DIII Championships Quotes/Results

by | June 9, 2011, 10:28am 0

USAU’s DIII Nationals was a hit, hands down.  Despite the ambiguity and uncertainty in the week leading up to it, due to constant rain in Buffalo, the organizers were able to bring it all together and give us a wonderful weekend.  The fields, despite having the original and back up fields back out because of the rain; the fields we ended up at were very nice.  It was great to have observers there, an opportunity that DIII teams don’t often get.

The tournament amenities added to the experience.  FiveUltimate, the official merchandise partner, had some pretty sweet swag.  Spin and VC were also present.  On Saturday, players were given a barbeque dinner, that we ate in or around a tent, as a bluegrass band played.  The atmosphere was great, everyone was happy to be there.

Here are a few questions I sent into the captains at Claremont, North Park, St. John’s and Wake Forrest, before DIII Nationals.


Can you give a quick summary of the season leading up to Nationals? Any big accomplishments or failures to mention…

North Park – Our first tournament where we had our complete A-team for both days will be Nationals.  We have played okay all year, but were not able to win a championship bracket game until regionals.  The team is finally learning how every person plays, and we believe if we play our game, we will be tough to beat.

St. Johns – BAM started the season strong with a 2nd place finish at High Tide, in Brunswick, GA. We performed well, and beat a number of division one schools including NYU and Rutgers, only to lose to fellow Minnesota rival, Minnesota-Duluth in the championship game. We followed that performance with a 6th place finish at the Chicago Invite, including a tough 10-12 loss to then #20 Michigan State in the quarterfinals.BAM’s college series began with a 2nd place finish at the Northwoods DIII Conference Tournament, including a big 11-4 win over last years DIII national champion Carleton College-GOP. Following a weather delay that forced the DIII North Central Regional back a week, St. John’s won the North Central region for the first time, defeating Beloit and Grinnell handily..

Wake Forest – With only four seniors and two juniors, WOMB has been a pretty young team this year.  Typically, inexperience shows itself through little preventable mistakes.  This is something we definitely saw during the fall.  However, WOMB has committed a lot of time to practicing and conditioning.  Our plan was to “practice the mistakes out” of our game by having a disc in our hands as often as possible this year.  During the spring, we really started to click, starting with a 4-0 performance on Saturday of Queen City.  This sparked a certain momentum that we carried through the semester and into Sectionals and Regionals, as WOMB emerged undefeated in both tournaments.  We hope to carry this momentum into D-III Nationals this weekend.


Where do you think you stand in the group? Are you surprised with your seeding? Satisfied?

Claremont – I think we are the best team at the tournament, but not by as much as our rankings indicate. This will be by far our most competitive tournament, so we certainly have to step up our play. We are seeded first, which is not surprising.

North Park – The 6th seed we have received seems about right to me.  I believe we have the talent level to be one of the top four teams, but because of our regular season results, 6 seems right.

St. John’s – We expect to be the 2nd seed at d3 nationals. By the time this comes out, the seedings may very well be released, and if we aren’t the 2 seed were might look pretty stupid

Wake Forest – WOMB is ranked right in the middle of the pack at this point (7 seed).  Because the only team we have seen is GCSU (and that was one game at Southerns), it is hard to complain about the seeding.  Our approach to every game at D-III Nationals will be the same; put on the blinders on and take it one point at a time.  We hope to surprise as many teams as possible this weekend, and go unsurprised ourselves.


Who do you see as the biggest competition?

Claremont – Unfortunately, it is very hard for us to know how good the other teams are because we have never played them, or seen them play. However, simply based on ranking, we think our best games will be against St. John’s and Harding

North Park – Our biggest competition will be ourselves.  We can’t worry about what other teams are doing, and as I said before, we have the mindset we can beat anyone if we play our game.

St. John’s – We see Claremont as our biggest competition, and thus the team we are most excited to play. They have had a remarkable season and deserve the #1 ranking. There are plenty of other quality teams at D3’s, however, including North Park, Lewis & Clark, and Wake Forest.


