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September 16, 2011
If you've never seen an Ultimate Frisbee game before, University of Virginia player Kaley Bender makes it sound pretty nifty.

"It's sort of a game that's a mix between football and soccer," Bender said. "Just expect a lot of cool plays, and lots of movement, and lots of ups going for the disc."

Football, soccer, cool plays, movement and ups. Doesn't sound too bad.

Locals will be able to witness all of it this weekend at the Smith River Sports Complex, which is hosting the Virginia Fusion tournament - a women's Frisbee tournament that includes both club and college teams.

"The last couple weeks we've seen a lot of people that are gonna come out, that are interested just to see what it is," said SRSC Director of Operations Billy Russo. "There's a lot of kids that are from this area that went to college that know about the sport, so they'll probably be here and try to advocate for it."

Thirty-six teams and an estimated 900 players will participate in what is considered a premier national tourney.

"Really you can tell the quality of the tournament from where people are coming from, and I know that there are teams coming from the West Coast," said Bender, who also competes for a Charlottesville-based club team.

Indeed, teams from as far away as Seattle and Colorado will be competing. College teams include Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, Clemson, Maryland, VCU, William & Mary, James Madison and Georgetown, among others.

Generally speaking, Ultimate Frisbee is not a varsity sport in college - most are college club teams.

"We expect it to be a huge economic impact to the area, that's the number one goal," Russo said. "And the other reason (for hosting the tournament) is to really showcase this facility to people across the country, and to see if we could pull one of these events off."

There will be three divisions in the tournament: Club (eight teams), College (20) and Elite Club (eight). Pool play is Saturday, and division champions will be determined Sunday.

Games begin at 8:30 a.m. both days. There will also be a skills clinic for college players from 5:15 to 7 p.m. Saturday.

For more information, including the full schedule of games, see