The first day of Queen City Tune Up opened blustery and cold. As I stepped out of the airport, I was hit with blasts of wind, immediately threw on my jacket and got a bit apprehensive as to the level of play I’d see during the day. While that apprehension was well placed (many games had under 15 points scored total – enough said), I was still impressed by the determination that so many of the women had, playing long and very frustrating points. We saw many variations of zones used and lots of Ds by cup players forcing floaty short throws then chasing them down. Hopefully tomorrow the forecast of calmer winds will allow these women to showcase their offensive talents a bit more – huck and D gets old fast.
One of the greatest wins on the day was UNCW over UVA. Historically, UVA has dominated the AC region in the fall, then gotten hurt by teams in the spring. So what makes this win so special? During the fall, Seaweed matched up against Hydra in what ended up an almost embarrassing performance for UNCW, boosting UVA’s confidence going into today’s last round. Yet gone we the drops and mis throws, and in their place was a team that shone with energy and excitement. Of course, Claire Chastain led the pack but I was impressed with how readily she was able to let her other teammates take over. While Chastain was on most of the points of the day, there were many scored without more than some minor handling action from her – yes, I consider that a good thing.
UCF and Pittsburgh both went 3-1 on the day. I was impressed by the play of both teams though it seemed that by the end of the day they were just too tired to battle with each other. Pitt was coming off a game to cap where they had taken half against Penn State with about 10 minutes to go, in essence winning by time. The Sirens had just finished a much easier game against NC State, winning 13-1. However, both teams’ offenses seemed to crumble in their last rounds. Players were resorting to being scrappy as their throws were tossed back and forth in the wind. Ashley Schermerhorn had some amazing hucks for UCF that resulted in enough points to propel them to a victory.UCF gave Pitt a taste of their own medicine as they took half with minutes to go, scored the last point and won 8-5. The Florida Winter Classic winners are sitting pretty in Quarters where they will play the winner of Northeastern and Georgia.
In another upset, Ohio State dominated Washington University. I believe when I walked away from the field the score was 7-0, and OSU had just taken half (they ended up winning 12-2). I think it would be easy to say that this was simply a product of the wind, but it looked as if at a certain point WUWU just gave up. It didn’t hurt that both Cassie Swafford and Paige “Diddy” Soper had amazing action with consistent throws and grabs. Wash U needs to regroup after endung today 1-2 if they’re going to out up a real fight tomorrow. Their first game is in prequarters against Pittsburgh, who got second place in their pool after losing their head to head matchup with Central Florida.
As expected, UNC took down their opponents, and took first in pool A. They will play the winner of Pittsburgh and Washington University in quarters; I expect to see them in the semis.
One final thing to note on the day: the TDs Lindsay Lang and Michelle Ng did a great job of maintaining score reporter and providing clear information to the teams. There are many elements that go into running a tournament smoothly, especially when players get cold and easily dehydrated due to weather conditions. This is a great indication for the high quality we can expect from Without Limits sponsored tournaments in the future!
Listen in tomorrow at 12:30 for a live broadcast of the semis and 2:15 for the finals. Also make sure you’re following me at @EhmZiv for updates! There’s a lot of great Twitter action here and I try to retweeet from teams at the tournament to share their info with you!