Who are you most excited to play?

Claremont – We’re excited to play Occidental. We’ve played them a lot, but we usually have a good game against them.

North Park – We are most excited to play Harding and Claremont.  We played Harding earlier in the year with a split squad, and had a halftime lead, but lost to them, so a rematch would be fun. As for Claremont, we have heard good things about them and it would be fun to play the 1 seed.

Wake Forest – We’d love to play against Claremont and St. Johns so we can try to topple the number 1 and number 2 seeds.


Have you faced any of the teams this year? How did you do?

Claremont – The only two D-III nationals teams we have faced are Occidental, and Lewis & Clark. We are 4-0 against Occidental, so that is a comfortable match-up for us. We also beat Lewis & Clark 13-4 at Trouble in Vegas, but they were particularly tired that game, having just played to universe point against Air Force. We expect them to come out much better than how they played in Vegas. They are definitely a team to watch.

North Park – Harding(loss), Truman St(win), started playing Missouri S&T(tied 1-1)

St. John’s – Throughout the season, we beat Truman State, Grinnell, and Connecticut College. We also lost to Missouri S & T, at a windy Chicago Invite.

Wake Forest – The only team we have faced in the field this year is GCSU.  We played them at Southerns in March in a game that went to cap.  We were leading for most of the game however we unfortunately let it slip away in the second half.  We ended up losing 13-10 with a few key errors in the closing points.


Do you think any team will surprise the group?

Claremont – Again, I haven’t seen any of these teams play, but I am fairly confident that at least one team will surprise the group. There is so little inter-region play, so it is so hard to know how good all these teams are. I’m sure there will be at least one time that is much better than their seedings indicate.

North Park – I don’t know enough about all the teams, but Missouri S&T always plays strong on Sat, and if they can keep that up till Sunday they may turn some heads.

St. John’s – Watch out for Grinnell! Their handlers are deceptively quick, using quick throws to their main cutter, #11. Also, not to sound cliché, but Saint John’s is definitely a team to watch out for. With the strong play of #6 Chris Battista and #8 Matt Kortz, SJU is a real threat to win the whole shebang.

Wake Forest – I honestly think that we will put up a bigger fight than some people would expect. We’ve played like a completely different team at the Conference Championships and Regionals and it’s definitely showed through our scores. We haven’t had the chance to play any of the other teams this season except for Georgia College and State, who will also play tough games against the higher up teams.


Anything else?

Wake Forest – We would like to thank USA Ultimate for putting this together. We’re incredibly excited to be given this opportunity and hope to continue our success next season.


Claremont – The Braineaters went into the weekend with the target on their back’s.  Everyone who faced them knew the Brains were the favorite, and everyone wanted to be the team to take them down.  A few teams even came close.  But in the end, Claremont was able to finish the weekend undefeated and take home the gold medals.

There road their was by no means a breeze though.  On Saturday, the Braineaters took care of business and won their pool outright.  I was able to watch a few points of the 1-2 match of the pool when Claremont played Truman State.  While their were turnovers happening from both teams, it was clear that in the long picture that Claremont was going to hold seed for the day.

On Sunday, the Braineaters were able to sleep in while the pre-quarter matches were underway.

They were to face Harding, who were originally the 3rd seed overall, but had suffered some big upsets against Grinnell and Harding on Saturday to fall to 3rd in their pool.  Harding was coming off the much-needed win over Wake Forest, and seemed ready to topple the number 1 seed.  Harding came out strong, surprising the Braineaters with their deep game.  They went up early in the game, and held the lead for most of it.  If their was anything that kept Harding from doing really well this weekend, it was depth, they seemed to get tired, fast.  Claremont, who had been trailing all game, was able to take the lead at 11-10 after a few breaks in a row.  Harding, found a little energy in the reserves to take back the lead one more time, but once soft cap cam on Claremont put the game away.

