2015 D-III College Championships - Women's Division Preview

Posted: May 15, 2015 09:53 PM


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Sixteen teams will have a chance to take home the championship in the fifth year of the D-III College Championships to be held in Rockford, Ill., on May 16-17.

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The Event

We are now in the sixth year of the Division III College Championships, and the competition is stronger than ever. Plenty of familiar faces are back in the field this year – 12 of the 16 teams were also at the 2014 D-III Championships, and only two teams are making their first-ever appearances this year: Luther and Puget Sound. 

With all the experience and athleticism heading to Rockford, it’s sure to be an exciting weekend. 


Pool A

2014CollegeLogos Rice W   2014CollegeLogos   2015CollegeLogos   2015CollegeLogos
  St Olaf
  Wake Forest

For a second consecutive year, Rice Torque headlines the D-III Championships and Pool A as the overall one seed. They put together a strong season and look like frontrunners to win back-to-back titles. With the exception of one early season loss to Truman State, Rice’s only losses came at the hands of Division I teams. They avenged their loss to Truman State later in the year. Their strong schedule over the course of the year should prepare them well for this weekend. Trying to challenge Rice in pool play are St. Olaf, Wake Forest and Luther. In just one year, St. Olaf grew enough to move from the 16 seed at the D-III Championships to the eight spot. They’ve created a mixed bag in their results against fellow D-III Champs qualifiers this year, going 1-2 against St. Benedict, 0-1 against Grinnell and 2-0 against Valparaiso. They’ll need to find and maintain their top-end play if they’re hoping to usurp Rice. Last year’s Wake Forest squad was a pretty even mix of veteran experience and young athletes. With a semifinal finish at the 2014 D-III Championships under their belts, those young athletes gained valuable experience in high-pressure situations. The former D-I contenders defeated Elon to claim the Atlantic Coast’s sole bid to this year’s championships and could be a wild card in Pool A. Luther rounds out the pool and, despite this being their first appearance at the D-III Championships, aren’t unused to tough games. They finished the regular season ranked 14th and emerged with the fourth bid from the packed North Central region and were one point away from defeating perennial contenders Carleton College-Eclipse at North Central Regionals.

Pool B

2014CollegeLogos TrumanState W   2014CollegeLogos Williams W   2014CollegeLogos CarletonCollegeEclipse W   2015CollegeLogos   
Truman State
  Carleton College-



Fifty percent of Pool B is sitting exactly where they were last year at this time, Truman State atop the pool and Carleton College-Eclipse in the third spot and 11th overall. Out of the gate last year, Eclipse shocked Truman State by knocking them out of the pool’s top spot with a 13-6 trouncing. This year, both teams return to the championships with veteran teams; Truman State’s roster includes only two freshmen. Truman State has played a strong season against almost exclusively Division III teams, accumulating only five losses on the year, all of which were close and three of which came against Rice. This is Truman State’s fourth consecutive appearance at the D-III Championships and fifth in the event’s six-year history. They’ll be hoping to top their previous best finish by reaching the semifinals. Normal 11 seeds may not be really intimidating, but Carleton College isn’t a normal 11 seed. They reached the finals last year from the same spot and will hope to seal the deal with a second D-III title this year. Williams and Lehigh complete the pool. Williams is another consistent face at this event and, despite the fact that they’re rebuilding a bit after losing several talented seniors, they can’t be underestimated.  They are 27-3 on the season and are so far undefeated in the postseason. In just their sixth year as a team, Lehigh is still a young team and will have a lot to absorb this weekend.

