Four high school girls teams, Cutting Edge, HB Woodlawn, Saga, and Woodside traveled to Morrisville, NC for second annual Girls Only! tournament. In the spirit of the Paideia Cup, traveling teams were housed with host families. Two teams, HB Woodlawn and Saga, split into X and Y squads in order to provide more playing opportunities for the rookies, freshmen, and in the case of Saga, middle schoolers. The forecast prediction for a wintry mix Saturday morning held off and both days turned into sunny warm spring days. With Breakmark providing some fantastic tournament gear, the tournament commenced.
It was clear from the outset that Saga was intent on defending the tournament title despite sending a split squad. Neither the X nor Y team dropped a game going into their head to head matchup in the final round of play on Saturday. Saga X jumped out to an early 6-1 lead, anchored by U-19 tryouts Ashley Powell and Elisabeth Parker. Saga Y, with U-19 hopefuls Domenica Sutherland and Katie Cubrilovic, tried to mount a comeback late in the game, but Saga X was able to hold them off and won handily 11-4.
After losing some girls for SAT prep, HB Woodlawn decided to create a Varsity-JV mix of X and Y teams for the tournament. HB’s roster also includes three U-19 trout invitees, with Maddy Boyle and Allison Hahn both making the trip for the weekend. Both teams played strong Saturday, only losing to Saga X and Y. They did so while trying to incorporate JV and Varsity on the same split squad.
Woodside traveled from outside of Norfolk, VA Saturday morning after receiving a first round bye. They came out of the gates with a purpose, getting strong play from Heather Ford, Katie Newton, and Harlee Hayes to take game one 15-1 over Cutting Edge. They also put up a couple of good games against HB X and Y, but were unable to pick up any more wins.
Cutting Edge is a young team from Raleigh, NC that is working to grow the number of girls playing ultimate in that city. Their youth showed as they consistently looked out-manned over the course of Saturday. However, standouts Vany Nguyen and Alison Bashford kept playing hard, and each game the team as a whole looked better and better.
HB suffered a slew of injuries over the course of Saturday, and requested to recombine their team into a single one in order to help alleviate the situation. After a discussion by the coaches it was decided that both Saga and HB would recombine so as to maintain an equal number of teams for the brackets. Following the final round of pool play, the seedings for the brackets were (1) Saga, (2) HB, (3) Woodside, and (4) Cutting Edge. Both semifinals went to seed, placing Saga vs. HB in the finals and Woodside vs. Cutting Edge in third place game.
Seeking to overcome their large defeat to Woodside in pool play, Cutting Edge dominated the third place game from start to finish. Young players Miranda Munoz and Olivia were able to consistently get open against a tired Woodside team that was dealing with its own injury issues. Cutting Edge finished off the game 10-5 to take third place, showing a lot of growth over the weekend.
The finals game pitted two teams that love to compete with one another and have established a bond through their many battles. Saga proved to be spoiler last season, stopping HB’s run at Southerns in the semis. Both teams feature U-19 tryout invitees and feature impressive depth. Looking to avenge their pool play losses, HB jumped out to an early 3-2 lead with an upwind break. Saga was quick to respond, reeling off three breaks to take the lead 6-3. Saga never looked back and stretched out the lead to an 11-6 victory to repeat as Girls Only! champions.
Both teams gave their rookies and younger players significant play time throughout the weekend, showing the depth of each roster. The two squads will compete again later this month at the YULA invite in Arlington, VA, along with Stuyvesant, Columbia, HUDA, Woodside, and Radnor.