March 12, 2013 by Elizabeth Fritz in News, Recap with 0 comments
Twelve D-1 College Women’s teams from the Metro-East, Ohio Valley, and Atlantic Coast regions gathered in Newark, Delaware for a sunny weekend of competition. The Delaware Classic served as a fundraiser for host University of Delaware, as well as an opportunity for inter-region learning and competition. Delaware captains and Classic organizers Grace Relf, Elise Lontos, and Natalie Zielinski decided to host both the B-Level Piggly Fest, and A-Level Classic this year, as opposed to only the formerly A-Level Piggly Fest. They expressed a desire to give B-Teams and developing programs an opportunity for competition, and also provide a separate option for advanced teams to accrue sanctioned games.
Zielinski highlighted the importance of cross-regional competition, saying that “we can get lazy when we play teams we know” and that facing new teams allows room for “enhancing the overall knowledge of ultimate” which she feels benefits every team in a different way. Whether learning to adjust to a new defense, or adopting elements of a specific offense, teams at this tournament gained the advantage of facing opponents they may not have seen yet this year.
Many teams at this tournament brought a roster chock-full of rookies. The captains of Yale, Towson, and Delaware all spoke of wanting this tournament to be a learning experience for newer players. Towson captain Katie Grant reported losing six top players since last spring, and wanting to give a new crop of girls the playing time and experience against various levels of competition. The Delaware Classic gave Towson a chance to test out younger new handlers before heading to Southerns in a few weeks.
Grant, who is acting as captain and coach, recognizes the programmatic need to increase depth in the roster early in the spring before tough Sectionals and Regionals competition will require less equitable playing time. She sees tournaments like this weekend as a chance to enhance and prepare next year’s squad with guided experience.
Top seeds Towson, NYU, and Delaware rolled through Saturday with relative ease. Hofstra, Yale, and SUNY-Oneonta broke seed with wins throughout the day. Many teams were adjusting to yet unseen offensive and defensive strategies, taking the opportunity to learn and adapt to new teams and styles of play. Teams were regularly throwing zone defense in the face of about 15 MPH winds, which was clearly a new adventure for some rookie-heavy teams. Towson and NYU each finished Saturday with less than 10 points scored against them; impressive days for both teams.
SEMIFINALS EASY FOR TOWSON & NYU
Semifinal games pitted Towson against SUNY-Oneonta, and NYU against home team Delaware. SUNY-Oneonta looked better in semis than earlier in the weekend, showing marked improvement in flow and completions. Towson prevailed with a more experienced handler line and pure athleticism that was able to handily bring down a bunch of 50/50 throws.
NYU saw its second hardest game of the tournament against Delaware, with a final score of 14-5. Delaware ran a systematic, efficient ho-stack offense that was mostly thwarted by drops and inexperienced flow. New Delaware Coach Megan Kuhfuss saw this weekend as a time to rebuild after a disappointing showing at Queen City Tune Up, and the loss of several key players over the past 12 months to graduation and injury. Zielinski had a positive view of the NYU-Delaware game, highlighting the opportunity to learn from and adapt to unfamiliar teams. NYU’s 2-3-2 defense jumbled the Delaware offense, and gave both teams the chance to hone their strategy and flow.
NYU PREVAILS IN FINALS
The final game between top seeds Towson and NYU promised to be the best match-up of the tournament. Towson had a small squad, but was out to avenge their close loss to NYU at JMU’s Bonanza in late February. After rolling team after team on Saturday and Sunday, Towson was rested and ready to play a hard game to hold seed and take the tournament.
NYU sought victory after a tough finals loss at Bonanza, and were determined to to again break seed against Towson. In their concentrated effort to play inexperienced handlers, Towson did a great job of working the disc under through the unpredictable zone and 2-3-2 defense of NYU. Deep shots were well calculated but few and far between. Towson’s aggressive cutters were a great strength, and showed enormous future potential as fundamentals and offensive strategy become more honed in the course of the season.
NYU saw their zone offense come together in this game, and a handful of scores were from mid-field cutters putting a deep shot to a well-timed continue cut. This was easily the most competitive game of the tournament, and also a very physical match-up. Both teams were racking up run-through Ds, fouls, stalls, and hammers, making for an exciting finish. Towson made a significant run after being down at half, but it was not enough to hold seed. The final score was 12-10, with NYU coming out on top to win their first tournament of the year.
With the win, NYU looks like the team in the best position to unseat Ottawa as Metro East champion. Currently, Ottawa is ranked #60 in USA Ultimate’s rankings; NYU is #69. With a strong returning class led by Sara Rubin, Karen Chalif, and Emma Stockman, NYU looks poised to play deep into Sunday at Regionals.