2014 Central Championships Preview – Girls

Posted: May 16, 2014 01:08 PM

This will be the largest field of girls’ teams High School Centrals has seen, with nine teams representing four states. This is a Minnesota-heavy tournament, and while only four teams were at Centrals last year, all but Minneapolis Southwest attended in either 2012 or 2013. Will anyone be able to topple Holy Family Catholic, the two-time returning champion? A common theme among all the teams is a strong focus on Spirit of the Game. This, coupled with all the experienced programs and some lovely weather, is sure to make for a great weekend of both playing and spectating.

Pool A

HolyFamilyCatholic G


Holy Family Catholic Omega - Ohio

The reigning champion, Omega has had only two losses this season, both at Paideia Cup. They dominate most teams, allowing opponents an average of fewer than four points per game. They have faced Memorial once and Neuqua Valley twice, triumphing each time. With only two seniors graduating last year, look for them to relentlessly dominate the competition. Players to watch: tireless workhorse Kjersti Fry and difficult match-up Rachel Monnin.


2012YouthLogos Hopkins O


Hopkins HERt – Minnesota

While uncharacteristically placing fifth at last year’s Centrals, this team is typically a tournament semifinalist and finalist. The opportunity to play Holy Family Catholic on Saturday before elimination rounds may work in Hopkins’ favor, as few out-of-state teams have faced off this year. And this is a chance to see what they’ll be up against if they make it to the finals. Hopkins returns their four core handlers, and their intense defense and fast-break style centers on these handlers finding quick and easy opportunities to score. Of particular note, look for Mickela Heilicher and Lilly Shapiro to create space with their throws.


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Cathedral Phoenix - Minnesota

With a history nearly two decades long, this is one of the longest-running teams at the tournament. They are one of four teams returning to Centrals after finishing fourth last year, but having the distinction of scoring the most points on Holy Family Catholic (5). This has been a rebuilding year for the Phoenix with nearly half the roster comprised of first-year players, but a deep sense of unity and senior captain Annie Johnson’s strong leadership, not to mention her hucks, are partly why Cathedral has a shot at breaking seed and challenging the perennial powerhouses ranked above them. Look for many of her throws to go to fellow captain Carmen Ebel and seventh-grader Antonia Baynes.

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Charter Stars (Great Rivers School) – Minnesota

While they missed last year’s Centrals, the Stars had a strong showing in 2012, falling in the finals to Holy Family Catholic. They graduated six-year player and leader Tess Garvey as well as other key players and haven’t had much opportunity to play outdoors so far this year. Keep your cameras poised for Karah Vue Benson’s layouts, Lilly Cregan’s execution in the air, and Isabel Olson’s lefty flick.

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James Madison Memorial Spartans- Wisconsin

As the first high school girls’ team in Wisconsin, this is another established program with a strong history of success, particularly in their home state. They pride themselves on having won spirit awards and the hearts of opponents across the nation with their positive attitude, enthusiasm for the game and spontaneous dance parties. They will be doing their best to make Wisconsin proud!


Pool B

2014HSLogos NeuquaValley G B


Neuqua Valley NV Ultimate – Illinois

Last year’s runner-up, NV Ultimate had very little turnover in terms of numbers, only three seniors, but one of those was Joline Chang, a Junior Worlds tryout invitee. This weekend will also be played without senior captain Maggie Kennedy, who will be going through her graduation ceremony. Look for junior captain Kelly Crowley to set the tone and flow of the offense and newcomer Mary Sullivan to make exciting, crafty plays on defense. They have lost two games to Holy Family Catholic, one a rare one-point game. They are looking forward to taking care of business on Saturday, so they can have a re-match in the finals.

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Southwest MÜS (Moose Ultimate Southwest) – Minnesota

This lone newcomer to girls’ Centrals earned their number three seed by virtue of their number one rank in the tough Minnesota Youth Ultimate League, which includes Armstrong, St. Paul Charter and Hopkins. They have a small roster, made up almost evenly of seniors and freshmen, with a lone sophomore rounding out the squad. It will be interesting to see how their small roster and the longer tournament schedule affects their success.

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South Squall – Minnesota

When 15 players graduate as they did from the Squall last year, you expect a rebuilding year, but younger players have stepped up to create another competitive team. In terms of Minnesota ultimate, this is a fairly new team, but it’s still almost 10 years old. They have less out-of-state experience than some other teams, but have held their own against the other Minnesota squads, which is a pretty good testing ground! They have a formidable handling pair in sisters Lydia and Annika Detweiler that is fun to watch; they often seem to read each other’s minds. Junior Carly Siewert moved from handler to cutter when she made the switch from JV to Varsity, and her disc skills make her a throwing threat as well as a receiver.

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Armstrong Ultimate – Minnesota

In their seventh year as a team, AU Gold continue to improve, playing close in league play to higher seeds St. Paul Charter, Cathedral and Minneapolis South. They lost their cornerstones of handling, cutting and defense, but plan on making some noise with Sarah "Thunder" Coryell and her counterpart Meghan "Lightning" Hayden. Like most of the Minnesota teams, they are hungry to avenge some losses against in-state rivals and prove themselves against the out-of-state teams.


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