Pool C

2012CollegeLogo Grinnell W   2015CollegeLogos   2014CollegeLogos   2015CollegeLogos


Teams in Pool C should feel pretty comfortable with their first few games this weekend. It’s the second pool where two of the four teams will arrive in Rockford just as they did in Westerville, Ohio last year. These teams are also all D-III Championships veterans. In addition, the pool has the distinction of including two former D-III champions in the form of Bowdoin (2013) and Claremont (2012) who will face off in the first round of play tomorrow morning. Claremont won that game 12-10 last year. Grinnell leads the pool and is the lone team in a new spot. Despite the strength of their home North Central region, has traveled in search of competition more than most of their competitors this year. The experience against teams with different styles of play could help them during pool play since they are the lone North Central team in Pool C. No matter what happens for them this weekend, they always have a strong chance of claiming the "best team name" title. The pool’s second seed, Claremont, is another team that played quite a few games against D-I competition in 2015 at tournaments like the Stanford Open. Their team and offensive strategy are well-rounded which, if they’re all clicking, could cause problems for their opponents this weekend. Bowdoin won their national championship just two years ago, but this isn’t the same team that claimed hardware in Milwaukee. After a strong showing in pool play last year, they hit a wall during bracket play and ended up finishing tied for 15th. They’ll start the weekend with their same 10 seed, but with another year of championship play under their belts, they’ll be aiming to best last year’s performance. Hamilton made their debut at the D-III Championships last year and left with just one win but with a lot more knowledge. They don’t have a ton of games to their name in 2015 and are therefore still a bit of an unknown. They’ll just be looking to continue building their standing on the national stage in Rockford.

Pool D

2014CollegeLogos   2015CollegeLogos StBenedict W   2015CollegeLogos      2014CollegeLogos
  St Benedict
  Puget Sound
  Georgia College


Valparaiso is making yet another appearance at the D-III Championships and, this time, will start as the overall four seed, atop what could be the most interesting pool. Despite their continued success in reaching the championships, Valparaiso has reached the semifinals three times but hasn’t yet been able to reach the finals. Before they think about bracket play, though, they’ll need to focus on St. Benedict. The Rapture ladies, recently rebranded from the Bad Habits, qualified in the second spot out of the tough North Central Region. Their record is a bit of a mixed bag, 12-6 on the season with a handful of wins and a handful of losses against solid D-III competition. They have defeats of St. Olaf, Carleton College and Luther, but losses to Grinnell, Truman State and also St. Olaf. The one time they played Valparaiso, in late March, Valpo came out on top in a close one, 13-11. The pool’s three seed, Puget Sound, is the second team making their debut at the D-III Championships. They are 13-4 on the season but haven’t seen much truly high-level competition or many teams outside their region. They breezed through Northwest Conferences, but it will be interesting to see how they match up with all the D-III stalwarts that make up this year’s nationals field. Georgia College is known for typically having a small but athletic team. They have a tough go of finding at-level competition during the year with the current lack of Division III participation in the Southeast, but they are steadfast in their commitment to bettering themselves as a team and have qualified for the D-III Championships every year. They won two games in 2014 and finished the weekend tied for 11th. True to form, they’ll try to improve those results this weekend.

Games to Watch

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Truman State v. Carleton College Eclipse – Saturday, May 16, 9:00am

This might seem like a bad dream for Truman State. Two year in a row, they’ve earned the overall two seed, and two years in a row they’ve had to face Carleton College in the first round of the weekend. Last year, Carleton College upset the pool’s top seed 13-6 en route to an undefeated day. Truman State will be hoping to rewrite the script this year.

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Claremont v. Bowdoin – Saturday, May 16, 10:45am

Battles of former national champions are always fun. That this exact game also happened last year makes it even more exciting. Both teams are back with more experienced teams after facing each other with largely young squads in 2014. Claremont won the match up last year 12-10.

2014CollegeLogos 2015CollegeLogos StBenedict W  

Valparaiso v. St. Benedict – Saturday, May 16, 1:00pm

The classic four seed v. five seed battle. The winner will likely finish the day atop Pool D and earn themselves a bye into the quarterfinals. With their one match up on the season a 13-11 game in favor of Valparaiso, these teams are evenly matched, and they’ll have a lot of incentive to tally a win in the last round of pool play.

Fast Facts

  • Twelve of this year’s teams were also at the 2014 Division III Championships

  • Only two teams are making their debut appearances at the D-III Championships this year.

  • Four of the five previous D-III champions are included in the competition field this year.

  • The North Central leads all regions with five teams at this year’s event. 


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