournament play, our big team goals were to achieve a loud and positive sideline and a cohesive and support team dynamic, and also to improve every single game we played. We did both of those things. Over the course of 3 days, our score improved every game. We went from two 5-15 losses on Saturday to cATLanta and DC Rogue (who ended up being in the finals of the U-20 division!), to 8-15 and 11-12 against Utah Swarm and DEVYL, respectively, on Sunday, to winning both of our games on Monday by subsequently larger margins against skilled opponents. What is even more impressive is that all but 4 players on our team could have been competing in the U-17 division. All of the teams we played were primarily comprised of 17,18 and 19-year-old athletes while the majority of our team was 15. Nolan, Dylan and I could not have been more proud of the way our team grew over the course of the tournament and we had so much fun coaching the incredible athletes on our team! The future of women’s ultimate in the northeast is looking VERY bright.

Getting some recovery in the airport before our flight home.


Joe:

Our last day in Minnesota was clear and beautiful without any hints of thunder or lightning. Both of our teams had two more games to cap off our playing experiences.  

Early in the morning, we rose to pack up all of our things and leave our home stays. We could never thank them enough for their hospitality! They helped us pack our things, and double-check to make sure nothing was left (but there still was). Making a connection like that in the Minnesota Ultimate community is something very special for us, especially since most of us have never been outside of our Valley Ultimate bubble.  

In the first game for the Boys, we matched up with Nightmare from the Chicago area. We arrived a little bit late to the fields, but were quick to recognize the need for focus. The warm up was a challenge but the team was ready to flip the switch when the game began. We went up 4-1 and never looked back. Nightmare put up a fight in the second half, especially by coming up with a lot of difficult catches on tipped discs, but the VU Boys refocused and maintained consistent energy in our best start-to-finish effort of the tournament. We claimed the 14-9 victory!

In our second game, and final game of the tournament, we had a rematch with Charlotte Flight. It seemed like poetry to be playing the same team that we started the tournament against. And also, out of all of the fields at this giant sports complex, we played our final game on the field right next to the VU Girls as they played their final game!  

The game began with our O line scoring, and then our D line earned a break. We broke a couple of more times and held a comfortable lead at half-time. Our energy was where it needed to be but Charlotte proved that the VU Boys weren’t the only team capable of improving after three days of ultimate. They earned their breaks back in the second half and it came down to a double game point, tied at 12-12. We received just as the VU Girls had made their way to our sideline after their victory. We had a chance to score, but turned it over. The Charlotte team worked it all the way down to the end zone before a massive lay out D on the goaline earned it back for us! After multiple timeouts and multiple changes in possession, we finally scored on the front cone to win the game and cap off our tournament with our best effort and savoriest win! We earned 25th place with the 13-12 victory. We were 5-2 over the course of the three day tournament.

After games were concluded we got lunch and watched the boys U20 final which featured many of our close friends and teammates from back home on the BUDA team. In an exciting game, the BUDA boys lost 14-15 to North Carolina’s Triforce. It was a thrilling, high paced game with a lot of big plays. After the game we got to connect with our friends briefly before the awards ceremony. Then it was off to the airport!

Five boys from western Massachusetts on the line for double game point in the U20 boys final for BUDA!


Despite a couple of delays, everyone made it home safely (as far as I know). We are already making plans to reconnect this summer and stay in touch for the next year. Valley Ultimate looks poised to grow and be more competitive on the field in 2018 and for years to come. Our deepest thanks go out to the players and families that supported this program in its first year in order to represent our community on a national stage. All of our players, coaches, and organizers should be very proud of what Valley Ultimate was able to do this year. It only gets better from here!

Waiting for the awards ceremony to begin.


Go VU!

Youth Club Champs: August 6th

Another update from Coach Joe Costello!

Complete results: GirlsBoys

A great end to a great dat!

Sunday has been the most action-packed and competitive day of the trip so far. In the morning the VU Girls faced off against Utah Swarm and it was clear from the beginning that we were a different and better team than we were the day before. We started making connections on offense and fed off of our defensive pressure. We took the 8-15 loss, but we are playing better and continue to have a lot of fun.

Our second game was against DEVYL, in the 9th place bracket. Just as we finished our pregame warm ups and got on the line to start the game, a lightning delay was called and we had to leave the fields for about 30 minutes. When we came back, and ramped up again, we came out with energy and scored three quick goals. DEVYL responded to tie the game at 3s and it remained back and forth for the rest of the half until we broke to take half 8-7. In the second half, both teams matched each other play for play and it would inevitably be decided by a double game point. DEVYL was the team that scored it to win 11-12, but it was also clear that we had just played our best game and have been steadily improving. We are excited bring continue to improve tomorrow!

At the end of the day, after watching the US Open women’s finals, we got to meet two of our favorite ultimate superstars! Octavia “Opi” Payne and Claire Chastain!

Opi!

Claire!

On the other side of the National Sports Center, the VU Boys lined up in their first game against Iowa U20 YCC. After trading early in the first half, we got our footing and started to pile up some breaks. We never looked back and closed the door to take the 15-8 victory!

