North Central Regionals 2012: Women’s Recap

by | May 1, 2012, 11:00am 0

This recap and the 2012 College Tour are presented by Spin Ultimate

With four of the top 20 teams in the country but only three bids to Nationals, it is no surprise that things were turned upside down at the North Central Regionals in Northfield, Minnesota.

Full Results

Saturday – Pool Play

Saturday started out 40 degrees and brutally wet, cutting through players bones. It’s almost May, and all players have been playing in 70+ weather for weeks (only to be reminded that in the Midwest, anything goes).

Pool A: Iowa State (1), Carleton (4), Wisconsin-Eau Claire (6), Wisconsin-Milwaukee (7)

Iowa State rolled through pool play decisively winning all of its games. In their first round game against Wisconsin-Eau Claire, SOL went on a run at the end of the game. Though they were down by quite a few, Tracie Anderson was playing out of her mind making layout grab after layout grab. Anderson, accompanied by Brit Gartner and Mariah Dorner, were making huge plays on D. The effort, though too little, too late, gave SOL some fire as they headed to play Carleton.

Eau Claire's Meredith Bray sneaks it past Marquette's Katie Godfrey in the backdoor bracket. (Photo by Samara Thompson)

Carleton and Wisconsin-Eau Claire played closely for a few points, but Syzygy pulled away. Syzygy ran a defensive set that zoned their opponents’ handlers and manned the cutters down-field for most of the weekend. Carleton’s tall, athletic players were able to contain the disc and then transition quickly near the endzone to stifle Eau Claire and Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Offensively, the fire power of Anna Reed and Julia Snyder  combined with the height and athleticism of Marlena Hartman-Filson and Flannery McArdle overcame the rest of the pool.

Iowa State’s handling prowess has overcome most zone defensive sets they have seen all year— and they were able to again in the matchup with Carleton in Pool Play. Sarah Hoistad’s level head brought poise to Woman Scorned’s offensive line. Magon Liu, Becca Miller, and Cami Nelson know how to create mismatches and take advantage of them. Their on-field chemistry is exciting to watch.

In an exciting match-up to close up pool play, Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Wisconsin-Milwaukee were evenly matched. Milwaukee went up early. It was exciting to see how far Blackcat has come over the years under the leadership of Sarah Schramm — handlers have developed confident throws and the teams has great offensive flow. Eau Claire went on to rattle off seven straight points to take the lead and the game. Tracie Anderson played a huge part in that game snagging hucks from Brit Gartner and Jess Haller.

Pool B: Wisconsin (2), Iowa (3), Minnesota (5), Marquette (8)

Minnesota's Natalie Foshtag snags the disc for the score. (Photo by Hannah Conley)

Iowa has been on a roller coaster this season. To be honest, I have never seen Saucy Nancy play better than they did this weekend. Though Saucy struggled a bit in their second game against Minnesota, it is safe to say that they controlled the weekend.

Wisconsin has been making tangible strides of improvement all season long. Their performance at early season tournaments had them poised to strike at any time. They have definitely put it together showing they have the total package. Watching Bella develop under the reigns of Alex Snyder has been enjoyable, with many of their players stepping up to fill roles that have been theirs for the taking for the past few seasons. In the first four points of the game vs. Iowa, they played flawless ultimate. Every single player touched the disc and moved it quickly. However, Iowa made some necessary adjustments, and it became clear that Chelsea Twohig’s hucks and ability to distribute the disc runs the Saucy offense.

Minnesota is on the brink – if they had another tournament, the season could have ended differently for the Ninjas. They had a tough draw in a tough pool, taking third. They struggled against Bella Donna’s trap zone and junk sets. However, in their game against Iowa, Sarah Meckstroth (#44) dominated the air, and kept them close. She was a huge impact player this season, and has become a go-to receiver.

It was nice to see Marquette this weekend. Katie Godfrey has done great things with the Moxie program. Though they suffered a bit from having a 9 or 10 player roster, every player was able to make plays for the team on both sides of the disc.

Quarter Finals

Carleton vs. Minnesota

A regional rematch, Minnesota squared off against Carleton. Carleton has more receivers than Minnesota. Both have great, patient handlers, but Carleton has a deep AND short game coupled by a tall D-line. Minnesota fell 7-15, with Carleton matched against Iowa in semis.

