The Southeast Region seems to be growing more and more competitive, on both sides of the gender gap. The Women’s side has a number teams vying for what could wind up being one or two bids to Nationals. Traditionally a one bid region, it’ll be a fight all the way, and last year showed you can’t take anything for granted into those fateful days of the Series. Here’s a brief look at how the region stacks up, topped off by the Big 4: UGA, UCF, FSU, and UF.
Georgia Dawgma (9-4)
Key IR Wins: UF x2, FSU x2, UCF
Key IR Losses: FSU
Key OR Wins: None
Dawgma opened the year strong, coming off of a fall where they dominated Southeast competition and won a double game point finals victory at CCC over Texas. They could really use that out of region win on their record now. They were by far the strongest performing team at Florida Winter Classic, which allowed them to assert themselves over the in-region competition and stake out a nice win %. Unfortunately, they disappointed at QCTU, failing any marquee wins (their best win was a 15-5 win over Wash U, a team UCF beat 11-2) and losing their first in-region game to Florida State, 11-10. The talent is there for this team and they were battling health issues at QCTU, but we’ve heard this song before. This is the most talented team Athens has fielded in a while and excuses are not calculated in the ranking algorithm. A rebound performance at Music City Mash-Up would be huge: there’s a rematch of that glorious CCC Final against Texas and a competition for the top spot in the SE against UCF on the docket. They need to get a big out-of-region win – probably two – if they want to reestablish themselves.
Central Florida Sirens (8-6)
Key IR Wins: Florida
Key IR Losses: FSU x2, UGA, UF
Key OR Wins: Michigan (12-7), Wisconsin (9-6), UNC-Wilmington (12-11)
UCF’s start was the exact opposite of Georgia’s: unimpressive Florida Winter Classic, where they took some tough losses to the SE’s top competition, and then a huge showing at QCTU against out of region competition. They carry virtually every big Southeast win against competition from the rest of the country. This break out performance makes them a team to watch. Michigan had a really poor showing at QCTU, but that win over Wisconsin stands out as a big one and is a sign anybody sleeping on the Sirens may not get to wake up at all. A chance to add to their resume with a game against Texas is good, but for UCF, beating Georgia – the team who tore up their ticket to Nationals last year – will be more than sweet revenge, but a statement about who really runs the Southeast.
Florida State SLUT (7-6)
Key IR Wins: UF x2, UCF x2, UGA
Key IR Losses: UGA x2
Key OR Wins: Michigan (13-7)
This has been coming for a while. FSU has been knocking on the door and they have finally broken through as one of the region’s elite. They put up solid showings are both FWC and QCTU, getting wins out of every other team in the Big 4. Beating UGA at QCTU was huge for the Seminole Ladies, as it was a sign that they have the talent and ability to beat anyone in the Southeast and a legitimate shot at the crown. While they will not be at Music City, they will be hosting Tally Classic (side note: great tourney for mid-level SE teams) where they will look to score decisive wins over next tier SE talent (GCSU, Alabama, USF) and some similarly seated talent from other regions (Notre Dame, Purdue). They’ll have to wait for Centex to get their shot at adding some more big wins to their list and proving their mettle.
Florida FUEL (6-8)
Key IR Wins: UCF
Key IR Losses: FSU x2, UGA x2, UCF
Key OR Wins: None
Florida had a tough start to the Spring, coming away from their home tourney FWC with just one notable win to show for it. At QCTU, they did give Pitt a tight game and had a five point loss to eventual winner, Iowa State, with a pair of wins against a short-rostered Maryland team as well. It was definitely a sign of progress for a team that I expect to come on much stronger and surprise some folks at Centex. Right now, you have to put them at the bottom of the pile. Music City offers a chance to stake their claim and prove they are still Southeast elite. Unlike UCF and UGA, they’ll draw three opponents where any win would be the highlight win to jumpstart them (Pittsburgh, Ohio State, and Michigan). Opportunity is staring FUEL in the face.
To start the spring, it seemed the most likely threat to challenge the Big 4 was Emory, the most recent Southeast team that was in the club. However, they stumbled through an awful FWC, failing to grab a single victory. While they rebounded with wins over Bama (x2) and USF at a very windy and unsanctioned Flick’N Nuts, they will need a strong showing at next weekend’s Midwest Throwdown in order to push back up in the middle tier – for now, they are in the backseat. South Florida notched a pair of wins over the aforementioned Emory squad at FWC and played Florida tight, and also made finals at Flick’N Nuts. I’d say they reside in the shotgun spot at the top of the middle tier. If they can take down the other SE middle tier teams they see at Tally Classic and/or beat FSU, they will be in a great position.
GCSU’s performance at their home tourney, Flick’N Nuts, gets them mention. They won the tournament despite a short roster. In fact, with a solid group of girls that relies on no stud to bail them out, they might even be better with a short rotation where they all know each other well. Their Tally Classic will be our first chance to see what they really look like. Georgia Tech has a solid record and will get some shots at Music City, so keep an eye on that one. Wreck has arguably the region’s best player, and despite losing some of their best cutting talent this Spring, has cultivated the depth to keep winning.
Bama and Tulane have both been pushing to finally give the Gulf Coast strong representation.T-Throwdown was a chance to finally find out more about these teams, even as an unsanctioned event. Tulane went undefeated on the way to winning the tournament and I’ve heard they were by far the strongest performing squad in Tuscaloosa. Auburn also had a strong weekend, making the finals. Alabama struggled through a disappointing weekend, with a winless Saturday, which definitely surprised me to hear. A rebound at Tally Classic will shoot them up the rankings.
As I see it? Just for the time being, and almost entirely based on known Spring results:
- 5. USF
- 6. Tulane
- 7. GCSU
- 8. Georgia Tech
- 9. Auburn
- 10. Emory
- 11. Alabama
- 12. Georgia State
What to Watch
3/2-3/3: Midwest Throwdown (Emory)
3/9-3/10: Music City Mash-Up (UGA, UCF, UF, GT), Tally Classic (FSU, USF, Bama, GCSU)
After that, Centex, Southerns, and Terminus will be on deck. I’m not sure where Tulane or Auburn are headed next, but obviously, keep an eye on where they are.