2013 Division III College Championships Preview - Women's

Posted: May 17, 2013 11:27 AM

Women's Scoreboard

Pool Play

Pool A  

Valparaiso is poised to take Pool A, although their close game with Truman State at Chicago Invite shows that they will not go uncontested. This weekend’s forecast calls for 10+ mph winds, which favors Valpo’s tough zone defense. The Chicks Hucking Discs showcase patient zone offense and quick transition offense; for Valpo’s opponents to stay in the game, they will have to find a way to disrupt Erica Wagner, Steph Volz and Kate Guidera’s command of the disc, as well as shut down athletic deep receivers like Rachel Okerstrom and Ellen Guisfredi.

TSUnami’s Erica Sumner leads a relatively young squad this season, but one that has the poise to challenge the top teams at the tournament this weekend. Truman State can play well in wind too and is known as a scrappy team who does not stop playing until the game is done.

Mary Washington and Philadelphia have a challenge ahead of themselves to try to break seed. Neither team has faced any other team in the pool, although both teams played relatively difficult regional tournaments to reach the Championships. Mary Beth Moody leads Mary Massacre again to the 2013 Division III Championships. Philadelphia took second in a particularly difficult Ohio Valley regional at the end of the month. Their more recent competition should bode well for the team who will be looking to take the upset over Mary Massacre in the last round of pool play.

Prediction: Valparaiso (1), Truman State (2), Philadelphia (3), Mary Washington (4)

Pool B  

Bowdoin should take Pool B with their deep roster full of athleticism. Chaos Theory’s Julie Bender may be one of the most complete players in the field of competitors this weekend. Expect her to shine as an assist leader this weekend, despite drawing competitive matchups.

After taking a one-year hiatus from the tournament, Oberlin is back and looking as strong as ever. Kayla Emrick and Margaret Rosano have helped build a very deep team and strong program in their tenure as leaders for Praying Mantis. Emrick and Rosano lead the offensive attack but also have strong support from defenders like Sharon Cross.

St. Benedict might be the best team you’ve never heard of this weekend. The Bad Habits are dynamic and have the most upset potential of all the teams at the Championships. By the end of the weekend, everyone will be very familiar with Erynn Schroeder’s barrage of deep and break throws. But don’t think this is a one-person show: the Bad Habits have an incredible amount of talent and athleticism. Get ready to watch this team upset the competition.

Prediction: Bowdoin (1), St. Benedict (2), Oberlin (3), SUNY-Oneonta (4)

Pool C  

Claremont returns not one, but two, Raneys this season. Catherine and Julia are go-to players on O, with the poised hands to lead the Greenshirts this season. They will surely challenge Eclipse in the game to take the pool. The Greenshirts have challenged California’s best Division I and Division III teams this year and have had some extremely tough and close games in the postseason.

In the last round of the day, we’ll get to see a re-match of last season’s semifinal game between Carleton-Eclipse and Claremont; however, expect this year’s matchup to go to Carleton. Although Claremont edged Carleton for a win at Stanford Open, Eclipse has found its rhythm, going undefeated since March. Eclipse’s dynamic offense has the power to overcome any of the teams in their pool and helped them easily take the North Central Region, despite the cold, wet conditions that prevailed at the regional tournament. One other thing in Eclipse’s favor: fans. Carleton’s fans travel better than nearly every team in the nation, and with the tournament only a few hours away, expect their fans to outnumber everyone else’s.

Swarthmore was the early-season favorite to take the Ohio Valley but qualifies as the third team out of the region. They must take down Bentley if they want to make it to the championship bracket. Bentley has depth, and the ability to fight tooth and nail to the end of the game, as showcased in their come-from-behind win against Smith at Regionals. It will be a battle for the championship bracket between these teams to close out Pool C.

