Starting in Pool A, Virginia and UNC – the two top ranked teams in the AC Region – met up for the first time this season. The first half was a back and forth battle, with each team leading at some point, but no lead ever extending past a point. Virginia was able to take the lead late as the soft cap went on and finished off FFH’s first Game To Watch (GTW) 13-12.
Iowa took on Colorado in their Centex opener. Kali was still looking for a statement win against elite competition while Iowa looked to protect their #1 overall seed. Almost the entire game was a series of traded points. It wasn’t until late in the game that the Kali women were able to get a break. They’d add a second to win 15-13 and notch one of the tournament’s first upsets.
In Pool B, we got started with one of the FFH GTW, a 1/3 matchup of Wisconsin and UC-Santa Barbara. The Burning Skirts were able to avenge their Stanford Invite loss to Wisconsin with a 13-10 victory, although they unfortunately lost star Alicia Thompson for the weekend to an ankle injury. Tufts Ewo took an early lead against Pittsburgh Danger, taking half 8-3. Danger would make it close in the end, but not dig out of the hole, and Ewo started the day with a 13-11 win.
Pool C was a bit of a first round blood bath. Perennial powers Carleton (1) and Stanford (4) took on upstarts Central Florida (3) and Minnesota (2). The old money was able to beat the new bloods handily, Carleton beating UCF 13-5 and Stanford rolling Minnesota 15-5.
The first round of Pool D would pit Ohio State Fever against UNC-Wilmington Seaweed and Iowa State Woman Scorned versus California Pie Queens. Seaweed superstar Claire Chastain was in full effect, helping UNC-W take a couple of early breaks, which would prove enough to survive the ensuing point trading. Seaweed would win 15-13. Iowa State’s quartet of studs – all U23 players – connected for the first two points to take the 2-0 lead over Cal. The teams would tie at 6s, but Scorned would control the rest of the game, scoring 9 of the next 11 points to win 15-8.
In the second round, Iowa rebounded, going up early against UNC and never relenting. A number of connecting hucks throughout the game helped Saucy Nancy take a 15-10 win. In the 2/4 seed game, Virginia Hydra scored some early breaks to stake out a lead against Colorado Kali. They’d take half 8-5. Kali would get within two late, but couldn’t overcome Virginia’s D, leading to a 15-12 final score.
In Pool B, Tufts and UCSB was another FFH GTW, and Ewo was able to take momentum in the first half, rolling to an 8-3 lead over the Thompson-less Skirts. They’d cruise to a 15-8 W. Pittsburgh would continue their pattern of tight games with elite competition, but couldn’t top Wisconsin, falling 13-11. The last time these teams saw each other, Wisconsin won 13-2, though it was the last game of their QCTU weekends.
In Pool C, two emotional teams looking to rebound from disappointing losses would take each other on in Minnesota and UCF. The Ninjas would take a 4-0 lead and never look back, winning 15-7 in an important bidwatch game. Carleton and Stanford would have a great battle. Superfly took a three point lead into half, but couldn’t maintain it against Anna Reed’s hucks to big time receivers. They’d come down to universe point, which Carleton would score to win 13-12.
The winners of Round 1 in Pool D, Iowa St. and UNC-W would see one another. After controlling the first half to the tune of 8-5, Iowa St. would have to fend off a UNC-W team that wouldn’t back down. The Wilmington ladies brought it back to 13-12 before Iowa St. finished it off, 15-13. Ohio St. and California were each eagerly seeking a win and to make a name for themselves in the rankings. Fever would cruise to a 15-7 win.
Iowa asserted themselves in Pool A, with a nice 15-10 win over a Virginia team that had been playing very well up that point. Colorado, who started off the day with their big upset of the tournament’s number one seed, would fail to register another Pool Play win. North Carolina would win their first game of the weekend convincingly, 13-8, making the pool’s final standings Iowa, Virgina, UNC, and Colorado.
Pool B saw Ewo jumping out to an 8-4 lead on Wisconsin. Bella Donna, coming off a close game with Pittsburgh, was unable to keep up with a relatively fresh Tufts squad. Ewo takes it 15-10. Santa Barbara’s game against Pittsburgh started off competitive, but the Skirts were able to put together a run to take half 8-5. Danger never recovered, losing 15-9. Pool B – the pool I’d say was toughest to call – would finish Tufts, UCSB, Wisconsin, Pittsburgh.