Wisconsin vs. Wisconsin-Eau Claire

In a rematch of the Lake Superior Conference Championships, Bella Donna squared off against SOL. After exchanging scores for the first few points, Wisconsin ran away with the game. Some points battled on, but Bella Donna ended up on top 14-6, poised to play Iowa State in semis.


Weather played no factor on Sunday. It was 50+ and sunny, with a slight wind that picked up as the day went on.

Semi Finals

Iowa's Audrey Erickson works it through the Carleton zone in semis. (Photo by Carolyn Sleeth)

Iowa controlled their game against Carleton with their ability to work the deep game. Audrey Erickson scored many for Saucy Nancy, running down hucks from Chelsea Twohig, Liza Minor, and Bekah Hickernell. Iowa’s cutters have really stepped it up late in the season to work all aspects of the offense, and identifying mismatches off of turns. Syzygy’s attempt to zone the Saucy handlers was not effective in the little bit of wind on Sunday.

Carleton did go on a bit of a run at the end of the game, with Marlena H-F and Flannery McArdle leading the charge. McArdle has become the “go-to” receiver for Syzygy, ripping down 50/50 huck after huck. Having her on the O-line was huge for Carleton this weekend, as no one could get position on her all weekend. But Iowa’s offense prevailed 15-9 over Syzygy, securing a bid to nationals.

In the game of the weekend, Bella Donna came out absolutely fired against Iowa State. The flawless offense that Bella showed in glimpses on Sunday soon became their first half mindset. Wisconsin threw a junk set that troubled Iowa State’s offense. The Iowa State handlers repeatedly tried to work over the Wisconsin zone to receivers. Kelsey Johnson stepped it up deep for Bella, snagging floaty discs. Bella’s secondaries behind the wall were also able to pick up errant throws from ISU’s handlers.

Offensively, Emelie McKain, Anna Shanedling and Rebecca Enders broke marks to keep the disc moving laterally, opening up downfield options. These three should be credited with opening up lanes for cutters – as they continued to effortlessly swing the disc, ISU defenders were out of position allowing breaks to come in threes and fours down the field.

Woman Scorned was able to make adjustments after half and make it a bit interesting. As handlers got more patient and stopped trying to go over, Magon Liu was able to assert herself offensively with her hucks. However, in the end Bella prevailed over Iowa State, 14-10.

Finals: Iowa vs. Wisconsin

Iowa's Anna Prichard lays out for a score. (Photo by Carolyn Sleeth)

Iowa squared off against Wisconsin again for the second time on the weekend. Iowa went up early, rattling off a few breaks. On both sides of the disc there were athletic bids on O and D. Liza Minor led Iowa offensively making plays under and deep for Saucy Nancy. She was able to take advantage of downfield mismatches. Iowa changed their defensive looks effectively, challenging the cutters down field to make adjustments. Julie Chen played especially well for Wisconsin, throwing a few huge I-O forehand breaks, one of which was for an upwind break to lead the break charge back into the game. On universe point, Iowa played solid. Jen Nowak put up an I-O forehand to Audrey Erickson, who was covered closely by Sydney Dobkin. After they both misread the disc, Erickson layed out in the back of the endzone and kept her feet in bounds on the second attempt, winning 12-11.

Saucy Nancy reigns the North Central Region for the second consecutive time and second time in the team’s history. Wisconsin returns to nationals for the first time since 2010, when they made semi-finals.

Backdoor Finals: Carleton vs. Iowa State

After Carleton ousted Eau Claire and Iowa State beat Minnesota, Syzygy squared off against Woman Scorned to battle for the final bid to Boulder. Syzygy went up quickly, scoring the first point, and following it with two breaks. Julia Snyder and Anna Reed kept working it to McArdle and Hartman-Filson. Carleton was up 5-2 before Iowa State made some adjustments.

Iowa State went on to score four goals in a row, with Lindsay Gapstur to Magon Liu for half 8-6. Out of half, ISU scored two more, making it six unanswered goals. Syzygy made some adjustments and turned on the defensive pressure, with Anna Reed leading the charge offensively, taking control of the game. Carleton worked it back within one, with another Snyder to Hartman-Filson connection.  After missing two opportunities in the endzone, Iowa State capitalized on a transition, with Liu  to Daisy Velasco for the win 13-11.

Iowa State returns to Boulder for the second consecutive year, and third time in their program’s history. Syzygy does not make the trip to the College Championships for the first time since 2003, and second time in the team’s history.

Feature photo of Iowa clinching a trip to Boulder. (Photo by Carolyn Sleeth)

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