Emerald City Classic: Tournament Preview (Women’s)

San Francisco Fury v. Seattle Riot at the 2013 US Open.
Photo by Brandon Wu — UltiPhotos.com

San Francisco Fury, Seattle Riot, Vancouver Traffic, and the relative Japanese unknown Huck will compete at this weekend’s Emerald City Classic. Here’s a look at the top stories heading into the weekend.

Fighting For the #1 Spot

A four team setup has us looking at Rounds 3 and 4 of the year-long Fury vs. Riot series. Each team has a win so far, but with Fury’s coming more recently at the US Open, along with the title they won there, San Francisco sits atop our Power Rankings. However, the scores of their battles in Seattle will help define who’s holding the upper hand.

Keep an eye on the Riot handler core. Now officially without Rohre Titcomb, on top of losing Alyssa Weatheford, more pressure will be on veterans Gwen Ambler and Drew Johnson, the emerging Angelica Boyden, and newbies Sabrina Fong and Shira Stern. Lining up on the other side will be two of our advanced statistics darlings: unsung hero Lakshmi Narayan and big play Lisa Pitcaithley.

Traffic Testing Themselves Against the Best

The Vancouver Traffic women are off to a nice start on the club circuit, having put up a 5-1 showing at Terminus. Their only loss came against Atlanta Ozone, which was overshadowed by wins over Heist, Molly Brown, and Brute Squad. They managed this without a full slate of talent. That problem should be rectified at a close to home tournament that isn’t interfered with by various international commitments.

They’ll get a crack at some of the West Coast giants they typically see more often each season, including the Riot team they need to beat to win the Northwest region.

International Competition Preparing Teams for HUCK

So many players across the three North American rosters have played against Japanese ultimate in the past few weeks. Riot and Fury have both toppled Japan’s MUD, on top of the World Games and U-23 World Championships pitting Canadians and Americans against Japanese opponents. HUCK is mysterious, but expect the element of surprise to be minimized by experience.

The Triple Crown Tour Giveth, The Triple Crown Tour Taketh Away

At the Tour’s last stop in Atlanta, we saw an unremarkable regional tournament turned into one of the most competitive tourneys of season, in just a year. This coming weekend, Colorado Cup will also bring together a fairly strong field. The spectacle and opportunities of the early US Open are well known.

The other side of that coin is tournaments like Emerald City Classic. The 2012 ECC brought together 14 of the top squads; 11 of the 14 teams that attended would qualify for the Club Championships that season. Now, along with no Men’s Division whatsoever, the Women’s Division will field just four teams, while the Mixed Division — a TCT event — boasts the strongest field.

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