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1. Valparaiso (Great Lakes, Last week: 1)
We excitedly wait to see them dominate this weekend at Chicago Invite, and also hope to see a rematch against Missouri State from their heated game in the 5th place semis at Midwest Throwdown. Knowing the likely conditions at this tournament, we know that Valpo has the tools to succeed this weekend.
2. Claremont (Southwest, Last week: 2)
The Greenshirts had a solid performance at Centex, taking second in the D-II Championship bracket (18th overall) in one of the premier pre-nationals tournaments in the nation for all competition. This is the type of momentum to help propel them to the semis or finals at Division-III Nationals.
3. Carleton-B (North Central, Last week: 10)
Okay, perhaps we punished them for an uncharacteristic performance at Throwdown. Eclipse was the highest finishing Division-III team at Virginia is for Layouts. Defensively, they looked great, mixing up looks, and generating turns on the endzone. Offensively, they’re still finding their stride, but expect them to be clean come the series.
4. Princeton (Metro East, Last week: N/A)
Clockwork Orange won High Tide Session III securing two wins over Smith, in both pool and bracket play. They have a big win over Luther, and strong performance at Southerns. Kelly Weeks and Julia Yue are dangerous cutters who dictate their offense.
5. Smith (New England, Last Week: 6)
LunaDisc upset Williams in bracket play, earning their first win against La WUFA in 5th place semis at Virginia is for Layouts. They looked powerful and control the tempo of almost every they. They have depth, and talented receivers who can run down precision hucks by the handling core. LunaDisc is a tactically deep and knowledgeable team. They play smart D (zone and man), make good offensive decisions, and are able to stay engaged and on top of things the ENTIRE game.
6. Williams (New England, Last week: 3)
Missing two of their top players, Claire Baecher and Rachel Kessler, surely hurt the team at Layouts. Even without them, they played a fast, high powered, quick-transition O. When they set up their split horizontal stack, they get frustrated if the initial soft break is not there, but can exercise the dump-swings until the field opens up. Emily Darling can break marks to open up the O, but with Baecher out for the season, can Kessler provide the additional power to lead Williams to a semis or finals appearance?
7. Drake (North Central, Last Week: 7)
We haven’t seen them in action since Midwest Throwdown, but they are still a top team. If they are able to work on their zone and offensive skills in the wind, they could maneuver their way up the ranks.
8. Pacific Lutheran (Northwest, Last Week: 8 )
PLU secured a one-point win over Whitman at the PLU BBQ. To all the haters in the rankings a few weeks ago, they brought their game and proved they have what it takes to beat Whitman. The teams match up well, and we can look forward to an exciting Division-III showdown in the Northwest.
9. Whitman (Northwest, Last Week: 4)
The Lady Sweets lost to PLU at the BBQ. We can still count on them being a strong team in a difficult region. How they use the rest of the season will determine their post season outlook.
10. Haverford (Ohio Valley, Last week: N/A)
Haverford dominated their pool at Layout Pigout. We will see how they perform this weekend at Keystone Classic, where they have the chance to play up into the Division-I bracket if they win their pool.
11. Grinnell (North Central, Last week: 5)
Lots of losses for the Stickies at Layouts, but they were in close games, and their lines were opened up quite a bit. Sadly, these results might haunt them later on. We saw a more typical Sticky team at Terminus, where they were able to win a close one over Williams, after the return of Kessler. Do not count them out yet. The fact that they were able to play games that allowed for development of their entire roster may help them establish the depth they need to roll teams later in the season. They definitely perform strongest in the wind (focus for the rest of the season!)
12. Wellesley (New England, Last week: N/A)
This team is good enough to give the teams a run for their money—lots of depth in this short, quick team with great throws. Layouts proved to be a great start to the season. Once Sarah McAra is back in the lineup from her bout with mono, the team could help to earn a strength bid for their region and snag it, sending them to Appleton.
13. Mary Washington (Atlantic Coast, Last week: N/A)
Mary Massacre won the 9th place bracket at Layouts. Securing a win over Richmond will help them in Conference seedings in a few weeks.
14. Bowdoin (New England, Last week: N/A)
Chaos Theory took second at High Tide. They should be on the radar for teams in the New England region. Don’t overlook them. Even in a talented region, they have the skills to give the top teams a run for their money. We are excited to see what they do going forward. In your post series picks, the ladies of Bowdoin should be your bracket-buster with the most upset potential.
15. Truman State (South Central, N/A)
TSUnami may be weaker than they have been in the past, but given that Rice is Division-1 bound, Truman State will secure the top spot out of the South Central. Betsey York is a baller, and has some solid support. Knowing how the weather is at the Appleton field site, the poise of their zone O will help them succeed.
On the Radar
Swarthmore (Atlantic Coast)
The Warmothers did okay at Centex; however, a big loss to Claremont in D-II bracket play hurts them. Looking forward, they have an opportunity to go big at Keystone Classic. In the long run, we are still waiting to see if they commit to Division-1 or Division-III in the Series.
Stonehill (New England)
They rolled through competition at D-1337. We wait to see how they match up against the rest of the New England Division-III teams at their home tournament.
Oberlin (Ohio Valley)
Praying Mantis has the opportunity to show improvement from Music City Mashup this weekend at Keystone Classic. They have the athleticism and leadership to make an impact in games to push them over the edge.
Tournaments to Watch
“Get Skyyd” Women’s (Easton, MA) hosts a few good Division-III teams who are on the rise. The opportunity to see Stonehill, Wellesley, Bowdoin and some other teams in the New England Region square off to see who might edge out the competition for a second or third bid to the Division-III Championships.
Chicago Invite (Naperville, IL) showcase some Division-III competition from the Midwest. We see favorites like Valparaiso and Drake, match up with some teams vying to get to the next level, like North Park and Truman State, and some with few results like St. Olaf, Beloit, and St. Benedict.
Keystone Classic (Manheim, PA) has Division-III favorites, like Swarthmore and Smith, squaring off with top Division-1 competition. I’m excited to see Smith square off against their standout Amber Sinicrope’s team from 2009, Wisconsin. Others like Oberlin, Haverford, Rensselaer Polytech, St. Mary’s (Maryland), Lehigh, Dickinson, and Franklin & Marshall are trying to earn some big wins.
The Division-III Women’s Rankings are compiled by a panel consisting of players, coaches, and Skyd Magazine contributors. If you are interested in participating, please contact Robyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feature photo of Oberlin’s Kayla Emrick lays out for a throw from Margaret Rosano by Christina Schmidt (UltiPhotos.com)