Day one of the Stanford Invite is in the books, and what a day it was. Beautiful weather and great Ultimate were the theme as top teams fell and Sonoma State proved again why they are one of the biggest threats in Women’s Ultimate.
Pool B was the calmer of the two. The only major story was Washington’s dismantling of the Burning Skirts of UCSB. Marie Madaras looked good for UCSB, but the team struggled to find consistency on offense. On defense, Element played about as perfect a game as possible.They made handler dumps almost impossible and UCSB was unable to use continuations from cutters. UCSB’s defense though, was seriously lacking. Washington was able to walk the disc up on the force side, as the Skirts’ cutter defense was not able to protect the open side. While both teams were able to get off breaks effectively, Washington’s cutters were the difference in this game, as Element won 13-7.
The rest of Pool B played out relatively to seed, with the only exception being UCLA beating Carleton College in the last round on Saturday. Pittsburgh went win-less, while Tufts’ only win came against Pitt, and Stanford, while playing hard, came out of Saturday with just one win.
The biggest surprise of the tournament is Oregon going 1-3 on day one. They lost to the Cal Piequeens, UNC Pleiades and Sonoma State D’vine. They kept running their zone defense in completely windless weather and teams were able to take advantage of it. What is worse is that their small roster seems to have shrunk even more after a couple of injuries to Fugue players. Sophie Darch was still playing well, but the team struggled on offense, unable to complete hucks that are usually no thought completions.
While Oregon was struggling, Sonoma State D’vine was cementing themselves as the team to beat from the SW. Ruden and Stueckle, with great coaching by James Yager, were the reason Sonoma State was able to jump two seeds in pool play and beat interregional competition. They came out flat and with a slight case of the dropsies against UNC in round one. However, an early timeout by Coach Jager brought them back and they took half 7-6. It was an incredibly hard fought game by both teams, but Sonoma State edged it out in the end 13-10 for a huge upset start to their weekend.
Round three pitted Sonoma against Oregon, who had just lost in a shocking 13-10 game to Cal. This game was fantastic to watch and we will have second half footage available on Skyd as soon as possible. Oregon was able to take a quick lead, but their loose style of play was their downfall as Sonoma State was again able to fight back in the first half to take a 7-6 score into the break. What was most shocking were the sidelines during halftime. Sonoma State was dancing and having fun, while Oregon looked quiet and worried. The second half was the best half of Ultimate of the day. Both teams refused to give up, but Maggie Ruden proved too much as her presence on the field allowed her teammates to succeed. With the disc on Oregon’s endzone line Maggie was able to make a cut to the sideline force side after faking break. She was then double teamed, leaving a wide open D’vine with an easy catch for the score. Sonoma State took the game 13-11.
In the final round of games, UNC dismantled Oregon 13-6. While their results were poor on Saturday, this will likely be only a hiccup in Oregon’s run at winning their second National Championship in three years. This team is too well coached and built to falter for long. Sonoma State edged out Cal 13-11 and is likely to take the 1 seed into bracket play barring a total collapse on their part.
Feature photo by Kyle McBard (UltiPhotos.com)