Carleton and Minnesota would have their first matchup of the season in a North Central litmus test in Pool C. Minnesota would take half 8-6, but Carleton would fight back in the second, coming from down 8-10 to win 14-12. Being able to close games is something the Ninjas will likely learn over the course of this season. Perhaps still worn out from their double game point battle with Carleton, Stanford had a let down against Central Florida. Central Florida would score a huge #bidwatch win, 15-10. The pool would be settled as Carleton, Stanford, Minnesota, UCF.
The top spot was up for grabs going into Pool D’s last round, with nothing settled yet. Ohio State and Iowa State would play in the game that would decide to the pool winner. Ohio State, in part behind the return of U23 selection and all around star Cassie Swafford, joining back up with Skyd Five Callahan selection Paige “Diddy” Soper. They really helped open up Fever’s deep game on their way to a 14-11 win. In an important #bidwatch game that would also decide who would fall to the dangerous DII crossover game, UNC-Wilmington and Cal went down to the wire. The west coasters would close out, 14-13, making the pool standings OSU, ISU, Cal, UNC-W.
Pool E started off to script, with Michigan besting Dartmouth and Western Washington outscoring TAMU. However, Stacked would rebound in the next round, upsetting Michigan 16-15 on double game point. Dartmouth would do the same to Western Washington, 13-9. In an FFH GTW, Michigan responded with a dominant victory over Western Washington, 15-4. TAMU would take the pool with a 13-10 score over Dartmouth.
In Pool F, Texas Melee got the big start they needed, a nice win over Whitman. They’d continue on to an undefeated Saturday. UC-San Diego would struggle, failing to notch a pool play win. Whitman was able to beat Colorado College 14-12 to take the second spot in the pool.
In Pool G, the top two seeds – Florida State and UCLA – had clean wins on the way to seeing one another for the pool win. Meanwhile, MIT – a #bidwatch team with the chance to score critical wins – failed to get what they were looking for. UCLA would get by Florida State 10-8 and MIT would fall to Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 13-8.
Northwestern and Northeastern wound up in Pool H and both would be undefeated going into their final round. Northeastern was cruising, with a big win over Wash U and solid win over Florida. Northwestern had battled with Florida and also cleaned up against Wash U. The two teams played a grinding game, and Northeastern scored the upset, 12-11. Florida would dominate Wash U in the 3/4 game.
Saturday concluded with the pool winners from D-II meeting the pool losers from D-I. These games can be risky propositions, with the pool winners usually riding highs while the pool losers are struggling to find a rhythm. That did not faze most of the D-I squads: UNC-W beat Northeastern 13-10, UCF bested UCLA 15-7, and Colorado took care of TAMU 15-9. Texas, however, continued their run by knocking off Pittsburgh 15-9.
PreQuarters set up with:
- Iowa vs. UNC-W
- Santa Barbara vs. Minnesota
- OSU vs. Colorado
- Stanford vs. Wisconsin
- Tufts vs. UCF
- Virginia vs. California
- Carleton vs. Texas
- ISU vs. UNC
Wisconsin has not had the start to Centex they’d have wanted or that the hype would indicate. Sunday’s a new day and Stanford will also look to get back to winning ways. Last time they saw each other, it was 13-11 at the Stanford Invite in Bella Donna’s favor. This one is pretty crucial.
Another game to watch will be Tufts vs. UCF. UCF will need to keep it close for their #bidwatch purposes, but they are also coming off two wins to end Saturday. A team that feeds off of their emotions like the Sirens can get hot, while Tufts seems to be very even keel.
Colorado had a strong start to the weekend with their surprise win over Iowa and playing a very tight game with Virginia. A win over Ohio State – still trying to find consistency – could be the beginning of a huge weekend to rival Wisconsin’s Stanford Invite. This could be a real game to watch.
Finally, shout out to tgilbz and Lina rocks my world. Boo to bad weather and boo to this year’s Southerns.