Fugue, the UO’s women’s Ultimate team, flying toward finals

The University of Oregon Women’s Ultimate team is no stranger to success.

The  club team, ranked No. 1 in the nation this season with a 30-1 record, is trying to win its third national title since 2010 after finishing second last year. If they qualify at a regional tournament this weekend in Walla Walla, they’ll head to Madison, Wisconsin, for the USA Division 1 College Championships May 22-26.

The team’s name offers some insight into its success: Fugue is a musical term used to describe a short melody introduced by one part and successively taken up by others.

“We use it as a team identity — we are one team but we are made up of individuals who work together to make something special,” said club president Hope Zima.

Ultimate is a non-stop sport played on a grass field where players score by throwing a flying disc to a teammate in the end zone.

“We like to describe it as a combination of football, soccer and basketball,” Zima said. “We play defense like basketball, we move on the field like soccer and we score in the end zones like football.

“No one person can score alone — you really need everyone on the team to score and win a game.”

That team mentality is the driving force behind Fugue’s success.

“It feels like a family,” senior co-captain Jesse Shofner said. “The community is very intertwined and supportive; it’s a beautiful group of people. ... It extends beyond the field for sure.”

That family feeling also motivates the team for its early morning work-outs.

“To know that when you wake up at 5 a.m., so are 20 other girls, and that they are going to be here waiting for you, it’s a really big motivator,” she said. “It’s what gets me here.”

— By Gianna Graziano, Digital Communications intern