Girls’ ultimate suffers close loss to St. Paul Academy

Dramatic finish ends well-played game

Senior+Elizabeth+Kniser+knocks+the+disc+away+from+an+opponent+May+25.+The+team+lost+by+one+in+overtime.

Jack Kroells

Senior Elizabeth Kniser knocks the disc away from an opponent May 25. The team lost by one in overtime.

When Girls’ Crush Ultimate scored at the last minute to tie up with St. Paul Academy, the game came down to the final point. Senior Mimi Kniser said this nail-biter finish ended with a 10-9 loss for Crush, but the team still improved throughout the game.

“We’re getting better every game, and it’s really fun to see,” Kniser said. “In our earlier games, we would have super long points with lots of turnovers, and now we have a better rhythm. We’re completing more passes and having a better flow in general.”

Throughout the hundred-minute game, Crush players cheered on their teammates from the sidelines. Head coach Kevin Ruda said he was happy to see this extremely high energy from the team.

“The intensity — that’s something we’ve been really working on the last few games on especially,” Ruda said. “But we came out very willing to win and wanting to win this one.”

My experience has been really good. Everyone is really welcoming, and they made it really easy to learn things. I didn’t know anything, they were really nice to me and told me what to do. I think it’s a really good learning environment.”

— Mimi Kniser

With several seniors graduating the past two years, Crush has relatively low numbers: 14 total players. Despite this, the team has found ways to build a strong team community, according to junior captain Natashia Johannes.

“This season has been going really well. We’ve had a lot of fun so far, but I think the thing that’s hurting us most is definitely numbers,” Johannes said. “Despite the low numbers, we have done really well as a team, from a community standpoint as well as a playing standpoint.” 

Assistant coach Claire Cech said she was thrilled to see the team’s improvement, and she’s excited to see where it can go.

“This is my first year coaching at any level, so it’s been really exciting for me to see that trajectory — where we were at the beginning, and then each week, it seems like it gets better and better. It’s really exciting to see,” Cech said.

According to Johannes, as the season continues and players get to know each other better, Crush will continue to grow and improve.

“As a team, we have several new players, and we didn’t get a season last year. So we’re just still working on getting used to each other,” Johannes said. “I think that we have been doing really well this season, even though the scores haven’t necessarily reflected that.”

One of the strengths of Crush is that the team has a great climate for new players, according to Kniser.

”My experience has been really good. Everyone is really welcoming, and they made it really easy to learn things,” Kniser said. “I didn’t know anything, they were really nice to me and told me what to do. I think it’s a really good learning environment.”

Girls’ Crush plays its next game at 6 p.m. June 1 at Edina High School.

Information about the team can be found at slpultimate.com or by contacting the coaches at [email protected].