Veteran Handler Anchors the Lady Sweets
Whitman’s women’s Ultimate Frisbee team is a club sport often overlooked on campus. Not only are the “Lady Sweets” competing in a nontraditional sport, but they have also been overshadowed by the national success of the men’s team in the past. This year promises to be different for the Lady Sweets, whose sport has a culture entirely its own.
Ultimate Frisbee grounds itself in a mutually understood creed that its players know simply as the “spirit of the game.” The “spirit of the game” encourages players to respect their opponents to a high degree, avoid retaliation when
opponents mistreat them and, most importantly, to have fun while playing.
Ultimate Frisbee is unique and different from most traditional sports because of its emphasis on
virtues that other sports acknowledge but bury beneath values that instead focus on competition.
Judging by their early success, the Lady Sweets seem to have found a perfect balance between respecting the spirit of the game while maintaining their desire to win. After upsetting the University of Oregon and University of Washington in November, the Lady Sweets have lofty expectations of qualifying for the NCAA Division I National Tournament in May. According to sophomore Julia Bladin, the team’s work ethic gives them a realistic chance of reaching such goals.
“I’ve played on very competitive teams in the past, but there hasn’t been a group this dedicated. This is definitely the most passionate and dedicated team I have been on where it is about the competition, but also focuses on the team,” said Bladin.
The Lady Sweets’ success can be at least partially attributed to the stellar play and leadership of senior Beth Daviess. Daviess recently received an invitation to try out for the U-23 National Team. While Daviess is looking forward to her tryout—which will take place Feb. 2 and 3—she certainly was not expecting it.
“It was a little shocking because I didn’t expect to be invited. I was really excited when I first heard, but then 10 minutes later I got incredibly nervous,” said Daviess.
Daviess was one of 500 women who applied for the chance to represent her country. Out of the 88 women invited, only 25 will be selected to be a part of the team. If Daviess were to make it, she would train at home all summer and eventually attend training camps with the team to prepare for Nationals that take place in July in Toronto.
For now, however, Daviess will continue to lead the Lady Sweets as they prepare for the upcoming
“When it comes down to it, leaders need to have good enough technical skills to lead the team by example, but it also boils down to ‘Who do you want hear from?’ ‘Who is going to pump you up before the game?’ That is something that Beth has done from the get go,” said senior Lillian Bailey of Daviess’ presence on the team.
Daviess’ response to a question about her individual goals further illustrates the kind of teammate she is.
“I think that, personally, changing this team into a competitive group has been really satisfying and meaningful because I have been playing with these girls for such a long time and they deserve it so much,” said Daviess.
The team’s first tournament of the spring is coming up the first weekend of February, when they hope to set the tone in Corvallis for a long season. With a selfless, talented leader at the helm and a roster full of hardworking players, the Lady Sweets look to turn heads this season
and capture a berth in the NCAA Division I Championship.
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