Four-Peat for Women’s Ultimate

In May, Pleiades defeated Stanford University’s Superfly 15–10 in Verona, Wisconsin, to bring the title home. (Photo: Pleiades)

They’re one of Carolina’s lesser-known athletic teams, but Pleiades, the women’s club Ultimate Frisbee squad, last month won their fourth consecutive national title at the USA Ultimate College Championships.

In May, Pleiades (pronounced plee uh deez) defeated Stanford University’s Superfly 15–10 in Verona, Wisconsin, to bring the title home. “It felt incredible, and it doesn’t get old,” team captain and rising senior Dhara Buebel told Media Relations. “I am so incredibly impressed by what my teammates did, and that’s something that won’t wear off — that feeling of accomplishment, that feeling of not only do we get to do this really cool thing, but we get to do it together.”

Dawn Culton ’24 scored six goals during the championship game and earned national player of the year honors. Culton said she enrolled at Carolina, in part, because of the reputation of Pleiades in the Ultimate Frisbee world. “I think Pleiades is really cool because of the way that it uplifts its players,” she told Media Relations. “I’ve never been on a team where people have believed in each other to the extent that people believe in each other on Pleiades.”

UNC has become a hotbed for Ultimate Frisbee, with quality players wanting to play for Carolina. The men’s team, Darkside, which frequently practices with the women’s team, has won five national championships, including consecutive titles from 2021 to 2023. Darkside came into the 2024 national tournament ranked No. 1 but was upset in the semifinals, losing to No. 5-ranked California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, 15–13.

The women’s team got their name from a cluster of stars called the Pleiades, but it’s also known as the Seven Sisters, which is an appropriate name for a women’s team, which fields seven players. Since the team was formed in 1995, Pleaides has appeared in seven consecutive national title matches and won the last four. Beginning in February 2020, Pleiades went 1,498 days without losing, winning 143 games in a row, according to UNC Media Relations. The streak came to an end March 17, when the team lost a regular season contest against Minnesota’s Carleton College.

Ultimate Frisbee is played on a field approximately the size of a football field. In the noncontact sport, two teams made up of seven players each pass a Frisbee to teammates with the objective to throw it across the opposing team’s goal line.

— Cameron Hayes Fardy ’23

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