Prediction: Carleton-Eclipse (1), Claremont (2), Bentley (3), Swarthmore (4)

Pool D  

This pool is highly volatile, and the winner is anyone’s guess. Williams has a particularly strong team with a history at the D-III Championships. This team has height, disc skills, and athleticism and is known for a physical style of play. Don’t count out Georgia College just yet, though. Georgia College dominated throughout the entire early spring, before hitting a hurdle in March, but has since picked up the pace. This is a team that is clearly peaking at the right time, based on their performances in their Conference Tournament. Their six-point loss to Georgia (the Division I Regional winner) is an impressive feat. They played the Division I powerhouse closer than Dawgma’s Division I rivals at Regionals. This game will likely go down to the wire.

Elon and Grinnell are particularly strong three and four seeds, respectively. Each team has poise and experience at this tournament. Each team also returns strong veteran players and plays well in the type of weather anticipated in Milwaukee. Expect these games to be close and these bottom teams to challenge the teams at the top. If Elon chooses to play man-to-man in their match up against Grinnell, someone will have to step up in a huge way to shut down Carla Ecklund. Ecklund, who has led the competition at the D-III Championships for two consecutive years in goals scored, is ALWAYS a factor. Grinnell is also known as a particularly strong zone-offense team. So Elon will have to switch up looks and play particularly well on defense to come out on top in this matchup.

Prediction: Williams (1), Elon (2), Grinnell (3), Georgia College (4)

Seven to Watch:

  1. Erynn Schroeder, St. Benedict
  2. Julie Bender, Bowdoin
  3. Claire Baecher, Williams
  4. Ellen Guisfredi, Valparaiso
  5. Kalli Perano, Carleton
  6. Maureen Dougherty, Elon
  7. Kayla Emrick, Oberlin

Games to Watch:

  • 9:00am: Georgia College vs. Grinnell [Pool D, Field 8]

    Georgia College, with a small well-conditioned squad, takes on Grinnell, a team with one of the biggest squads at the tournament. Two different playing styles: which one will reign supreme?
  • 10:45am: Oberlin vs. St. Benedict [Pool B, Field 9]

    The Bad Habits look to upset Praying Mantis to build momentum into the championship bracket. Both teams have standout handlers and athletic receivers to run down impressive hucks in transition.The real question will be: which team can stop the other’s momentum?
  • 1:00pm: Valparaiso vs. Truman State [Pool A, Field 12]

    Valpo and Truman State played a close game the last time they met at the Chicago Invite in March. Since then, the Chicks Hucking Discs have tightened up, only losing to Notre Dame in an unsanctioned event. Will Valpo’s transition deep game overcome TSUnami’s defensive pressure?
  • 2:45pm: Carleton College-Eclipse vs. Claremont [Pool C, Field 8]

    Eclipse, looking to avenge their loss in 2012 semifinals, will try to overcome Claremont in what promises to be an epic battle from start to finish. The two teams met at Stanford Open earlier in the regular season with the Greenshirts taking the win. Expect an epic game that will decide who gets the bye into pre-quarters out of Pool C.

Dark Horses:

  • St. Benedict - The Bad Habits are young, athletic and have yet to play out-of-region games against any Division III competition. In fact, St. Ben’s has yet to show us what they can do in nice weather – playing only in the cold, wet and challenging conditions of the upper Midwest. One thing we do know is that they have enough offensive firepower, diving receivers and great hands to contend with the best this weekend.
  • Georgia College – Lynx Rufus may only roll eight players deep this weekend, but their results this season have been impressive. If they can win big in their games and last through the tough competition this weekend, they have some serious underdog potential. With star player Marissa Hicks recovering from a serious injury, they just might have an added spark to rally behind and take down some teams who might overlook them.

Fun Facts:

  • SUNY-Oneonta qualified for the Division III College Championships in only their second year as a team – quite an impressive feat for a team with only one senior on their roster.

  • Georgia College has the smallest roster in the entire tournament with only eight players.

  • 2012 and 2010 featured a pool-play rematch of the women’s Division III National Championship game.

  • The past three championship games have been decided by 3 points (2010), 2 points (2011) and 1 point (2012). Expect another nail biter this year!

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