This year’s Midwest Throwdown brought together 30 women’s teams in St. Louis, Missouri on March 1st to celebrate the power and competitive spirit of this region’s ultimate community. In light of the recent Carleton tragedy, Sunday games were cancelled to ensure the safe travel of teams out of the St. Louis area due to an incoming snowstorm. Despite the miserable temperature, several women’s teams opted to get more playing time out of the weekend by adding an extra game at the end of Saturday against a randomly selected team with a similar record. You can see those results, as well as the whole tournament’s scores on Scorereporter at http://scorereport.net/2014/college-womens/event14419.
Here’s a recap of what went down for the D-III women’s teams who gave it their all at this year’s Midwest Throwdown.
Truman State “TSUnami” (3-0)
This year’s TSUnami squad has a deep line, with many leading players raising the bar in each of the day’s match-ups. Juniors Stephanie Sherman and Juli Dworak upped the ante by making tough bids for catches and Jessica Zilch didn’t let the wind get to her precise execution of quick inside looks and strategic longs. In Truman State’s game against the Nebraska Cuddle Raptors the team shelled out their solid zone defense and forced many a Nebraska turnover at the endzone line. After going undefeated here at Throwdown, TSUnami’s final spring tournament will be at the Chicago Invite at the end of March. Tune in then, if you can, because it will be interesting to see what (if any) style of team can scrounge out a win against the deliberate style of ultimate this talented team executes.
Harding “Sky Bisons” (3-0)
This tournament has reintroduced this year’s Harding squad as a force to be reckoned with. If they choose the D-III route, with both Rice and Truman State sharing the South Central Region, SC could be the site of a major showdown this spring. The Sky Bisons broke seed three teams over, easily going undefeated during the first and only day of competition at Midwest Throwdown. Only the pool’s first seed, Claremont, was able to put up 7 points against the Bisons. After this performance and their fourth place showing at Big D in Little D, it is clear that this year’s Harding team has consistency, reliability and the potential to go all the way.
Claremont “Greenshirts” (2-2)
If you ever want to find the Claremont Greenshirts at a tournament, you only need to follow the sound of energetic, sideline cheers and focused one-on-one coaching. This tournament the Greenshirts were missing the onfield talents of captain Tasha Arvanitis, but in her place soared Marianna Heckendorn’s beautiful hucks, Nicole Yu’s aggressive D, and Neha Vaingankar’s consistent performance in the endzone. Claremont started out the day with a hard match-up against Harding but then hit their stride as they shut down both Wisconsin Stevens Point “Shockwave” and Minnesota-B. After news of Sunday’s cancellation, the Greenshirts opted to continue to brave the cold for an extra game against Colorado State where they began trading points with CSU but ended up calling the game at 6 – 2 for Colorado State.
Valparaiso “Chicks Hucking Discs” (2-1)
Valparaiso arrived at the tournament and stormed the field with a largely rookie line in their first game against Drake “iBex.” During this evenly matched game, CHD’s small and young squad at this tournament struggled to complete in the endzone and make accurate connections through the cold and wind. However, at the end of the game Valpo had two critical three-point runs to take the game. Some notable Valpo attributes are found in their sure-handed leaders Teryn Gehred and Erin Watkins, Ellen Guisfredi’s unstoppable break looks, and 5’10” receiver Carly Crave’s reliable endzone catches.
Drake “iBex” (0-3)
As was said earlier, Drake put up a seriously scrappy game against Valparaiso in their first match-up of Saturday. For the first half of the game, iBex was dominating on defense, with speedy Heist player Lauren Perucco beating her girl to the disc time and time again. Ibex rookie Cassie Doody also had the chance to step up in big ways during the Valpo game, scoring three of Drake’s eight points and making at least three big defensive plays. After a few more weeks of training, Drake could be a source of future upsets and surprises both in Chicago and at the North Central Conference Championships. Watch for a potential Drake v. Valparaiso rematch when the Chicago Invite announces their pool play schedule.
Bradley “Darkside” (0-3)
A relatively new team, Bradley’s squad “Darkside” met some tough competition in Pool F on Saturday in St. Louis. The third seed Dayton completely upset the pool and ended Saturday undefeated, but it is notable that Bradley’s smaller program was able to put up four points against this Ohio Valley powerhouse as well as hold them from point cap of 15. Hailing from the GL Region, watch for them at CC’s alongside Valparaiso.
Dream Match-Up: Truman State v. Claremont
Unfortunately, these two teams are not planning to attend any more of the same tournaments this pre-season, but we’re crossing our fingers that we’ll get to witness this match-up in Westerville, OH at the 2014 D-III Championships. Both TSUnami and The Greenshirts thrive off of a fast-paced, athletic game and have a roster full of power players willing to bid, run a variety of defensive plays and huck from endzone to endzone.
TSUnami’s Stephanie Sherman played hard this weekend in St. Louis, and helped lead her team to end the tournament with a perfect 3 – 0 record. She scored a large amount of TSU’s points, made some sick bids and utilized her dead-on field sense to attack the disc with utter ferocity. Congratulations Stephanie, great playing this weekend!