The 2012 Stanford Invite has come to a close and it certainly lived up to the hype. Two top teams struggled, one proved it was the new Nationals frontrunner and a small school from wine country again showed it was a serious force to be reckoned with.
University of Washington Element beat Sonoma State D’vine 13-9 in a hard fought, exciting finals game. Lucy Williams was the star for Element on both sides of the disc. Her pulls forced Sonoma to have to march down the entire field for their goals, while her offensive ability helped enable Element’s high powered, constant flow offense. Cailey Marsh and Amanda Kostic were key as they are the backbone of Element’s handling core. D’vine certainly did not go down without a fight though. Maggie Ruden, Hannah Stueckle, and Cindy Cruz helped keep Sonoma in the game until the very end. A new cutting star might have just been found as second year player Candice “Chopper” Pacheco who was finding the disc all over the field throughout the game.
Both Semifinal games were blowouts, with Washington beating UNC 13-8 and Sonoma easily getting by UCLA 13-5. UNC certainly fared well on the weekend and, if they don’t finish as the highest ranked team from the AC, they will likely help bring a strength bid to the region. They beat Oregon and UBC, both strong out-of-region teams, and played well all weekend. Lindsay Lang and Shellie Cohen will likely get All-Region accolades as the duo seem to play on another level with each other.
UCLA had a great weekend as well. They started as the four seed in Pool B and were able to beat UCSB to help lead them to the two seed in the pool and their spot in semifinals. They were a little outgunned by Sonoma State though, but there is no reason they can’t use this finish to help propel them to a chance at a Nationals spot.
Of all the teams at the Invite, Oregon was the most surprising, but in a way no one was expecting. They lost to Sonoma State, California Pie Queens and the Pleiades of UNC. While a loss to any of these teams is not a cause for worry, losing to all three in one weekend after being the heavy favorite will undoubtedly give Fugue a slight concern as they are not planning to attend any more sanctioned tournaments. Sophie Darch played well, but the entire teamed seemed out of sync, missing hucks throughout the weekend and having fundamental issues where there generally are none. Injuries are starting to hurt Oregon but, with over two months till Nationals, there is no reason this team will not rebound and still make a run at the 2012 Championships.
The Burning Skirts could be in a more precarious situation. While Marie Madaras was her normal dominating self (note an extraordinary lay out grab in the endzone against Tufts), UCSB looks to be lacking a strong core. Like Oregon though, there is no reason that this team can not regroup and prove this performance to be a fluke at Centex.
Pittsburgh, Tufts and Carleton had a rough time over the two days tourney. Of the three, Tufts looks to have the greatest potential. They have a strong handler core lead by Hailey Alm. She was throwing hammers that were perfect and their defense played tough. Expect them to be the frontrunner from New England come Regionals.
A special thank you to the coaches and players for being welcoming and accommodating for a barrage of questions and comments from the Skyd Crew. All of the teams were happy to help provide roster information (even though some don’t have numbers on their jerseys…) to help increase coverage of the tournament. Check back soon for finals footage and interviews from the field. Next stop on the Skyd 2012 College Tour, presented by Spin Ultimate, will be Women’s College Centex, March 23-25.
Feature photo by Kyle McBard (UltiPhotos.com)