The 2013 DIII Women’s National Championships begin tomorrow in (hopefully) sunny Milwaukee, WI. 16 of the best DIII teams in the country will converge and commence a battle-royale for national supremacy in the division. Claremont is looking to repeat, while number one seed Valparaiso is looking to establish their name this weekend.
For extremely in-depth previews, see both Ultiworld’s and USA Ultimate’s fantastic previews. Both include fantastic team profiles and predictions. As I certainly can’t say it any better than Jesse and Robyn, I’m going to go in a different direction: Who are the players to watch for the women’s division?
Julie Bender, Bowdoin – Possibly the best player on the second best team (by seed). Bender will keep Chaos Theory’s offense running by beating her girl to the force side 60% of the time, every time. With possible 10+ mph winds, her throwing prowess in the wind will be invaluable to Bowdoin’s championship run.
Erynn Schroeder, Saint Ben’s – Dubbed “Beast” by her teammates (horrible nickname, I know), Erynn is figuratively a monster on the field. Tenacious on D and huck-happy on O (in a good way), look for Schroeder to use her U-19 worlds and club (with Minnesota Pop) experience to help the Bad Habits surprise everyone.
Claire Baecher, Williams – 6’3″ Claire Baecher will almost certainly be the most physically imposing female at the tournament. While many teams (at least on the men’s side) have one or two colossi on their rosters, Baecher breaks the mold by ALSO being able to throw something other than a dump. Of course, it does help when you don’t need a high-release to throw over the mark.
Kelsey Peterson, Saint Ben’s – Yeah, I realize that this is second Saint Ben’s player. But Kelsey is certainly one of the best players at this tournament, even though she often is in Schroeder (admittedly earned) large shadow. Peterson is often on the receiving end of Schroeder’s hucks. Peterson, Schroeder, and fellow captain Kaylee Matthews are the three players on the Bad Habits who rarely take points off. If Saint Ben’s wants to be successful this weekend, these three will have to carry the load.
Carla Eckland, Grinnell – I felt obliged to include the LEADER IN GOALS at the previous two national championships. Although there isn’t much to like about Iowa, Ecklund certainly is in the small collection of good things in the state. Although Grinnell is the last seeded team, look for them to make some noise, led by Ecklund. After all, Grinnell has been known to break seed (yes I realize that it’s the men).
While these are a few of the notables, there are many more players worthy of recognition. Good luck to them as well as all the teams this weekend!
Look for Charlie’s tweets from the St. John’s Twitter account (@BAMultimate), and more this weekend.
Photo by Brandon Wu – Ultiphotos.com