The Metro East has had trouble generating much buzz this year. Their top teams haven’t seen much national competition, leaving their full strength a bit of a mystery. Make no mistake, these ladies will be fighting tooth and nail to be the one to leave Saratoga Springs as Metro East Women’s Champions. The Ottawa Lady GGs are the evil empire of this region, again taking the #1 seed, and have been to the College Championships for five of the past six years. Since the regional redraw, Ottawa has not only won the region, but barely been pushed. You can’t help but see a parrallel with the Open division, where Cornell is the perennial power that nobody seems to be able to take down, even with contenders targeting them all year. As we ask each year, is 2013 Metro East Women’s Regionals the year someone takes Ottawa down?
With 15 teams, it gets a bit complex, but here’s seedings (by my estimation) and pools:
- Ottawa (WNY #1)
- NYU (EME #1)
- Rochester (WNY #2)
- Cornell (WNY #3)
- Yale (EME #2)
- Columbia (EME #3)
- TCNJ (ME-III #1)
- Hofstra (EME #4)
- Princeton (EME #5)
- Hamilton (ME-III #3)
- SUNY-Buffalo (WNY #4)
- Syracuse (WNY #5)
- Central Conn St. (EME #6)
- Connecticut (EME #7)
- Cornell-B (WNY #6)
Pool A: Ottawa, Hofstra, Syracuse, Central Conn St.
Pool B: NYU, TCNJ, SUNY-Buffalo, Connecticut
Pool C: Rochester, Columbia, Hamilton, Cornell-B
Pool D: Cornell, Yale, Princeton
The first place team from each pool will bye into Quarters while the second and third teams will play PreQuarters crossovers.
The Ottawa Lady GG’s takes their familiar place at the top of Region. A familiar face will be leading from the sideline in former GG’s stud Kathryn Pohran, their current coach. They have just one loss on the season – a 4-12 flop against Pacific Lutheran in the Trouble in Vegas Final – and have only had double digits scored on them once in their wins. The last time they played a nationals-level team was at the 2012 College Championships, where they lost every game. However, they’ve already beaten two of the other pool #1 seeds in close games at Western New York Conference Championships. They have no reason to feel anything but confident coming into the weekend. They are still armed with high level talent, with two U23 Canada team members in Kaylee Sparks and Vivianne Fortin, backed up by both 2012’s 1st and 2nd Metro East FOTY Hannah Dawson and Romy Proulx, respectively.
Hofstra Flying Dutchmen comes into the weekend with a less than stellar record. However, they have beaten some of the teams they’ll see this weekend, including a win over TCNJ earlier the season and a dominant 10-2 victory over a solid Princeton team at East Metro East Conference Championships. Those are the kinds of performances they’ll need to repeat to make the bracket and compete with the Region’s best. They showed they could last year with a Semifinal appearance.
Syracuse Fox Force Seven was actually one of my favorite little quirks coming into Conference Championships. They were essentially a blank slate. A glance at their 2-5 record doesn’t tell the whole story. Look at these scores! They played a strong game against Cornell, falling 9-10 (after losing by a point in scrimmage a week prior). They beat SUNY-Buffalo 10-6, but then lost to them 6-11. Basically, I’m still not sure what to make of them. Could they spoil someone’s Regionals? Should be fun to find out.
Central Connecticut State Blue Barracudas could be in for a tough weekend, but they are one of the few teams that has already seen Ottawa. Sure, they got beaten soundly in that game, but could that give them an edge that allows them to keep up with the top seed? After getting blown out in virtually every game at Conferences last year, they are probably excited just to have grown so much.
The NYU Violet Femmes have been gearing up for this all year. Their year has been focused on developing depth, strategy, and execution specifically designed to have them at their best at Regionals. While I’m betting their hungry to get a crack at an Ottawa team they believe they can beat, they know better than to look past anyone. Captain Julia Longinotti noted “There are a lot of teams vying for that one bid…we are focused on us.” Karen Chalif, a 2012 2nd Team All-Region selection and Bent player, is the team’s leading playmaker, but she’s not alone. “We are an incredibly deep team,” added Longinotti, citing that as the team’s biggest advantage this weekend, “The stats are spread out so much [with] roughly half the team.” Their big rotation should keep them fresh for the bracket Sunday. The Femmes have shown the capacity to dominate, with their only struggles this year coming at Garden State. They have to be the favorite to steal the bid from Ottawa.