The semi-finals put the Braineaters up against Missouri S&T.  This game was in the hands of Claremont early, and they were able to keep Miner Threat from making any big comebacks.  Brains won the game, with a decisive 15-9 and advanced to the finals against St. John’s.


North Park – The Lost Boys came into the weekend knowing that their biggest opponent was themselves.  Many times this season, they had come out cold in a game, found themselves in a hole against a team they knew they should be beating and had to fight back for a last minute win, or attempt to win.  This weekend was no different.  In their opening game against Grinnell, the Lost Boys gave up a few early breaks and lost the half 6-8.  The Lost Boys started to mount a comeback late in the game when they were down 7-10, brought it to 10s, then universe point at 11s.  North Park pulled the disc on universe, and was able to get a quick turnover, close to Grinnell’s end zone.  The Lost Boys were not able to keep it together.  It was chaotic. Every cutter, clearly wanted the disc, but were cutting each other off at every opportunity.  Eventually, the handlers tried to finish things with a strike cut in the corner, but a floaty throw was eaten up by the defense.  Grinnell, nearly gave the Lost Boys the win with a turnover 15 yards out of their own endzone, but on their second trip to the redzone on universe, the Lost Boys were still not showing discipline, and Grinnell was able to get a hand block. They then hucked the disc into the endzone, where a Lost Boy Defender got tripped up on his opponents heels, and came down with the win.  The Lost Boy’s finished off their Saturday with wins over Occidental and Harding.

Sunday for the Lost Boys was very similar to the game against Grinnell.  First they saw Bentley, and as is normal, let them have a few breaks early.  The Lost Boys traded points in the middle of the game, then at 7-10, game to 11, decided to make a comeback.  Then the game got chippy, North Park in a frenzy to get enough points before hardcap and Bentley frustrated that they were giving up these offensive points, spirit scores were low.  North Park managed to force universe once again, the pulled, got a quick turn over, turned it over themselves, and it seemed like Bentley was gonna steal the win, when they dropped the disc in the endzone after a bid.  North Park took care of the disc a bit better this time, worked it down the field, and Junior Grant Blankenship saw fellow Junior Chris Burlet streaking into the endzone, and put up the backhand huck for the win.

North Park then went on to face Missouri S&T in the quarters, they came out much the same way, gave up a few early breaks.  This time they were able to get them back, but turned around and returned the favor right back.  The Lost Boys were in a whole late in the game, and once again tried to find that comeback magic, but were ultimately denied.  They dropped into the 5th place consolation game, were they beat Harding once again, to claim the 5th place tie.


St. John’s – The Bad Ass Monks were able to handle their opponents decisively on Saturday, winning all of their games by at least a margin of 3.  It wasn’t until Sunday that St. John’s was really tested.

There opening match on Sunday was against Georgia College & State, who had their only two losses on Saturday on universe point, first against Connecticut College, then against Missouri S&T.  I wasn’t able to catch any of this game, which turned out to be a shame because Georgia College & State managed to stage a comeback and force their 3rd universe point in 5 games.  St. John’s would show them yet another loss in this situation, and advanced to the semi’s against Grinnell.

Grinnell had proven to be a tough opponent all weekend, breaking seed to win their pool on Saturday, and then beating out Truman State to advance to the semi’s.  Grinnell put up a big fight early in the game, breaking to go up 2-0.  They held the lead for a short while, but ultimately BAM was able to bring it back and take the lead, and put the game away.  They moved on to face Claremont in the final.


Wake Forest – WOMB was able to hold their seed on Saturday after dominating Lehigh, and warding off a tough Bentley, who they beat 11-10.  They then faced #2 overall, St. John’s, but were unable to pull off the upset.

On Sunday, WOMB faced off against Harding in the pre-quarters, an unfortunate draw against a strong team hoping to bounce back after a disappointing Saturday.  Harding was able to take the lead in the first half, and maintain it for the remainder of the game.  WOMB lost 9-11 and dropped into the 9th place consolation games.  There they were able to be the very small squad of Connecticut, and go home with a 9th place tie.

Photo by Daniel Bobrowsky

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