Though 2013 started off cold and snowy in the North Central Region, readers may be surprised by how little the cold weather will impact the region’s performance this season in the women’s division. In fact, this could be the year the region earns more bids than ever.
The only thing that could stand in the way is an overlap of tournament schedules among the top teams. Expect to see the top teams to match up head-to-head in pool play throughout the spring season, where a lack of out of region games may hurt these teams in securing a fourth bid. Queen City Tune-Up will be an early season peek into who will reign the region, with all of the expected top teams attending.
The Favorites: Iowa State, Iowa, Carleton, Wisconsin
Iowa State Woman Scorned
Last year’s Centex Champions may not have finished as strongly at the 2012 College Championships, but they are ready to focus on 2013. They graduated six seasoned veterans, but they return three of the top players in the college division: Magon Liu, Becca Miller, and Cami Nelson. These three women are not only dominant, but can seamlessly take advantage of any mismatch by playing any position. Woman Scorned’s fast paced transition offense is not only exciting to watch, but difficult to match up against.
Many of Woman Scorned’s top players joined forces for another season of club ultimate, playing for Ames’ Chad Larson Experience. Another season of getting reps in the off season only bolsters the on-field chemistry these ladies have. These ladies return in 2013 as one of the hungriest teams in the college division. Co-captain Magon Liu this hunger when it comes to 2013. “[Iowa State is] full and hopeful,” says Liu. “Our spring season is always peppered with great tournaments, and it’s always interesting to see how our season develops.”
Queen City Tune-Up will be the team’s first true test of the season. With some of the other top teams in the North Central, Ohio Valley, Atlantic Coast, and Southeast Regions, we’ll see how the off season has treated Woman Scorned. “We are looking forward to how our season goes this year,” Liu adds. “Ideally, we’d like to take each tournament game by game but we had a phenomenal season last year and it’ll be hard to beat it.
Iowa Saucy Nancy
Though most of Saucy’s personnel losses from 2012 included handlers, coach Mikey Lun knows how to turn the players he has into a great squad. This means making the team even more adaptable than they were at the peak of 2012. With a motto that focuses on earning everything and taking nothing for granted, Iowa is up to the challenge.
On the field, Iowa is led by an experienced captaining core of Anna Prichard, Liza Minor, and Bekah Hickernell. Add Heist standouts Chelsea Twohig and Jen Nowak, you have five players who can stand out at any position on the field—and we haven’t even started talking about the rest of the team.
Will 2013 be the season that Saucy is able to break into semi-finals? The team sure hopes so. If the team puts in the work they say they are, they are poised to peak when the need to. Their challenging schedule also begins at Queen City Tune Up.
Carleton and Wisconsin
Why put these two extremely different teams in the same category? Based on the way bids worked out in 2012, most following the region closely thought it would come down to Syzygy and Bella Donna as to who would take the last bid to the Championships. Wisconsin showed that they knew how to peak at the right time, earning a huge semi-final win over Iowa State to snag a bid to the 2012 College Championships. On the other hand, Carleton Syzygy’s longest active streak of College Championship qualifying seasons was broken after falling to Iowa State in the game-to-go.
Both of these teams have a lot of work to do in 2012, and expect them to put it in.
Carleton’s Julia Snyder and Anna Reed are one of the division’s most dynamic duos. With years of elite level experience as teammates, they lead a fast paced give-and-go style offense. Both will surely be throwing huge hucks and scoring a lot of goals. With some of the tallest receivers in the game, Syzygy returns hungrier than ever.
Bella Donna, having lost Emelie McKain and Rachael Westgate, must make adjustments to fill roles. Wisconsin will be coached for another season by Alex Snyder, who will help the team adapt. Bella co-captain Amelia Quarenta says, “We’ve been working on building a solid foundation of athleticism and disc skills and are ready to start practicing again and really hit our stride as a team.”
The team has a solid handling core, led by Rebecca Enders and Al Ellis, who returns after missing the 2012 season. Wisconsin also returns Sara Scott, who is easily one of the most athletic shut-down defenders in the game. Her crazy layout blocks help to fuel Bella Donna’s tenacious defense.
Expect to see Bella Donna look to huck to extremely athletic downfield receivers, as they started to do with success at the end of last season. Enders, Ellis, and Scott have Lorraine Guerin running down their hucks in the endzone. This sophomore is impressively explosive and not afraid to put her body on the line for the disc.
Wildcard Watch: Minnesota
To all the upset fans out there, your best bet for an exciting finish in 2013 will be the University of Minnesota. This team has been on the brink for a few seasons, but 2013 could be the Ninjas’ big break.
“The team is older and stronger than it has been in the past and everyone is working really hard,” says head coach Christie Dosch. “We haven’t made any big sweeping changes, but have really focused on the fundamentals and offensive flow. The goal is to possess the disc and be adaptable and flexible.”
With a strong handling core led by Emily and Natalie Depalma, Andrea Crumrine, and Anne Sleeth, the Ninjas offense will have the ability to play both a dominant deep and short game. The Depalma sisters are deadly on both sides of the disc. Emily and Natalie both have the ability to generate blocks on defense, which fuels their transition offense. Pending admission into a graduate program, the Ninjas could add former Marquette standout Katie Godfrey into the mix. Godfrey would bring even more poise and confident break throws to the already impressive handing core.
Their cutters are equally as stacked. Junior Worlds tryout and Drag’n Thrust standout Sara Meckstroth joins forces with Minneapolis Pop baller Emily Regan to lead the downfield charge. Both women have gained a lot of confidence playing club this season, and their impact will give teams trouble.
As for new recruits, freshman Greta Regan leads an impressive rookie class with seven incoming freshman with high school experience to add to their already stacked roster.
We’ll get a chance to see how the Ninjas match up with the rest of the region’s top teams, and top teams from the country even more so than we have in the past. The Ninjas will be competing at the Iowa Indoor Tournament in February, Midwest Throwdown, and Centex in March.
Dosch adds, “We’re excited about this season and have really high hopes for the team.”