Best Of Women’s: 2013 College Championships

by | June 8, 2013, 3:33pm 0

Co-written by Ryan Thompson, Robyn Fennig, Kami Groom, and Adam Lerman and presented by Spin Ultimate.

Biggest Surprises:

Freshman Monisha White (Stanford) goes up for the D against Northeastern (Nick Lindeke - Ultiphotos)

      1. Northwestern over UCSB: By the time this game came around, both teams had already pulled one key upset against Georgia Dawgma, the third seed in the pool; they were playing for a spot in prequarters.  Although Northwestern jumped out to an early 5-2 lead, the game was close for most of the way, with the difference in score rarely exceeding one point.  Ultimately, the game was determined by the usual: team defense and clean offensive possessions.  Both teams ran zone for most of the game, and Northwestern was better able to handle the pressure than UCSB, who simply had too many forced and unforced errors.  Northwestern was also much better equipped to handle man-to-man matchups; they shut down Thompson and contained Pitcaithley, while Hoffmann ran rampant for Gung Ho. The combination of these factors led to a Northwestern upset victory on universe point, a win which propelled them into prequarters.
      2. Northeastern over Stanford: The Lady Valkyries came in to the tournament as the 17th seed, but they were not intimidated by the teams ranked ahead of them – playing two universe point games against Stanford and Minnesota. They victory over Stanford was inspired, as the rode a 5 point run that spanned halftime to give them an insurmountable lead. With the wind picking up, Northeastern’s zone and clam defenses took them from a 4-6 deficit to a 9-6 lead, and while Stanford would tie it up again, Northeastern had more composure and the confidence to attack down the field with aggressive throws over Stanford’s clam. It was a very impressive win for the second team out of the New England region.
      3. Iowa State: Iowa State came into the tournament seeded 3rd and a favorite for the overall title – but they were just a single point from not even making prequarters. They were plagued throughout the tournament by their lack of depth and defensive firepower – their top four or five players could score with ease on offense, but they lacked the defensive fundamentals and intensity to slow down other team’s playmakers. Cassie Swafford and Nina Finley ran over them in their loss to Ohio State, and Alika Johnston repeatedly took Becca Miller up the line as Virginia came back to upset Woman Scorned. In the end they were able to beat Central Florida 16-15 and secure a place in prequarters, but they followed it up by blowing a lead to a fresher British Columbia squad and a determined Crystal Koo – another player who could not be slowed down by Iowa State.

Most Exciting Games:

      1. Washington vs Minnesota (prequarters):Washington came out hot, and Minnesota looked flat. After half, Minnesota exploded. Everything was working. A 4-point defecit became a universe point game! The Natalie Depalma to Sarah Meckstroth connection could not be stopped. But other people stepped up in huge ways for the Ninjas, like Sarah “Anchovy” Anciaux’s ridiculous sky grab over the pack. It was an exciting game, filled with fire and emotion from both teams.
      2. Iowa State vs Central Florida:Iowa State looked like they were in control, but UCF styed so poised and close throughout. Sunny Harris’ defensive performance and Mariel Hammond’s second half grabs kept the Sirens within striking distance. These teams battled it out to the very last throw of the last point, with bids, skies, big plays, and hucks.
      3. Whitman vs Central Florida: On universe point, both teams had several great chances to win the game.  Central Florida worked the disc to 10 yards out before Whitman got a block on the goal line.  Whitman looked to have the game won, but their receiver dropped a wide-open huck in the endzone.  Finally, 12 minutes past the hard cap horn, Whitman converted for the 13-12 win.

Best One-Game Performance (Team):

      1. Oregon (finals): With their blowout victory against Carleton in the finals, Oregon left no doubt that they were the best team in the nation.  The thing is … Oregon’s performance in the finals was really no different than their other performances.  They stuck to their game, a game of fast-paced transitions, frequent hucks, and fundamental defense.  Their defense– both in man and junk– was especially relentless.  From highlight worthy layout D’s to smart matchups, Oregon’s defense allowed them to play free on offense, to contain the big cutters from Carleton, and in the end, to dominate, taking the championship by a score of 15-7.
      2. Carleton (semifinals): Carleton put together a complete game in the semi.  Their handlers, led by Julia Snyder and Anna Reed, held possession easily and took high-percentage shots downfield.  Flannery McArdle was unstoppable on the receiving end, scoring 8 goals.  And Carleton’s defense was able to contain Ohio State’s star handler Paige Soper, limiting her to no assists and a single goal.
      3. Minnesota (prequarters): Minnesota’s adjustments out of half rattled Element’s poised, confident handlers. Sarah Meckstroth ate up everything deep, and the transition offense challenged Washington’s players to make big plays in order to pull out a win. Minnesota didn’t win the game, but they played a fantastic game to push Washington to the brink.