Our second game was part of the 17th place bracket and we matched up with St. Louis Storm in the pre-quarterfinals. We started the game with a lower, different kind of energy which might have been because our teammate Isaac Appel was take to the hospital to get x-rays on his ankle (it was just a sprain). Down 0-3, we collected our selves to score our next couple of O points, but still weren’t firing on all cylinders yet. St. Louis played aggressively with their large cutters and huck plays. Down 4-8 at half, we shook it off and went out with a new energy. We forced some turnovers and got a couple of breaks back. Eventually it felt like it was our game, but it was too late. Some mistakes and unlucky bounces finished the game for us and we lost 9-13 in the cap.

Watching the Mixed final!

We had a third game this afternoon after a long break. We filled our time by visiting tournament central and watching some games. When we returned to our field, we were scheduled to play Michigan’s SEMI. We were not looking like ourselves in this game either. Down 3-5 on defense, a lightning warning forced us from the fields for a while. We decided to use the time in the vans as something to force us to recommit and be better. Surely enough, we came back to take half 8-5, and then eventually notched the 13-9 victory!

After our game, we all made our way to the tournament dinner and showcase game (Mixed Final on ESPN2) in the stadium. There were players trading jerseys and discs in the stands!

Tomorrow both of our teams have games at 8:30 and 10:45. Early morning again coming up! Tzoot!

Collecting signatures!

Youth Club Champs: August 5th

Another mail delivery from Coach Costello!

Our first day of competition has come and gone, but not without A LOT of action and excitement. In the morning, The VU Boys picked up Valley Ultimate’s first ever win in their first ever game!  

Against Charlotte Flight, the energy was high in the first half to put everything together for the first time and we rode that energy to build a lead. In the second half, Charlotte played well to close the gap but VU closed it out in the cap with a break and the 12-9 victory.

Our next game was against Austin Amigos who came out of the gates with three straight breaks. VU tightened the screws, made some adjustments, and scored their next two O points. After a timeout we started to break back and bring it within one point in the second half before the game went out of reach. We took the loss 10-15. 

Complete game footage: 

The VU Girls opened up their schedule against cATLanta, which featured the best players from our coaches hometown. VU was hanging tough in the first half with some athletic plays and some near misses on deep throws. In the second half, some long grinding points didn’t go our way and the eventual 5-15 loss doesn’t tell the story of how hard VU played throughout.

Our next game was against DC Rogue. More inspired play from VU throughout this game. For one of youngest teams in the division, the VU Girls play with poise and intensity. Throughout this game, some pieces started to come together. A great effort considering that this is the first day that all of the players have been together playing ultimate. We took the loss 5-15.

After the VU Girls’ second game, we enjoyed delicious parking lot pizza outside of the stadium where the Women’s semi finals games were being played, and then we went in to watch the second half of the Riot vs. Revolution game. ESPN cameras showcased the action with a big screen behind one endzone that showed instant replay footage of the huge plays made by both teams. Some of the VU girls got to go on the field to meet recent USA Worlds players with our coach. After the game, they got in a picture with the Columbian Revolution, who defeated Riot in order to advance to the Finals on Sunday!


The atmosphere in the stadium was truly energetic. The stands were filled, and there were things to do like test how fast you can throw at the speed gun. One of our VU Boys got called onto the sideline several times to help throw prizes into the stands. During halftime of the second semifinal, Molly Brown vs. Fury, two of our coaches and two of our players participated in a fun relay. We didn’t win, but it was exciting to be on the showcase field!

Early wake up tomorrow as both the Girls and Boys have games that start at 8:30. After that, we will see! Here are some pictures from Saturday:

Sitting on the hill next to the VU Girls’ field

Our perfect vantage from said field.


The Riot and Revolution spirit circle at the near end zone after their semifinal


Complete results: Girls, Boys

Youth Club Champs 2017: August 4th

Check out this dispatch from VUYCC Coach Joe Costello:

The Valley Ultimate U20 Boys and Girls teams have arrived! On a day that began with very early flights (and then even some delayed flights!), we were able to take most of our teams to the National Sports Center in Blaine to watch some of the Elite club teams play on their first day of competition. We had an especially fun time seeing our friends from home on the BUDA teams, and some familiar players on Brute Squad as they competed against the Columbian women’s club team, Revolution.

Arriving at our home stays! All of our hosts live on the same lovely cul de sac


Everywhere we turned there were players from all club divisions making huge plays. We watched Brute Squad play a couple of games, then walked a few fields down to watch Sockeye break Revolver to win, and then mingled with friends on Ironside. By the time we made our way to the Slow White vs. Mixtape showcase game, we were completely surrounded by ultimate players and supporters of all ages, and from all around the world. An incredible experience!

Watching Slow White vs. Mixtape showcase game.


Returning to our respective houses, we enjoyed some down time with our teams and arranged team meetings to prepare for Saturday’s games. The families who have graciously agreed to host us are INCREDIBLE. They have been so welcoming and accommodating to us that it truly feels like home staying with them. We also get to enjoy their big trampoline, basketball court, large yard space, and pool! We are about 20 minutes from the fields.

Each team has two games on Saturday. The Boys team plays at 8:30am and 10:45am and the Girls team plays at 1:00pm and 3:15pm. Lots of exciting ultimate ahead! 

Complete results: Girls, Boys