Manti Sweep Home Tournament 7-0

Rose Stoloff, Staff Writer

After a long weekend of running in the rain and diving in the mud, the women’s Ultimate Frisbee team, the Preying Manti, established its place as a force to be reckoned with in the Ultimate world this season. After going undefeated for seven straight games, the Manti were crowned champions of their home tournament, Force Freedom.

Despite the sub-par weather, many Ultimate enthusiasts gathered on North Fields early Saturday morning to begin a rapid-fire series of games. Rose Benjamin, a sophomore rookie, was in awe at the showing.

“It’s so exciting to look around and see everyone doing the same thing you are,” she said. “It definitely makes you appreciate the sport a lot more.”

The day began with a game against Wooster, a team that has traditionally been one of the stronger teams in the region. The Manti secured a relatively smooth 13–4 victory which senior co-captain Margaret Rosano said “gave us a lot of momentum moving forward.”

That confidence boost was much needed for the second game of the tournament against Kenyon. The team anticipated that the match-up against Kenyon would be the hardest of the tournament as Kenyon’s team came into the tournament seeded first (Oberlin was seeded second). Despite their doubts, the Manti came away with a 9–5 victory.

The day was broken up by a brief interlude in which the Manti played each other. This is the first year the Manti have experimented with the idea of breaking the team into an A and a B team.

“Having the B team gives new players that space to really figure out their own game,” said senior co-captain Kayla Emrick. “Being on a team with people who are learning just as much as you are every step of the way is really empowering.”

The Manti utilized the opportunity to play each other to work out some of the difficulties the B team had been having. “It was a nice opportunity for us to come back together as a team,” said Rosano.

The Manti ended Saturday just as fervently as they had started it, pulling out a 13–3 victory over Ohio Wesleyan, another team Oberlin has been neck and neck with in past seasons.

“I think it just speaks to the depth of our roster that we could play so many games in one day and still have the legs and experience and skill to come out with such a big win against a team with whom we’ve generally been really competitive,” said Rosano.

Sunday began on a high note as well, with a game against “DenHam,” a melding of the Denison and Earlham Ultimate teams. “We heard at the end of Saturday that they had beaten Kenyon, so we were a little nervous going into it,” said Emrick. Nerves aside, the Manti prevailed.

“[DenHam] had a very specific and easy-to-read strategy, and once we figured that out, it was a very easy win for us and we kind of just pulled ahead,” said Rosano. The Manti ultimately won 10–5.

Because of their success in the first five games of the tournament, the Preying Manti moved on to the next round, beating Wooster 11–2.

With six wins in the bag, the championship game against DenHam commenced.

“We came into that game just a little off, not particularly warm, not quite in the zone,” said Emrick. Further unsettling the Manti, both the Denison and the Earlham men’s teams had come to cheer on their counterparts.

“That shakes you up,” said Emrick, “having people cheer against you.”

The Manti ended the first half down 4–5, but things began to turn around in the second half. The men’s team, the Flying Horsecows, as well as the women’s B team, came to the sidelines to show their support.

“We had a little pump-up circle,” said Emrick.

The team also tweaked its strategy slightly.

“We adjusted some things on defense and started making more conservative choices on offense,” explained Rosano, “and I think that really helped.”

The Manti managed to pull ahead and landed a 9–7 victory, winning the championship title.

The victory for the Preying Manti at Force Freedom could lead to an exciting season ahead. Captains Rosano and Emrick are optimistic and impressed with all the players on the team.

“Our rookies are outstanding,” said Rosano.

Yet, she is equally impressed with the older, returning players.

“Our seniors have really stepped into leadership roles,” she added. “They have committed to being role models off the field as well for some of our younger players.”

The Manti hope to continue their success at the much more competitive Fall Brawl tournament this weekend, hosted by Ohio State in Versailles, Ohio.