Another week of Conference Championships! Here’s what’s what:
Women’s: After weather postponed them, these teams are chomping at the bit. Six spots are up for grabs among the eight teams. UNC-W Seaweed and North Carolina Pleaides will battle for the top spot, but the excitement will come from behind them. Clemson, South Carolina, Appalachian State, and Duke could fall into most any combination.
Western New York
Open: #1 seed Cornell, the team that just won’t go away, will once again have to defend their honor against opponents targeting them. #2 seed SUNY-Buffalo is their top challenger, but Cornell won their NEO matchup 13-7. With five bids for these eight teams, there might not be any pressure here, though.
Women’s: #1 seed Ottawa is a heavy favorite, and probably the favorite in the Region, to take one of the six bids available. Cornell and Rochester have solid results, but how about mysterious Syracuse? They’ve played one tournament, where a total of two points were scored against them, although they forfeited a game. Could they make noise?
Greater New England
Women’s: The potential excitement of this one is diminished by the eight team/eight bids love-fest. Seeing how Dartmouth and Vermont stack up is interesting: Dartmouth has played higher level competition but Vermont has seen more Ws; their only common opponent is Texas, who beat Princess Layout 12-11 and Vermont 13-5. Don’t sleep on Brown.
Open: Connecticut has made themselves the favorite in this three bid Conference of five teams. Don’t be surprised to see #3 seed Yale perform well. They have some solid wins this season so far.
Women’s: There are only three teams here, but a single bid up for grabs. BYU has a 13-7 win over Irvine while Utah lost to that some Irvine squad. Utah lost to PLU by less than Montana did. Otherwise, we don’t know much. One day tournament. Let the drama begin.
Open: Nine teams will vie for five bids in what could be interesting. #1 seed Oregon shouldn’t have trouble, though #2 seed Oregon State took them to double game earlier this year. Oregon State isn’t in the clear, as they lost to #3 seed Victoria earlier this season. It has been a long time since Victoria had seen competitive play, so that may affect their game. #4 seed Washington has had a tough year where they have yet to meet expectations, and #5 seed Western Washington and #6 seed British Columbia are capable squads.
Women’s: Last year’s two Championship Finalists, plus two of USAU’s top 10 ranked teams, begin their journey to the Championships. There are five bids for the eight teams here, so only #4 seed Victoria – who some are a bit skeptical of, after great early season results and a quiet second half bolstered their rankings – is really at risk here. Victoria had no trouble with #6 seed Oregon State last time they played (11-2 W), but I expect #5 seed Western Washington to be much improved. Not sure how hard the top three (#1 seed Oregon, #2 seed UBC, and #3 seed Washington) will even go at one another.
Open: With four bids, #1 seed Penn is a clear favorite, having won their past two tournaments. #2 seed Millersville fell to Penn 11-15 in their last matchup at Millersville’s home tournament Final. They’ll be out for some revenge.
Women’s: An interesting setup in Boulder, where four teams go straight into a bracket with a backdoor to compete for three bids. It seems really unlikely that anybody besides Colorado-B will be left at home.
Women’s: Out in the Desert (that sounds so epic), just a single bid is at stake for four teams. #1 seed Arizona State is the favorite, with a better record than #2 seed Arizona, and some extra wins vs. common opponents (UCLA, UC-Santa Cruz). #3 seed Northern Arizona holds a head to head win over #4 seed New Mexico.
Open: Eight bids, 11 teams. Not a ton of drama.