Who/Where/When/Why: Twelve teams from Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan will play in Naperville, IL this weekend to fight for the single bid out of the region to Nationals.
There’s a Hunger Games reference in there somewhere.
The weekend will have typical Midwest weather with breezy winds forecasted between 10-20 mph. The wind shouldn’t prove to be too much of a problem though; these Great Lakes teams are used to it.
Location: Naperville, IL
# of Bids: 1
In fact, it will be a pleasant upgrade for the teams who played in the Illinois Conference Championships just two weekends ago. With Saturday of IL CC hit by continuous rain and Sunday racked with 40 mph gusts of wind, Regionals weekend will seem like a breeze. The second round on CC’s Sunday featured Illinois vs Northwestern playing for first, while Illinois-B and Northwestern-B battled it out on the next field over for rights to stay in the fourth place bracket. For all four teams, the round ended with no teams scoring upwind (#winningtheflip). In the Illinois-Northwestern game, both teams came heart-stoppingly close to the upwind end zone but were not able to put it in. Eventually, the game ended with Illinois’ 9 points over Northwestern’s 8, for the first seed out of the Illinois Conference.
From the Eastern Great Lakes Conference Championships, it seems that there was much less parity for the first seed out of the conference. Michigan owned the tournament, winning finals against Michigan State, 15-1, and with no team putting up more than 4 points against them in a single game. Michigan will surely be looking to continue their dominance at Regionals.
The tournament schedule has yet to be finalized, so here are some matchups I would like to see
Illinois-Northwestern: A rematch from the IL CC finals. With Illinois and Northwestern 1-1 with each other this season, and it would be exciting to see a season tiebreaker.
Michigan State-Notre Dame-Indiana: Any combination of these three athletic teams would be exciting to watch. Historically, they’ve all played close games with each other, and in my opinion, the close, intense games are the most fun to watch.
Michigan B-Northwestern B: Battle of the B teams! It’s inspiring to see B teams play because it means women’s Ultimate is growing!
Michigan-All: Watching Michigan play is a treat, even against less talented teams. Michigan proved at the EGL CC that they maintain their level of play even against lesser teams. They play their game, always.
So who will take the single bid to Natties this weekend? I predict a Michigan-Northwestern matchup in the game-to-go to Natties. (DISCLAIMER: I play for Northwestern.) But in all fairness, I think Northwestern’s small squad will be working hard to redeem themselves from the Chicago Invite and the Illinois Conference Championships. I’m not discounting Illinois either; I think they will be working hard with their deep roster to prove their win over Northwestern at the IL CC was more than a fluke of the wind. However, the odds are stacked in Michigan’s favor, as they have not lost to any team in the Great Lakes region this season, and placed well at several nationally competitive tournaments.
But sports wouldn’t be much fun if everything played out as predicted. Nothing is set in stone, and nothing is quite as exciting as an upset. I do know that whichever team leaves the weekend as the Great Lakes champion will be sent off with the ‘Great lakes! Great times!’ cheer, as they continue on their road to Nationals.