The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) Anarchy is on a roll, coming off an undefeated and unchallenged weekend at Metro East D-III Conferences. They came in the five seed, but didn’t let that deter them from working the field over, showing they aren’t afraid to be an underdog. They have a win against a solid Hofstra squad and played Carnegie-Mellon tight. They’ve also been blown out by Columbia and St. Mary’s College. There’s potential here for a darkhorse.
SUNY-Buffalo Lorax is a veteran squad that doesn’t have great regular season results, but piques interest. They played Ottawa tight at WNY Champies, which is a good way to attract attention. It is hard to tell what we will get from them with so little background, but this is a team that is experienced and won’t shy away from tough games.
Connecticut has had a fairly short and challenging season. They’ve seen some fairly strong competition, but not fared well in those games. It may have helped prepare them for the type of play they’ll see at Regionals, but their results so far don’t leave room for the highest of expectations.
The Rochester EZ’s head up this pool after their upset showing at WNY Conferences, where they topped Cornell 10-9 and earned the 3rd overall seed at Regionals. Earlier in the weekend, they were beaten by Cornell and struggled against Ottawa, so there are still doubts about their ability to compete consistently with top teams all weekend. The top end of their roster is strong, competitive, and experienced, and former Rutgers standout Amanda Davis has stepped in to coach. With some All-Region caliber talent, there’s no reason they can’t battle with the best.
Columbia NYPD could be scary from the 2 spot in this pool. They came into the College Series with one loss on the season, and big wins over Hofstra, Brown, and TCNJ. Their EME CC’s performance was a surprisingly weak one, dropping four games, including two against Yale. They’ll need to rebound if they want to be impactful on Sunday.
Hamilton is a team I can’t profess to know much about. Limited results and D-III Conferences just doesn’t tell us much. The games they’ve won, they’ve typically won big, and their losses tend to be close. That profiles out as a scrappy team capable of putting their opponents in tough positions and putting the onus on them to play mistake-free Ultimate…but to be real, that’s just guesswork. Who knows what they’ll bring to the table?
Cornell-B Thorny Roses will be doing what they can this weekend. In some cases, that’s quite a bit. They played Rochester very tight at Garden State III, losing by just a point. Lesson is: don’t expect to waltz in and out of a game with this team.
Cornell Wild Roses have high expectations coming into this weekend. They’ve played a lot this season, seeing a variety of teams at four tournaments before the Series. They notched good wins over Penn and JMU, and played well against NYU and Penn State. At Conferences, they took down Rochester once before eventually losing to them in the placement rematch. They’ve got strong coaching which preaches good fundamentals. Standounts ininclude Captain and Callahan nominee Hannah Boone, a former FOTY who dominates the air, and budding stud and 2012 2nd Team All-Region player Sarah Zhao. Their Conferences matchup against Ottawa was a 9-12 loss, and having seen each of the other top teams, they might be the best prepared team in the Region to win it all.
Yale Ramona seems to have finally hit stride. They lost just one game at Conferences, a close and wind-effected 5-7 loss to NYU. Their regular season had some stumbles, but all it takes is to play well at the right time. They have to feel confident they can make Quarters.
Princeton Clockwork Orange may have suffered some letdowns at Conferences. The Clockwork ladies had a nice regular season, suffering only two losses and to solid teams. At Conferences, however, they got blown out by Hofstra in a puzzling loss. After going the D-III route last year, where they tied for 13th at the Championships, they are eying the D-I Championships. I saw them earlier this year, and Julia Yue was dominant in the cutting lanes. Hannah Vasquez returns for them as well, another capable goal scorer. The question will be if they can step up defensively further down their roster.
Pool A: Ottawa, Syracuse, Hofstra, CCSU
Pool B: NYU, SUNY-Buffalo, TCNJ, Connecticut
Pool C: Rochester, Columbia, Hamilton, Cornell-B
Pool D: Cornell, Princeton, Yale
SUNY-Buffalo over Hamilton
Columbia over TCNJ
Princeton over Hofstra
Yale over Syracuse
Ottawa over SUNY-Buffalo
Cornell over Columbia
Princeton over Rochester
NYU over Yale
Ottawa over Cornell
NYU over Princeton
NYU over Ottawa
Maybe I’m a sucker for an underdog. Maybe I like that the Femmes read the blog and RT FFH. Maybe I’m just patriotic. Or maybe it is that this Lady GG’s team doesn’t feel quite like those past. Those teams had some of the best women’s players in all of Canada; not college women’s, just women’s altogether. I could be underestimating them because they lack for buzzy wins, but I feel like their current path could lead to closer, longer, more involved games than they are used to, while NYU may have an easier road. I also am oddly bullish on Princeton, but I like a team that has had some success and have doubts about Rochester’s overall strength.