2014 HS Central Championships - Girls Saturday Recap

Posted: May 17, 2014 11:38 PM
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Ultimate teams from across the Midwest gathered in Ames, Iowa, today to kick off the first day of the 2014 High School Central Championships. With playing fields located right across the street from Iowa State University’s Jack Trice football stadium, spectators were able to experience the full college-town feel of Ames.

The first game started at 9 a.m., and the weather only improved as the day went on; sunny and mid-60s, which was surely appreciated! Players, coaches and fans alike were excited for an ‘ultimate-filled’ weekend. The following are some highlights from the first day.


Round 1

While Pool B enjoyed a bye, all four teams playing in Pool A worked hard, with both games ending in one-point victories.

A4 St. Paul Charter v. A5 James Madison Memorial: 7-6

Madison was not afraid to put up big hucks and play defense if they didn’t come down with it. St. Paul preferred a more patient, swinging offense that made good use of horizontal space and included contributions from all seven players. The Stars’ stifling defense may have played a role in Madison Memorial’s hucking strategy, as stall counts were often pushed up high. In the end, the St. Paul Charter Stars held seed, edging out Madison Memorial.

A2 Hopkins v. A3 Cathedral: 7-8

Two closely matched teams with an exciting finish: down 6 – 7, Hopkins had a great grab by Claire Smart to tie it up in hard cap. With the game tied at 7s on double-game point, Cathedral confidently moved the disc down the field and found the end zone, despite tight defense by Hopkins, for the only upset of the first round (boys or girls). Cathedral used swings and lots of handler movement to overcome Hopkins’ shut-down cutter defense. Hopkins worked the disc using a lots up-line cuts and flick hucks. Claire Smart was a big part of Hopkins’ game, reading the disc well and using great field awareness to clean up loose discs on offense and defense.

Round 2

A1 Holy Family Catholic v. A3 Cathedral: 11-1

The final score doesn’t reflect the energy and defensive tenacity of Cathedral. They put a lot of pressure on Omega’s cutters and either got a finger on or just missed many discs. Particularly, Anne Johnson who never let a dump go unguarded. However, Omega’s fast breaks and solid fundamentals won the most points. Kjersti Fry often initiated from the dead disc, leaving her defender in the dust.

A2 Hopkins v. A4 St. Paul Charter: 8-5

Again, Hopkins’ tight defense created high stall counts and forced the Stars to huck. Karah Vue Benson’s bids on offense kept throws alive for the Stars, and her solid defense created opportunities. Once again, Claire Smart took control of the game for HErt, generating offense with intensity and tireless cutting, while pulling down the hucks on defense. Charter kept it close, but Hopkins prevailed.

B1 Neuqua Valley v. B3 Minneapolis South: 11-6

Neuqua Valley played with polish and made hard, sharp cuts to open up the offense. However, scrappy play by South throughout the game kept the NV girls working for every point. Sophomore Lauren Weil used her speed for NV to be wide open on cuts and clean up on defense. Mary Sullivan was central to the handling, looking for deep flick hucks whenever she could. South impressed with their team unity, defensive pressure and passion – even scoring the last point of the game in hard cap. 

B2 Minneapolis Southwest v. B4 Armstrong: 3-10

Both teams opted for zone defenses, despite the lack of significant wind. Armstrong appeared to have stronger, more experienced throwers, but Southwest held their own early in the game with some great grabs. Hannah Cowan anchored Armstrong’s zone deep, dominating everything that came her way.  Hailey Weber’s popping was key in Armstrong breaking Southwest’s zone.

Round 3

A1 Holy Family Catholic v. A5 James Madison Memorial: 12-2

Holy Family Catholic continued to impress with their fundamental skills, including throwing, cutting and defensive positioning. And they are great athletes to boot! Even their turnovers were pretty – good mechanics, but just off their target or a rare receiving miscue. Katherine Fry’s cutting and offensive creativity stood out. Memorial did not play poorly but appeared less experienced in all aspects of the game.

A3 Catholic v A4 St. Paul Charter: 7-5

Cathedral’s Anne Johnson again dominated the game with both her forehand and backhand hucks, with Kelsey Kuhlman a frequent target. St. Paul’s athleticism kept them in the game, pulling down the 50/50 discs and Hail Mary throws more often than not. Lillian Cregan put up a number of hucks for the Stars.

