Category Archives: Youth Club Champs

Youth Club Champs: August 7th

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


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.


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!



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

VUYCC 2017 Rosters

Here are Valley Ultimate’s first ever YCC rosters!

Coaching Staff: Leila Tunnell, Joe Costello, Dylan Tunnell, Nolan Benoit

Girls U20:

  1. Sophie Acker (Amherst)
  2. Hjordis Aho (Four Rivers)
  3. XiHu Arfa (Four Rivers)
  4. Claire Babbott-Bryan (Northampton)
  5. Amalia Butler (Amherst)
  6. Alexis Dimitriou (Four Rivers)
  7. Lily Harris-Hendry (Four Rivers)
  8. Karta Khalsa (Amherst)
  9. Maya Laur (Deerfield)
  10. Zoe Lemos (PVPA)
  11. Lili Lieberman-Bachman (Northampton)
  12. Sarah Rose
  13. Abby Schlinger (Four Rivers)
  14. Casey Shaw-Merrigan (Northampton)
  15. Grace Valentine (Montpelier)
  16. Sarah VonDoepp (Burlington)

Boys U20:

  1. Isaac Appel (Newton North)
  2. Nick Auerbach (UVM ’21)
  3. Lukas Becker (Amherst)
  4. Tai Coppinger (Northstar)
  5. Cole Davis-Brand (Amherst)
  6. Kai Harwood (PVPA)
  7. Luca Harwood (Amherst)
  8. Sam Laur (Deerfield)
  9. Sam Losen (Lexington)
  10. Scott MacLeish
  11. Caleb Ng (Rochester Institute of Technology ’21)
  12. Liam O’Connor (Hamilton College)
  13. Cameron Park (Brandeis ’21)
  14. Hieu Pham (Westfield State ’21)
  15. Gavin Prough (Williston )
  16. Daniel Rabinovich (University of Southern California ’21)
  17. Alex Sciaruto (Amherst)
  18. Luke Sedor Protti (Amherst)
  19. Jesse Strod (Washington University in St. Louis ’21)
  20. Peter Treyz (Amherst)
  21. Michael Yip


Leila Tunnell & Joe Costello launch VU’s YCC program!

U20 girls coach Leila Tunnell

Over the last 3 years, Valley Ultimate has run a highly successful U20 league throughout June and early July that has served 60+ girls and boys from our area. This summer we will continue to offer this youth playing opportunity.

In addition, Valley Ultimate will be sending two teams, a U20 girls team and a U20 boys team, to compete nationally at the Youth Club Championships in Blaine, Minnesota this August 5th through 7th!

Valley Ultimate YCC2017 Application

Complete team information can be found on the VU YCC page.

Valley Ultimate will be sending girls and boys teams to the 2017 Youth Club Championships!

Who: Valley Ultimate’s YCC program aims to serve all youth ultimate players in our region. We encourage any girl or boys in the area to come and play during the summer!

What: Valley Ultimate will send send our own girls and boys teams to participate in USA Ultimate’s Youth Club Championships in Blaine, Minnesota. According to the 2017 Youth Competition Guidelines, the age divisions participating in this national tournament will be U17 and U20. Competition divisions will include Boys’, Girls’ and Mixed. (USA Ultimate recently announced a revision and clarification of the Guidelines, including player eligibility, here.)

Where: The Youth Club Championships is a national tournament held in Blaine, Minnesota.

When: The Youth Club Championships will be held on the first or second weekend of August.

Why: Youth ultimate is growing nationally, and within our region. We believe that we have some of the best young players and organizers in the country! The Youth Club Championships is an event that will showcase our talent and character. This program exemplifies our mission to continue to expand our offerings and networking for the ultimate community in our region.

How: Valley Ultimate is committed to promoting gender equity in our sport. We will be reaching out to the young women in our region as well as organizers and coaches to make sure that our YCC program will provide the best opportunities for girls.

We are planning to send a girls team and a boys team from The Valley. We welcome players of all ages to participate! Player and community involvement will determine the age and competition division(s) in which Valley Ultimate will participate at YCCs.

If necessary, Valley Ultimate may conduct a tryout process, or facilitate player participation at YCCs in Blaine through our network of youth organizations. We are committed to supporting ANY player from our region who aspires to compete nationally at YCC’s. Some financial aid will be available!

Valley Ultimate will continue to offer summer and fall leagues for youth players of all experience levels. These leagues will connect players with our local coaching and organizational talent!

If you are a player who is interested in learning more about this opportunity, please fill out this quick survey.

If you are a parent, a coach, or interested in volunteering in any way, please fill out this quick survey.

Valley Ultimate is a registered 501(c)3 whose mission is to promote and grow the sport of ultimate in western Massachusetts and the Connecticut River Valley. For specific inquiries about Valley Ultimate’s YCC program, contact Joe Costello ( or visit