2013 College Championships - Women's Division Preview

Posted: May 23, 2013 12:21 PM


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Only 20 teams remain with a shot at winning the 2013 College Championship.  Anna Levine breaks down the Women's Division's action.

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Pool A

  Oregon   Wisconsin   Stanford   Minnesota   undefined  



Oregon deserves their number one overall seed at the 2013 Women’s College Championships, and it will take substantial confidence, skill and probably some luck for any team in Pool A to upset them. Fugue dominated the regular season, coming in first at each of their tournaments and winning all but one game this spring. Although Oregon has won narrowly in many cases – including a nail-biting 17-15 win over the pool’s second-seeded Wisconsin, at the Stanford Invite – the team is used to winning close games in fast-paced, high-pressure situations, and this invaluable experience will take them far. Their recent championship record speaks to their ability to perform on the national stage as well: Fugue has made it to at least the semifinals of each College Championship since 2009. 

Although Wisconsin performed especially well at the Stanford Invite, soundly beating elite competitors such as British Columbia and Washington, their overall record doesn’t compare to Fugue’s. Since that tournament, Bella Donna has lost to every Nationals-bound team they’ve played but one. And Stanford certainly isn’t going to let Wisconsin win without a fight. Superfly beat Bella Donna 10-4 at Centex and will be chomping at the bit to upset the pool. Minnesota, a Nationals newcomer, is the question mark of the group. They have significantly less elite-level playing experience than the rest of their pool, but they’ve repeatedly kept up with Carleton and Iowa in head-to-head matchups and even bested Wisconsin 14-7 at Midwest Throwdown. Watch for some unexpected results from the Ninjas and the middle of Pool A. 



Pool B

  College13 Carleton Syzygy W 500x500   UBC   UGA   UCSB   Northwestern  
  Carleton College
  British Columbia
  California-Santa Barbara



The teams in Pool B have only scarcely gone head-to-head during the regular season, giving way to some exciting and unpredictable possibilities. Carleton, the number one seed in Pool B, is poised to come out on top. Syzygy arrives at Nationals with a solid record that steadily improved throughout the regular season and culminated in a regional championship. Carleton only posted losses to four teams during the regular season and avenged their defeats to Iowa and Iowa State at North Central Regionals. With their whole team injury-free for the first time all spring, Carleton’s athletic squad is looking stronger than ever. 

British Columbia is looking nearly as primed as Carleton, and their commitment to upsetting the pool might allow them to do just that. Although they’ve competed against fewer Nationals-bound teams, the Thunderbirds have lost to only three teams this season. Two of the three, Oregon and Washington, also beat Syzygy with very similar point differentials this season. Friday’s third-round match up between UBC’s fast-paced, high-energy game and Carleton’s fundamentally solid and confident group will likely be one of the tournament’s most exciting early-round games. 




Pool C

  ISU   OSU   Oregon   UCF   Whitman  
  Iowa State
  Ohio State
  Central Florida



Although Iowa State has pulled out the biggest wins and holds the most consistent record in Pool C, there is more parity from top to bottom in the pool than is evident at first glance, and thus plenty of room for big upsets. Woman Scorned saw Ohio State twice at Centex and went 1-1 with very close scores. Virginia, with their unstoppably quick transitions on offense, beat Ohio State significantly early in the season. All three teams possess unique sets of weaponry they will undoubtedly use to their advantage this weekend: Iowa State has across-the-board athleticism and comeback power, Ohio State boasts an experienced 28-person squad, and Virginia has some star handler power and elite coaching. Each of these three top teams has the ability to take the pool, and they are all committed to focusing on one game at a time.

Central Florida and Whitman can’t be overlooked either. Central Florida lost to Ohio State on universe point twice last year during the regular season and are looking forward to playing a close game with them this weekend. And although Whitman has played very few games outside of the Northwest, they gave Oregon and UBC serious runs for their money at Regionals. Keep an eye on Whitman. Who knows what kind of damage they might do in this pool?


