The Southeast Regionals event was met with great success, which isn’t to say that there weren’t any potential mishaps. On Sunday, play stopped for about 40 minutes due to a lightning sighting and rain seemed to loom over the fields, but fortunately it never actually came. Over the course of the weekend, we experienced highs in the 80s and infrequent cloud cover. Shades tents and ice packs were clutch in the heat and humidity.
On Saturday, the top seeds were not faced with many challenges. Both Florida and Central Florida played to their strengths and managed to hold seed in their respective pools. Watching a point at a time, the Florida v. Georgia game seemed like a competitive game, however Fuel bested Dawgma handily, winning 12-6. As we’ll see later though, losing this game leaves the Dawgma women hungry for victory, and eventually leads them into the Finals. For most of the day, Central Florida used a 4-man cup zone defense. Teams being unable to adjust to their zone, along with their efficient, low turnover ratio offense once they got the D, led to UCF winning their pool by a wide margin. No team scored more than 4 points on them in pool play. Florida State and Georgia also played strong, beating the rest of the competition and holding their places as the 2 seeds going into bracket play.
As teams started warming up for quarters on Sunday, there was lots of cloud cover and a stronger wind than the day before. Windy weather can be ideal for leveling the playing field, however, the higher seed from each quarters game advanced. The closest upset to happening was the Georgia v. Tennessee game. After taking half only 8-7, Georgia was getting anxious about whether or not their season would end in the first round on Sunday. They were making uncharacteristic mistakes and UTK was capitalizing and running with them, even though they had few subs. Tennessee played hard and I applaud them for their valiant efforts, but Georgia’s killer instinct turned on in the second half and they won, 15-11. As it turns out, Georgia women’s killer instinct stayed on into the next game as well. They pulled the biggest upset of the weekend by defeating Central Florida in the semifinals, 15-6. I glanced at the game from a couple fields over and noticed the competition looked pretty tight, so I walked over and asked for the score. A Dawgma player excitedly responded that the score was 10-5, and that all they can think to do is score one point at a time. And that’s exactly what they did.
On the other half of the bracket, Florida State gave Florida a run for their money in the semifinals by losing a respectful 13-9. I have to give props to the Seminole ladies for stepping up big and putting pressure on Fuel to perform well. Both teams played aggressively and with spirit simultaneously, which makes for the best type of game to watch.
The game started off with long, hard fought points and was paused at 2-1 Florida for 40 minutes due to lightning. Florida threw a zone defense for most of the game, and Georgia had a hard time working it downfield. Most of their throws were short passes between the open side handlers Hannah Leathers and Lane Siedor because they had difficulty working it to the break side. This left a lot of open area downfield unused. However, when they did work it downfield, the receiver was typically freshman-of-the-year candidate Kate Hines, who was exceptionally good at getting open and moving the disc quickly. Florida’s offense ran primarily through handlers Jackie Fane and Jenna Dahl. They used their long game, and with several apt downfield receivers, it worked. Georgia’s man defense kept them in contention, because even if they turned the disc on offense, it wasn’t always easy for Florida to score, as Fuel was forced to look at second and third options instead of walking it down the field. Georgia never quit, Florida never let up, and overall it was a great last match. Congratulations to Florida Fuel for qualifying for Nationals. We look forward to see how they will do in Boulder, CO while representing the Southeast Region.
- Best uniforms: Tulane Muses. Their purple jerseys themed after a Mardi Gras parade (and their name) compels any crowd to shout for beads. That and the girly bow tie swag on some of their players hair makes for a lot of spirited conversation.
- The food tent had nutella. ‘Nuff said.
- Emory, the 5 seed from Pool A, makes it to the bracket.
- The women’s fields were closest to the parking and tourney central. No walking 5 miles to get to the fields for this bunch!