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News

2013 South Central College Regionals Preview (Women's)

Posted: April 26, 2013 11:18 AM
 

Women's Division

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South Central
Regionals Preview
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Event preview by Kansas' Jordan Warren, as a part of our 2013 Regionals coverage.

To paraphrase Al Pacino in the movie "Any Given Sunday," ultimate is a game of inches. This weekend, 12 teams head into South Central Regionals in Kansas City, Mo., and inches mean everything. It will take every bit of space possible to get the layout D, to sky another player, to make it into the end zone. This is any team’s weekend, because in this region, unpredictability reigns.

Final USA Ultimate season rankings showed Colorado (#23) leading the region, followed closely by Colorado College (#24) and Texas (#26). All three teams remained strong in Conferences, but the Texas loss to Texas A&M (#42) shows a potential cause for concern. Kansas (#43), Colorado State (#55) and Washington University (#60) all still have room to grow as all three teams have shown they can learn from a loss and come back as a dominating force. The surprise of the region came from unranked Missouri State as they powered through to a first place finish in the Ozarks Conference.

There is a plethora of talent and strength in these 12 teams. It will all come down to which team plays with focus, determination and strategy. With one bid to nationals, there is no way to predict who will come out on top.

Colorado Kali took first in Conferences after a midseason struggle at Centex. Despite some losses, they displayed determination and strength to garner wins against California, Texas and Texas A & M. Colorado comes into this weekend leading the region in rankings and proving a challenge for many teams. Their spirit and love of the game always prove a delight, but it will be their use of the field and knowledge of defense that pushes them through tough matchups. This season, Kali spent time learning from every game and striving to play to their potential. Kali’s goal for Regionals is to execute the skills taught in practice on the field in every game.

Player to watch: Amanda Good (Callahan nominee)

Texas A&M came out aggressively with a first place finish in the Texas Conference. Earlier this season saw a lack of focus at Midwest Throwdown, knocking them from the D-I bracket, but the A&M ladies have regained their focus. With wins against Michigan, Washington University and Texas, this team has shown they want a fight, and this weekend, they may get a few. A&M worked hard for their seed, and they will need to prepare for challenges this weekend from all the teams present.

Player to watch: Brittaney Abney (Callahan nominee)

Colorado College took the final bid at the Rocky Mountain Conference. These ladies began the season at the Stanford Open, falling only to Western Washington in the final game. At Centex, they fought hard to make it to the final in Division-II, making it a tough loss with windy points against Michigan. In Conferences, CC beat Colorado State by one point, followed by a two-point loss to Colorado and a loss by one against Colorado State. These women will need to start strong this weekend and maintain through the entire tournament.

Player to watch: Taylor Kanemori (Callahan nominee)

Texas had focus and determination at Conferences this year as they worked hard to earn the second bid to Regionals. Throughout the season, Texas has remained strong, but fell to Texas A&M on Sunday at Conferences. Texas has a strong history and is known for their defense and speed. With wins against Texas A&M, Michigan State and Colorado College, Texas has proven they are up for any challenge and willing to work for it. Knowledge of the game and strategy will help Texas test the other teams, but it will be their ability on the field, which pushes them to the top.

Player to watch: Kayla Ramirez (Callahan nominee)

Missouri State comes in strong from winning the Ozarks Conference, but there are few games to compare. The Bearly Legal ladies played two sanctioned tournaments, including Conferences, and they struggled against Illinois and Texas-Arlington at Mardi Gras. Missouri State triumphs in windy weather with their aggressive zone defense and determination. However, their roster is small, and they will need to maintain stamina against the other teams.

Player to watch: Casey Fults

The Kansas Bettys have shown a great deal of focus this year compared to previous seasons as they fought their way to garner the second bid from the Ozarks Conference. They started strong this season at Midwest Throwdown, playing their way into the Sunday D-I bracket. However, the Saturday of Conferences began a little shaky as the Bettys struggled against Oklahoma and Washington University. Sunday, they bounced back and fought hard for redemption in a backdoor game for second place against WUWU. This season, Kansas has worked to try and peak during Regionals, but first they will need to smooth out transitions and defense.

Player to watch: Caitlin Fitzgerald

Washington University proved a formidable force during Conferences weekend as they went undefeated in pool play. The WUWU ladies struggled throughout the season against various teams and lost the last two games of the Ozarks Conference but still managed to clinch the third bid to Regionals. As a young team, their goals were to introduce players to highly competitive games and focus on downfield man defense and cutting against different defenses. WUWU has a terrific grounding in ultimate fundamentals, and they never allow spirit to suffer in the name of competition. Their [wo]man-to-[wo]man defense is strengthened by their solid understanding of rules and strategy. WUWU will need to bring all they’ve got to Regionals in order to fight for the trip to Nationals.

Player to watch: Megan Epperson

WUWU and the Bettys have met several times this year, exchanging wins each time. Both enjoy the matchup between teams and certain individual players: Kat Songer vs. Danielle Blatt and Kate Eshelman vs. Alli Kahn. This will be a great game to watch this weekend.

Colorado State earned the second bid out of the Rocky Mountain Conference. Their season began a little shaky, but these ladies proved a formidable force at Midwest Throwdown while remaining in the D-I bracket and fighting for a fourth place finish. With wins against Northwestern, St. Louis and Colorado College, this team has proven their ability to challenge any team. Colorado State will need to bring their A-game this weekend as they play many teams they have not yet met this season.

Player to watch: Paige Applegate

Rice struggled a bit in the Texas Conference and but earned the fourth bid to Regionals. At Centex, Rice had a strong finish on Sunday after falling to Arizona State and Harvard on Saturday. As a young team with three solid seniors and love for another team’s challenge, Rice’s goals are to focus on fundamentals and come out hard. These ladies are determined and can go a long way, given the opportunity. However, they need to maintain their focus throughout the entire tournament as they go head to head with the other teams.

Player to watch: Monica Matsumoto

St. Louis earned the fourth bid from the Ozarks Conference with a similar schedule as Kansas. With strong play at Midwest Throwdown they worked their way into the D-I bracket on Sunday. At Conferences, SLULU lost to Truman State by a one-point margin and fought for redemption in the final game. They have already proven to be a wildcard after their win against Texas A&M at Midwest Throwdown, and SLULU needs to continue to challenge other inter-region teams in hopes of rising up the ranks. Achieving this season’s goals of qualifying for Regionals and coming out on top against tough competition, SLULU hopes to start this weekend strong, make smart decisions and maintain possession on the field.

Players to watch: Michaela Ward & Gabby Lavezzi

As another unranked team, Texas Christian surprised with a third-place finish at Conferences. With wins against Northern Iowa, Texas State and Rice, Texas Christian is a bit of an unknown wildcard. It will be interesting to see what these ladies have in store for the weekend and how they plan to attack.

Conclusions:

This region will not be determined by one game, but by the inches each team works for in every game. It will take effort to run a little bit faster and jump a little bit higher to gain the inches needed to succeed. All of these teams have shown they can challenge anyone, and there are bound to be upsets this weekend as everyone fights for the one Nationals bid. The weather is predicted to be fantastic, but Kansas weather is as set in stone as any predictions for this region.
 


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