Presidents Day Invite: 2012 Women’s Preview

by | February 16, 2012, 12:35am 0

This weekend, teams from across the country will trek to sunny San Diego to compete in another one of the season’s major tournaments: Presidents Day Invite. This three day tournament pits the best of the west coast against not only each other, but strong competition from the likes of Michigan and Wisconsin.

The Wild Wild Southwest

Sonoma State is back, and finally given the opportunity to face off against out of region teams. You can bet we’ll be keeping a close watch on them. They’ve been spending their time not only practicing, but playing high level scrimmages against women’s club team members. With a college team facing off against such skill, they’re bound to have improved since the last time they played, taking the gold at Santa Barbara Invite. Sonoma vs. Michigan finals, anyone?

UCLA is going to have their work cut out for them this weekend. Pool D looks rough, with fifth seed Santa Barbara to compete with, and the currently undefeated Texas Melee in the mix. If the Burning Skirts are on, they could easily take this pool and find themselves in semis. Either UCLA or SB has a shot at that same route – Saturday’s last round will determine a lot for the rest of either of their weekends.

Of course, lots of other Southwest teams will be representing this weekend. We’ve got SBI third place finisher Cal in pool A, where they’ll face off against FlyWheel – expect a great game there. That pool also includes San Diego State, who will probably not make it to the top tier in this tournament but have a great time wreaking havoc on their way to the ninals. Pool B has Davis, who took fifth place at SBI. This is the Pleiades’ chance to show up big for the Southwest – a win over Washington in pool play will help boost their confidence into perhaps proving the case for a fourth bid for the Southwest region. We also have the Qualifier winners, Claremont, seeded 20, reppin’ as the only D3 school throughout this tournament. I think they can take down Humboldt State who is currently seeded third in pool D, and we will definitely be watching that game closely.

Tournament hosts UCSD Psycho find themselves matching up against Northwest powerhouse Oregon and Carleton Syzygy on Saturday, as well as regional compatriots Santa Cruz and USC. I know that SD has been frustrated with previous results – they know they’re better than even their seed breaking finish at SBI –  and you can bet they’re looking for a win against Carleton, and are ready to give Fugue a run for their money. This is Syzygy’s first tournament of the regular season, and they’ll be counted on to prove the case for four bids for the North Central.

Movin’ South

The Northwest teams leave their cold, rainy weather to travel to paradise for a weekend. Third seed Oregon gets their first taste of out of region competition. After winning it all at Trouble in Corvegas, we’ll see how their game is affected by this year’s unexpected injuries (as in previous Callahan hopeful Bailey Zahniser). Their significant roster turnover doesn’t seem to have affected them too much as of yet. A tournament win is a great thing to ride on, and you can bet the ladies from Eugene are ready to prove their strength extends beyond the Northwest. (Also, can one of you girls bring me a Yumm bowl? Or maybe a bialy from Barry’s? Thanks.) I’m personally excited to see my old teammate Molly Munson. After a year at UCLA, she moved home to Eugene where I hear she’s been tearing it up ever since – I can’t wait to see for myself!

Washington has yet to play any regular season games, but I am definitely excited to see them match up against Sonoma State. Speaking of old teammates, I hope Cailey Marsh is holding down her part on the team. I remember that girl had the most impressive forehand fake I’ve ever seen. We’ll also look to see great plays from captains Erica Petru, Margo Kelly, and Sarah Benditt. If I were on Element, I’d be itching to take down Sonoma State D’vine, their pool’s one seed. Guess we’ll just have to stay tuned…

Rounding out the playing field

President’s Day Classic has held up an impressive track record of cross country team presence. We’ve got Wisconsin, Dartmouth, Florida, Texas, and Michigan to mix it up a little in SoCal. This is a great opportunity for teams like Florida to earn some strength for the Southeast, a region that currently looks like it’ll get one bid that will go to UCF. Fuel is used to being at Nationals, and they’ve got a great chance here to prove they deserve to be.

Our tournament top seed Michigan Flywheel is of course excited to make an appearance in San Diego. They’ve got a smaller roster this year than in the past, but that only means they all have that much more playing time. Their only downside might be the challenge of getting a little too tired in their first huge tournament of the season. They did successfully dominate the competition at their hosted Indoor tournament earlier, not letting any individual team score more than 6 points on them a game. They will easily take their pool on Saturday, and likely have little troubles with their crossovers and making it in to the quarters. Let’s be honest, probably the semis. As I said before, I’m rooting for a Sonoma State – Michigan final.

Tourney Deets

The UCSD field sites have the unique factor of being, for lack of better words, inconsistent. Because we’ll be sharing field space with the Open tournament, the girls will see some great fields on Saturday, and pretty rough and hard ones Sunday. Additionally, it is currently raining, though scheduled for sun and 65 degree temperatures on the weekend. This means that Saturday’s fields will be plush and layout friendly, whereas we may see a lot of mud and unstable ground on Sunday. Take note, teams, injury prevention is key this weekend! The teams will be mostly back to the nice fields on Monday to fight to the finish. The fields are also driving distance apart due to the spacious San Diego campus, so teams could be rushed moving from one set of fields to the other, especially from prequarters to quarters. We also don’t get the fun of watching some friends in Open during our down time. Shucks.

Games to watch

  • Davis – Florida (Round 1): a chance for both to face a competitive equal and set the bar for their weekend’s performance
  • Michigan – Wisconsin (Round 3): The Great Lakes has a legitimate shot of taking a bid from the North Central or South West – Michigan is here to prove that they deserve it
  • Carleton – UCSD (Round 4): We said it before, both teams want it here. Gonna be explosive!
  • California – Wisconsin (Round 4): I’m excited to see the Claire Desmond/Emelie McKain matchup
  • Round 5 has all the 1 – 2 seed games. Too hard to pick, but if I had to: Sonoma State – Washington and Oregon – Carleton.

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