B1 Neuqua Valley v B4 Armstrong: 6-5

This was a game of defensive prowess. Neuqua Valley generally dominated the air and locked down the cutters while Armstrong’s zone, particularly their tight cup, gave Neuqua Valley fits. Armstrong had a second, junk zone they pulled out later in the game that was similarly effective. Armstrong tied it the score at 5-5 during hard cap to bring it to double-game point, and while it could have gone either way, Neuqua Valley clinched the win on a misread disc.

B2 Minneapolis Southwest v B3 Minneapolis South: 8-5

Despite a smaller roster, Southwest played a fast offense and a tight zone. South Squall’s Lydia Detweiler generated a lot of offense with good use of space on her cuts, throws and breaks.

Round 4

A1 Holy Family Catholic v. A4 St. Paul Charter: 11-2

While St. Paul didn’t fare much better than previous teams, they stayed positive and worked hard throughout the game. Both goals for St. Paul were passes from Grace Backes to Maura McDaniel. Omega took care of business quickly, proving very efficient and minimizing turnovers. Rachel Monnin created a number of their scoring opportunities, D’ing up anything that came her way. Ellie Fishlock filled up both the assist and scoring columns.

A2 Hopkins v A5 James Madison Memorial: 9-6

Memorial drew first blood, scoring quickly and continuing to push the pace throughout the game. They hucked again and again, with Maddy Green frequently finding a way to make them work with her speed and layouts. Hopkins preferred to use up-line strike cuts, often working the disc through Lilly Shapiro.

Round 5

A1 Holy Family Catholic v A2 Hopkins: 11-3

The number two seed didn’t score many more points than most other teams against the Omega girls.  While Hopkins had better defensive positioning compared to lower seeds, Holy Family really showed their speed and athleticism in this game. They continued to spread the disc around with the entire team contributing. They also looked fresher than their opponent, most likely because of their shorter early rounds. Hopkins’ Becca Steinman showed her tenacity and grit through her defense and bidding. 

A3 Cathedral v A5 James Madison Memorial: 8-5

Anne Johnson is a name you’ll be hearing a lot in the next few years. Sticky defense, BIG hucks and really good hands. Maybe she learned it from Cami Nelson? Memorial still looked eager to run, putting up hucks and bringing them down in the crowds, but Cathedral’s sharper, more patient game won out.

B1 Neuqua Valley v B2 Minneapolis Southwest: 8-7

Southwest’s zone really gave Neuqua Valley trouble to start, but things looked under control until Southwest scored two in a row to tie the game during hard cap, meaning double-game point. Both the point to tie the game and universe were long points, with tight defense and well-placed but risky hucks by both teams. NV’s Kelly Crowley had at least eight Ds, and the offense often ran through her with pretty, if not always well-timed, hucks. Stephany Stumphauzer looked like it was the first game of the day, cutting tirelessly and being everywhere on defense. There was a lot of gasping during the last two points, with big hucks, big grabs and big defense. NV closed out another double-game point win to secure the top spot in the pool.

B3 Minneapolis South v. B4 Armstrong: 9-7

After Armstrong’s first two games, upsetting the two seed and giving the one seed a run for their money, South not only stuck with them, but their similar quick-throwing, tight-defensive style put them ahead. Squall’s Carly Eckstrom cut deep again and again, and her match-up against Ellie Sjordal was a fun one to watch.


Overall, the games on the women’s side, with the distinct exception of those against Holy Family Catholic, were tight, and with no exceptions were well-spirited and energetic. The A pool had one upset in the A2 v. A3 game, while the B pool was a bit more exciting, with a three-way tie for second. Using point differential, it ended up Armstrong B2, South B3, Southwest B4.

Sunday Outlook

Championship Bracket

Holy Family Catholic and Neuqua Valley have first-round byes, while Armstrong will face off against Hopkins, and Cathedral will match up against Minneapolis South. The girls’ division has been fairly close, so these should be some good semifinal play-in games!

7-9 Round Robin

Southwest received the last spot after a second-place, B-pool tiebreaker, which means they will want to prove themselves on Sunday. St. Paul and Memorial are both athletic teams that like to huck, so we’ll see what Southwest can do against them.

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