Pool D

  Iowa   Tufts   Washington   Texas   Ottawa  


Pool D is undoubtedly this year’s toughest pool and will certainly produce some highly contested, drawn-out games. Iowa is a strong team, and they’re raring to go this year. Saucy Nancy was knocked out of the Championships by Oregon in the quarterfinals each of the last two years, and they’re relying on their versatile defense and offensive dexterity to make it to the semifinals this time around. Tufts is coming off of an impressive third-place finish at the 2012 College Championships and boasts an especially deep roster with plenty of youth and elite experience in 2013. They won’t be easy for Iowa to overcome. Add the defending champion to the mix, and you have complete chaos. Although Washington has struggled with injury this season, Element returned much of their winning 2012 roster this year, a fact that should certainly haunt Iowa and Tufts. Not to mention that Washington only lost by one point to overall one-seed Oregon at Northwest Regionals. Texas and Ottawa can’t be overlooked either. Although key Texas players have been sidelined by injury at different times during the season, their game only improved as the season progressed. 

It will certainly be difficult for Iowa hold seed and emerge as the victor of the pool of death, and it would be close to miraculous if they were to pull off wins against both Tufts and Washington. Expect to see some of the tournament’s most grueling games come from Pool D, and assume no team will emerge with a 4-0 record and clean uniforms. 

Players to Watch

  • Anna Reed / Julia Snyder Combo (Carleton College) - Syzygy’s leading ladies played together at The Northwest School, YCC and two World Junior Ultimate Championships before even hitting college. You can’t get much more cohesive and experienced team leadership than that. Watch for some unparalleled dynamism from the two.
  • Catherine "Chewy" Hui [British Columbia] - This super-speedy Callahan nominee fills almost every role on her team. Not only is she UBC’s leading receiver, Hui also consistently racks up the most Ds and assists.
  • Cassie Swafford [Ohio State] - Swafford led Fever to Nationals last year, and her relentless, perfectly-timed cuts set the tone for the rest of the team.
  • Claudia Tajima [Tufts] - This Callahan nominee is one of the best handlers out there, and her elite expertise and leadership have helped her transform Tufts into a competitive powerhouse.  
  • Sophie Darch [Oregon] - The highly decorated junior is the keystone of Fugue’s offense. Look for her powerful deep throws and aggressive forward momentum.


Washington   Washington - Although it may seem absurd to label the defending champions a dark horse, Washington might be just that. Seeded ninth, Element arrives in Madison with few external expectations and a massive arsenal of skills. Like Oregon, this team knows how to win in high-pressure situations and doesn’t crumble in the face of tough competition. If they can avoid any additional injuries, Washington just might make it to the finals for a second year in a row. 

- The Sweets may hail from a small college (enrollment is only 1,600 students), but they pack a powerful punch. Whitman has faced mostly Northwestern competition this year and seriously challenged their region’s top competitors. They held their own in three match ups against Oregon over the course of the season and lost by only two points to UBC at Northwest Regionals. Watch out for Lillian Bailey and Rachel Reiter, Whitman’s two dominating cutters – they are nicknamed "Bread and Butter" for a reason. 


Inside Look

  • Battle of the Coasts: Many top teams hailing from the West Coast, such as Oregon, Washington and UBC, have yet to see much Midwest/East Coast competition and vice versa. It will be interesting to see how many West Coast teams make it to the semifinals, especially since six of the top eight seeds hail from Midwest or East Coast.
  • Pool D will undoubtedly produce some enormous plays and unexpected upsets. Watch to see the vicious, messy plotlines unfold.
  • Ottawa hasn’t played a single Nationals-bound team this spring, making them a complete unknown. Will they crumble when facing such tough competition, or will they take everyone by surprise?  
  • Among others, Washington’s top player, Sarah Davis, was recently sidelined with an ACL injury. Luckily, Element’s roster is deep enough that it shouldn’t keep them from achieving great things in Madison.