New York High School Championship Tournament
Going into their two-day Ultimate Frisbee tournament on Saturday, May 26, the Sticky Fingers were seeded fifth. Led by senior captain Alex Chao and junior captains Nicholas Fung, Daniel Teehan and Remy Carr, the Sticky Fingers opened up the tournament against #2 seeded Brighton and the defending champion John Jay, losing 11-7 and 13-3 respectively. “We had some unfortunate seeding in the first two games,” senior Earl Lin said. “In these games we had a few execution errors.”
The lopsided loss against John Jay was another episode in a growing rivalry between the two teams. “They definitely have been the team to beat over the past years, and will be the team to beat next year,” coach Malcolm Baker said.
The Sticky Fingers had won the tournament in 2009 and 2010, beating John Jay in the finals in 2009. In 2011, John Jay beat Stuyvesant in the semi-finals on its way to becoming champions. This year, John Jay finished 8-0 and won the tournament while Stuyvesant finished 5th with a record of 5-3. “We were the first team to have a repeat at States,” sophomore Ethan Schwab said. “Now they had a repeat, so it shows the level of competition between the two teams.”
Though they started the tournament off with two losses, the Sticky Fingers rattled off two straight wins against Canandaigua and Guilderland, 13-3 and 13-9 respectively, to close out the first day of the tournament. “We were disappointed about losing the first game against Brighton,” Teehan said. “But that only made us want to come out and play better the next two games.”
Sunday morning saw the Sticky Fingers rattle off a shutout against Fieldston B, 13-0. In the quarter-final match against Pittsford-Mendon, the Sticky Fingers played what they felt was an effective and impressive game but still lost 11-8. “That was the best game I’ve seen the whole team play,” Fung said. “We were going back and forth and I think at the end we were a little anxious and let the game slip away from us.”
Afterward, Stuyvesant brought home two more victories against New Rochelle High School and Guilderland, with final scores of 10-8 and 11-6 respectively, to clinch 5th place.
Overall, the Sticky Fingers felt that they had matched last year team’s accomplishments. “Both teams mostly had players with two years of experience and I think this was a positive note to end the year on.” Schwab said. The Sticky Fingers feel good about their chances for next year, only losing three seniors while John Jay and Fieldston A will lose many more. “We’re ready to dominate next year,” Fung said.
New York City Semi-Finals
Going into their semi-final matchup with the #2 seeded Poly Prep Blue Devils on Wednesday, May 23, the Stuyvesant Sticky Fingers were the #3 seed in the New York City League. The Sticky Fingers had finished the regular season with a record of 8-2, and they faced a tough matchup against the 9-1 Blue Devils. The Sticky Fingers knew that this game would be a tough one, especially with Teehan being sidelined by a rotator cuff injury.
The Sticky Fingers had previously lost 13-7 to the Blue Devils in the regular season. From this game, the Sticky Fingers knew that both the Blue Devils’ height advantages and tendency to throw the disc deep downfield was something to watch out for. “We relied on zone defense so that we could stick a guy deep to guard against deep throws,” Chao said.
Despite Stuyvesant’s defense plan, the Poly Prep was still able to throw the disc deep. “We tried bodying up,” Fung said. “But even when they threw it late in the stall count, their players will still able to come down with the disc.”
The Sticky Fingers suffered a critical injury midway into the second point when Chao was hit over his right eye while trying to mark a deep throw. “I was immediately worried,” Fung said. “He’s one of our crucial players.” He remained down for several minutes and sat until halftime. With the Sticky Fingers down two captains, the Blue Devils soon went off on a 5-0 run to pull into halftime with a score of 7-2. Chao re-entered the game after halftime, but he was later knocked down during the 11th point while trying to defend a disc in the end zone.
After halftime the Sticky Fingers began moving up and down the field with fluid efficiency, looking unfazed by the zone looks that the Blue Devils threw at them, but they were plagued by missed opportunities. “As the game continued, we didn’t rise to the occasion,” Baker said. “We saw them making plays and we sort of got flat footed towards the end of the game.”
On several occasions, the Sticky Fingers simply were unable to come away with points while near the end zone. “We weren’t hitting open throws,” Chao said. “We were making careless mistakes.” The Blue Devils won the game with a score of 13-6.
The Sticky Fingers were relatively inexperienced in the beginning of the year, with most of last year’s varsity members graduating. Even so, the team quickly grew into a team that relied on its zone defense and fundamentals to win games. “We had some really nice handler movement throughout the year,” Fung said. “That’s something Stuy has always been known for.”
Though Chao and two other seniors are graduating, the team isn’t worried about finding other players who will step up, especially in sophomore Ethan Schwab and freshmen Keiran Carpen and Eric Chen. “I think [Schwab] is going to be a key component since he’s going to be a handler,” Baker said.
The Sticky Fingers will also be aided next year by the large amount of seniors that teams in their division are losing. “Fieldston finished first in the league this year and many of their experienced players will be graduating this year,” Teehan said. “It’s a good thing that our team is so large that we won’t really be too hurt by the graduating seniors, especially since the rest of the team has gained a lot of valuable experience this year.” The Sticky Fingers will enter the fall with a mission to finish undefeated next year.