2012 College Championships - Women's Division Preview

Posted: May 24, 2012 10:24 AM

Only 20 teams remain with a shot at winning the 2012 College Championship.  Maya Ziv breaks down the Women's Division.

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Pool A

  Sonoma State
  Ohio State


Pool A features a likely barn burner with 2 seed Wisconsin facing off against 3 seed Sonoma State. These two teams have yet to meet this season, but are nearly mirror images of each other. Both teams feature patient offenses that swing the disc until the right opportunity crops up. With excellent receivers, once a well-timed cut appears, the disc will be sent deep. With the exception of this match-up, the pool will likely hold seed while D'Vine will be celebrating their uspet over Bella Donna. Oregon’s wins at their Conference Championship and the Northwest Regional tournaments earn them the top spot – it’ll be hard to shake them of that spot. Their various defenses have been hard to beat all season, and they boast some of the best offensive players in the game. 

Pool B

  Humboldt State


Pool B boasts some of the most interesting teams at Boulder this year with Humboldt State and Delware in the mix.  The surprise team to watch out for is Humboldt State, as they unexpectedly took second place at Southwest Regionals.    It will be interesting to see if Humboldt can hold seed or if they will fall to the revenge from UCLA. In their one game this year, a placement game at Regionals, UCLA fell victim to the hot Arizona sun. They now have an opportunity to apply their lessons learned from regionals and apply them this weekend. UW Element has spent the majority of the season at the top of the rankings, but faltered to rival Oregon at Northwest Regionals. Iowa has had a strong season featuring strong players Chelsea Twohig and Liza Minor, and finishing first at North Central Regionals. This pool has a large potential for upsets, with UCLA looking underseeded. Expect the order of finish to be shuffled with these teams being evenly matched.

Pool C

  North Carolina
  British Columbia


Michigan is one of this year’s favorites to win gold. After finishing in second in 2011, Flywheel is back with a vengeance. The loss of one of last year’s top players Becky Malinowski has done little to slow this team’s pace. Despite a small roster, they have consistently finished at the top of the year's most competitive tournaments. Expect them to dominate on Saturday and Sunday, winning the pool. North Carolina's loss to Virginia is the reason we see them as the two seed in pool C, dropping seed slightly. Regardless, the Pleiades boast an intimidating combination in Lindsay Lang and Shellie Cohen. FUEL is a surprising qualifier, winning their region over the likes of Georgia and Central Florida. Expect Pool C to be the only one to go to seed this tournament. 

Pool D

  Iowa State


The top seeds should be quaking with fear, as due to a slip at regionals, Iowa State is seeded third; That's just asking for an upset. Women Scorned have been dominant all season, winning tough tournaments like Midwest Throwdown and Centex. Expect their games against Cal and Virginia to be filled with explosive plays and close finishes. The top team teams in this pool feature some of the best athletes in the game, promising exciting individual battles as these squads fight for every inch. The prediction here is that ISU will take first with the rest of the order staying the same.

Seven to Watch

  • Paula Seville (Michigan Flywheel) – Flywheel’s Callahan candidate is exceptional on both offense and defense. She’s smart and athletic, and steps up as the captain of her team. She’s been to the finals before - you can bet that’ll fuel her fire to take the gold this year.
  • Magon Liu (Iowa State) – One of this year’s captains, Liu has stepped up this year with her throws and skies. She might look little, but she can hammer over the tallest of defenders. Look for some crazy plays out of this one.
  • Sabrina "Kodiak" Fong (UCLA) – Kodi has been regarded for years as one of the Southwest’s toughest handlers. She’s consistent and intimidating, not afraid to sacrifice her body for a disc. She has no problems putting up perfect hucks that are brought down time and time by BLU’s expert receivers.
  • Maggie Ruden (Sonoma State) – Maggie has been with the team from their beginnings five years ago and has grown into a mature, intelligent, and incredibly tough player to guard. She is quite versatile, and effectively works with her team to make the most of Sonoma’s deep talent. Maggie is an amazing person to watch both play and lead her team to victory with encouragement and spirit.
  • Claire Desmond (Cal) – Claire is one of the most dominant receivers and defensive players in the Southwest. Watch for her to pick up the disc and throw a score before her opponent has even noticed she’s laid out to snag a D.
  • Lindsay Lang (UNC) – The Pleiades’ Callahan nominee has some of the best throws we’ve seen this season. She supplements her offensive prowess with regular skies over her opponents on defense. 
  • Chelsea Twohig (Iowa) – Chelsea’s ability to get open at will and distribute the disc opens up Saucy Nancy’s offense. Her mark is one of the best in the country, helping to boost Iowa’s fire on both sides of the disc.


  Though Iowa State is seeded 12th, they have performed amazing all season. They had a hard time with communication and consistencies at Regionals, leading them to a loss in semis to Wisconsin. They are one of the strongest teams mentally and have proved time and time again they can win close games. They’re likely to make some noise starting in pool play – taking first there will give them the confidence to ride on to the finals.  
  Sonoma State is currently seeded third in their pool, ninth overall. D’Vine is ecstatic to be at Nationals for the first time in their short history, but after being considered the top Southwest team for the first half of the season, they’re itching to taste what it’s like to be on top of them. Led by one of the best coaches in women’s ultimate, James Yeager, D’Vine is pumped – if their players are on, look for them to make a serious run at the title.


Upset Alert

  Wisconsin needs to come out fired up if they’re going to hold off Sonoma State. These teams are evenly matched in play style but Wisconsin has an excellent challenge in trying to contain Maggie Ruden and the rest of the D’Vine crew. Though Bella Donna played at many tournaments with teams across the nation, the only two Southwest teams they’ve matched up with are Cal and UCLA. I’m looking forward to seeing what defenses they’ve got up their sleeves.
  UCLA is gunning for Humboldt State after their loss to them at Regionals. UCLA gets to play that game fresh while Humboldt will be coming off a tough match against Iowa. UCLA is also likely to break the most ground of the teams with a possible move from fourth to first place in their pool.


Games to Watch


Oregon vs. Sonoma State:

Expect D’Vine’s best game to be the rematch of Stanford Invite’s game against Oregon. At the time, Sonoma State was able to shred the complex Oregon zone in just a weak wind. Bad news for Sonoma State: as of now, we’re set to see 20mph winds on Saturday morning. Will Sonoma State break through the Oregon zone, or will Fugue’s defense prove impenetrable?


UNC vs. Michigan:

Watching the Lindsay Lang and Shellie Cohen duo match up with Paula Seville and Kelsey DeLave will be one for the ages. We’ll see if Michigan’s small roster will hurt them in one of their toughest matchups in pool play.


Iowa State vs. Cal:

These two teams have players that will be incredible to watch match up against each other. Can Becca Miller sky the Cal receivers? Will Lily Lin shred the Iowa State marks? This game will have some of the most athletic plays of the weekend, kicking off Saturday with a bang.


Fun Facts

  • Last year’s champs Santa Barbara will not be seen in Boulder this year after losing the game to go to the game to go to Stanford. 
  • Delaware returns to Nationals for the first time since 2007
  • No schools small enough to be considered D3 qualified this year
  • Pool B is the only one to host a Regional rematch – UCLA and Humboldt State. For the first time, the limit on bids a region could learn was removed (it was previously 4). The Southwest went on to earn 5 bids.
  • This is the first time to Nationals for both Humboldt State and Sonoma State.


Women's Warm Up - Skydmagazine.com: