This past weekend, Clemson, South Carolina played host to a group of teams all excited to get into the warm weather and test their confidence going into the Spring season. With cold mornings quickly giving way to sunny 60+ degree weather with light intermittent winds, it was a perfect good testing ground for the attendees.
Saturday’s Pool Play went mostly to seed, with Carleton Eclipse taking Pool A with an undefeated and mostly unchallenged day. They were followed by Georgtown, South Carolina, and Richmond. Pool B also fell mostly to seed, with Virginia Hydra winning all of their games comfortably, save a 9-8 over Georgia Tech Wreck. Wreck would finish second, with all of their wins by well sized margins, followed by Tennessee and Virginia Tech.
Sunday’s brackets would bring some exciting first round action, with some very tight games and good competition. While Virginia continued to cruise with a 13-4 win over Richmond, Georgia Tech would have a fight on their hands with South Carolina’s Scorch and their leader, Jenn Abbott, but would prevail 13-9. Meanwhile, Georgetown gave up an early lead to Tennessee Screw, who had a disappointing Saturday. Notable was Screw’s #15 Hallie King, who asserted herself in the air early on. “She was a great cutter and a big presence on the field,” commented Georgetown Captain Alisha Kramer, pointing to Georgetown miscues and Tennessee’s efficiency as causes for a 10-9 loss. Tennessee wasn’t the only team looking for an upset, with the host team, Clemson Tiger Lillies, looking to put away undefeated Carleton. Down 12-9, the ladies from Minnesota showed grit on D and discipline on offense to close the gap and tie the game at 13s. #2 Katherine Richardson decided to take over defensively, getting a couple of huge Ds for Eclipse en route to a 15-13 comeback victory.
The Semis fell in stark contrast to the exciting round one games, with Georgia Tech rolling through a tired Carleton squad 13-5 and Virginia effortlessly putting away Tennessee 13-1.
The Finals would pit contrasting styles against one another with Virginia Hydra versus Georgia Tech Wreck, a rematch of Virginia’s only close game so far. Virginia relied on, as Coach James Burk put it, “strong handler play, making good decisions, and protecting the disc,” primarily through handlers #21 Maggie John and #12 Devon “Devo” Erickson controlling the flow of their Horizontal Stack. They also threw both 4-man cup and 1-3-3 looks, each with transitions to confuse opponents. Georgia Tech utilized the incredible throwing prowess of #16 Leah Tsinajinnie and a bevy of athletic cutters to produce huck scores, and hard man D to produce short field turnovers. Wreck drew first blood after a Tsinajinnie huck put them just outside the endzone, but Hydra responded behind John’s fiery play O and D to reel off three in a row. The Atlanta squad would close the gap to 5-4, but Virginia would pull away, and continue to respond to every Georgia Tech run on the way to a 15-11 tournament victory.
“It was a great way to jump right into the season and see some good competition,” stated an excited Shannon McVey of Virginia. An undefeated weekend where they were challenged by only one team certainly is a great start and could vault Virginia into the conversation in their new region.