Pool Play Results
A1. Rice (3-0)
A2. Saint Benedict (2-1)
A3. Georgia College (1-2)
A4. Elon (0-3)
In their first Nationals appearance, Rice held seed and won their pool handily. The notable upset in this pool came between the three and four seeds, with Georgia College pulling out the win over Elon and giving themselves an opportunity to play into the Championship Bracket.
B3. Carleton- Eclipse (3-0)
B1. Truman State (2-1)
B2. Valparaiso (1-2)
B4. Hamilton (0-3)
Carleton stunned from the three seed in the pool, pulling off upsets against Truman State in the first round and Valparaiso in the second, leaving them both to fight their way through pre-Quarters. Truman State came away with a convincing 15-7 win against Valparaiso, and while Hamilton didn’t come away with any wins, they managed to get a solid number of points up in all their games.
C1. Wake Forest (2-1)
C2. Claremont (2-1)
C3. Bowdoin (2-1)
C4. Wooster (0-3)
Early in the day it seemed as though this pool was poised to be a flurry of jumbled seeds and upsets. Bowdoin beat Wake Forest (the original one seed) in the opening round, while Claremont squeaked out a win against Bowdoin in round two. Wake Forest got down early in their fourth round game against Claremont, but managed to rally for a win. This pool came down to point differential and everyone held seed.
D1: Haverford (3-0)
D4: St. Olaf (2-1)
D3: Williams (1-2)
D2: Harding (0-3)
Haverford looked strong today with three big wins in a row. Their disciplined and athletic roster will likely get them deep into Sunday. St. Olaf caught Williams and Harding by surprise with two upsets to clinch the second seed in the pool at the end of the day, and Williams managed to beat the original second seed in the pool, Harding, to maintain their seed.
Truman State (B2) v. Bowdoin (C3)
This was a game of runs. After pulling ahead 5-1, Truman State let Bowdoin catch up, bringing the score within two before half. Truman State took the opportunity to refocus and move forward, leaving Bowdoin trailing for the rest of the game. The final score of 14-7 reflects the determination of Truman State to get into the Quarterfinals, but also Bowdoin’s loss of contributions from WJUC star Ana Leon due to a collision in pool play.
St. Benedict (A2) v. Williams (D3)
Fourth game fatigue set in and led to a very back-and-forth game between St. Benedict and Williams. It also dampened the effect Schroeder managed to have dictating offense and creating opportunities, and revealed a lack of depth in fundamental talent from the St. Benedict women. Williams managed to secure a spot moving on to the quarters with a 9-8 universe point victory.
Claremont (C2) v. Valparaiso (B3)
This match-up started off trading points with Valparaiso’s Erin Watkins sending deep looks to her grabby receivers and Claremont’s ever-reliable strike game. However, the tables turned at about halftime when Claremont’s quick resets and fewer turnovers took them on a four point run and the Chicks Hucking Discs were unable to overcome the point deficit during their last game of the day.
St. Olaf (D2) v. Georgia College (A3)
Originally ranked 16th, St Olaf Durga’s fight into the championship bracket was one of the biggest surprises of the day. Georgia College proved to be a scrappy opponent, with Paige Carver’s intense presence on defense and the game was neck and neck until right before the half when Durga’s Beret Amundson helped to establish a neater offensive flow that took St Olaf on a several point run and claim a spot in tomorrow’s quarterfinals.
New Teams Struggle, Returners Upset
A trend of rookie nerves versus veteran team savvy appeared in games on Saturday. Rice, Harding, and Wake Forest all came in with high seeds in the tournament despite never having been to D-III Nationals before. While Rice managed the pressure well–despite a brief stumble in their first game against Elon–Wake Forest faltered in their first game against Bowdoin, and Harding dropped from seed two to seed for in their pool. On the other hand, understanding the pressure of Natties seems to be an acquired skill, and D-III Nationals returners Carleton and St. Olaf used this knowledge and experience to break seed by two in both of their pools.
High-release backhand break throws were critical to offensive success on Saturday, with teams like Haverford, Rice and St Olaf benefiting hugely from the advantage of opening the whole field to their downfield cutters. Additionally, lots of teams kept chilly by utilizing a system of cutters dumping to handlers as their primary choice, rather than having them look for continuations upfield.
Several teams implemented highly effective poaches on their opponent’s handlers that tended to significantly disrupt downfield cutting. Most teams tried at least one form of zone (three-man cup with a short-deep was very popular this tournament) each game, particularly when wind, rain and a surprise, spring delivery of hail let loose during rounds two, three and four.
Fern Beetle-Moorcroft, Haverford
Haverford’s undefeated record at the championships so far is largely due to Beetle-Moorcroft’s athletic, intelligent handling style that lets her execute break throws and hucks precisely according to the on-field needs of her team.
Jodie Palmer, Claremont
Along with making breathtaking layouts and being an overall athletic powerhouse, Palmer also demonstrated her large capacity for discipline today as she time and time again made smart throws and led the Greenshirt handler set to ensure clean offensive flow.
Ana Leon, Bowdoin
While Chaos Theory won’t be playing in tomorrow’s championship bracket, Leon led the charge during highly contested games with Claremont and Wake Forest with her full-field pulls, countless assists, and enormous hucks.
Monica Matsumoto, Rice
Playing close to entire games straight seemingly effortlessly, Matsumoto is arguably one of the most dangerous handlers at this tournament because of her speedy, dynamic cutting and enormous step-around breaks that leave the whole field literally at her fingertips. She also exhibits an important degree of discipline, and clearly knows how to play within herself.
Erynn Schroeder, St Benedict
Despite her calm, “It ain’t nothing but a thang” on-field aura, Schroeder’s presence on the field is unquestionably ferocious, and on Day One she racked up points with layout catches, layout d’s, and extremely precise full-field hucks. Additionally, Schroeder alone made zone defensive looks obsolete thanks to her effective hammer looks over the cup.
Danielle Walsh, Wake Forest
Walsh is a central handler on Ruckus who continually upped the ante in games on Saturday thanks to her aggressive bidding and willingness to take the tough, long downfield throws.
Jessica Zilch, Truman State
Zilch is a constant defensive threat for Truman State and caused some critical turnovers on Saturday with her top notch field awareness and consequent out-of-nowhere, soaring bids.
Chelsea Zhu, Williams
Zhu is a keystone player on Williams thanks to her impressive bursts of speed, tricky fakes and perfect puts out to space.