Best One-Game Performance (Individual):

      1. Flannery McArdle (Carleton, semifinals): If Flannery McArdle proved one thing at this year’s College Championships, it’s that she knows how to make herself available for her handlers.  In Carleton’s semi-final against Ohio State, McArdle always seemed to be open, snatching discs from the air, catching discs on the breakside, and scoring goal after goal after goal.  In fact, she scored # of her team’s 15 points, helping Syzygy to secure the victory and a spot in the finals.  Oh, and if that weren’t enough, she did all of this on a hurting knee.
      2. Alika Johnston (Virginia, vs Iowa State): Johnston is only a sophomore, but she played this game with the composure and savvy of a five-year veteran. Virginia never panicked as Iowa State rose out to an early three point lead, and Johnston played fantastic offense from the handler spot to possess the disc, break the mark, and throw beautiful hucks for scores. Despite being guarded by Becca Miller and Magon Liu, she repeatedly got the disc and played nearly turnover-free offense, facilitating to her teammates and always being available above stall 6 when her teammates needed a bailout or a crucial upline cut into a power position or for a goal. Johnston put Hydra on her back and they rode her fantastic performance to a 15-13 victory. Expect a lot more from her the next two to three years!
      3. Sunny Harris (Central Florida, vs Whitman): As the game reached 12-12 at the hard cap, Harris (9 assists, 1 goal) had been involved in almost every Central Florida score.  She then came up with two big blocks on universe point, but it wasn’t quite enough for Central Florida to pull out the win.

Cassie Swafford (Ohio State) goes over Julia Snyder in semis (Alex Fraser - Ultiphotos)

All-Tourney Team:

      1. Sophie Darch (Oregon)
      2. Lien Hoffmann (Northwestern)
      3. Barbara Hoover (Washington)
      4. Sarah Meckstroth (Minnesota)
      5. Julia Snyder (Carleton)
      6. Cassie Swafford (Ohio State)
      7. Chelsea Twohig (Iowa)

All Underclass Team:

      1. Kirstie Barton (Carleton, Fr)
      2. Nina Finley (Ohio State, Fr)
      3. Sarah Hansen (Virginia, So)
      4. Alika Johnston (Virginia, So)
      5. Bethany Kaylor (Oregon, So)
      6. Jesse Shofner (Oregon, So)
      7. Qxhna Titcomb (Tufts, So)

Top Handlers:

      1. Sophie Darch (Oregon)
      2. Alika Johnston (Virginia)
      3. Crystal Koo (British Columbia)
      4. Julia Snyder (Carleton)
      5. Chelsea Twohig (Iowa)

Top Receivers:

      1. Barbara Hoover (Washington)
      2. Flannery McArdle (Carleton)
      3. Sarah Meckstroth (Minnesota)
      4. Jen Nowak (Iowa)
      5. Lisa Pitcaithley (California-Santa Barbara)

Top Defenders:

Bailey Zahniser smothers Liza Minor on the mark (Nick Lindeke - Ultiphotos)

      1. Lien Hoffmann (Northwestern)
      2. Anna Pritchard (Iowa)
      3. Chelsea Twohig (Iowa)
      4. Bailey Zahniser (Oregon)
      5. Morgan Zajonc (Oregon)

Best Of Stats:

      1. Triple Doubles: Last year Catherine Hui (UBC) went 15+ G/A/D, but nobody hit that this year. Sarah Meckstroth was closest (22/14/20), while Lien Hoffmann (17/12/19) and Sarah Hansen (15/10/10) also got triple-doubles.
      2. Plus/Minus: Meckstroth (+35), Barbara Hoover (+29), Hoffmann (+27), Cami Nelson (+27), Cassie Swafford (+26), Kayla Ramirez (Texas, +24), Julia Snyder (+23), Liza Minor (Iowa, +22), Bethany Kaylor (+22), Lisa Pitcaithley (+21), Magon Liu (Iowa State, +21), Mariel Hammond (UCF, +21), Lorraine Guerin (Wisconsin, +20), and Marlena Hartman-Filson (Carleton, +20) were all +20 or better.
      3. Assist/Turnover Ratio: For players with more than 10 assists, the best assist to turnover ratio goes to Kayla Ramirez of Texas (2.8). Followed by Swafford (1.82), Nelson (1.79), Laura Fradin (Tufts, 1.67), Liu (1.64), Kaylor (1.54), Minor (1.42), Snyder (1.32), Paige Soper (Ohio State, 1.2), Rena Kawabata (UBC, 1.14), Finley (1.1), Pitcaithley (1.09).
      4. Outstanding Performers: Goals – Hoover (27), Meckstroth (22), McArdle (20), Emily Lloyd (Georgia, 20), Hartman-Filson (19). Assists – Sunny Harris (UCF, 32), Snyder (29), Amanda Kostic (Washington, 26), Nelson (25), Twohig (25). Blocks – Meckstroth (20), Hoffmann (19), Harris (15), Vivianne Fortin (Ottawa, 15), Samantha Young (UCF, 13).
      5. Most Impactful (Assists+Turnovers): For some players, assists and turnovers don’t tell the whole story of the responsibility placed on these handlers to lead their teams. Sunny Harris led in A+T with 68, outdistancing Sophie Darch and Amanda Kostic (both with 53) by quite a bit. Michela Meister (Stanford, 52), Twohig (52), Snyder (51), Johnston (48), Claudia Tajima (Tufts, 46), Natalie DePalma (Minnesota, 46), and Pitcaithley (44) round out the top 10.

Best Uniforms:

      1. Washington Sublimated Whites
      2. Oregon Greens

Worst Uniforms:

      1. Santa Barbara Blues
      2. Tufts Blues

Very Premature 2014 Predictions

      1. Ryan: Washington over Stanford
      2. Adam: Washington over Oregon
      3. Kami: Oregon over Iowa
      4. Robyn: Oregon over Tufts

Favorite Photos:

      1. Zajonc strips Nowak?
      2. Letourneau bids
      3. Chastain wins Callahan
      4. Carleton cheers
      5. Ohio State rushes the field
      6. McArdle and Reed celebrate

During the Tournament Coverage:

Feature photo of Darch pulling by Alex Fraser (Ultiphotos).

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