September 27, 2013 by Keith Raynor in News with 0 comments
The west coast has been rightfully considered the dominant power in modern women’s ultimate, but this season, it is the Northeast Region that is the bid bully. Two regions lost bids this year and both of those bids are in the hands of the Northeast. How those bids got there, however, has been a point of contention. Some have pointed to flaws in the system that helped the Northeast; namely, that Québec Nova, a newly formed Canadian outfit, was invited to the US Open, where their losses to top teams inflated their ranking.
Off the field drama aside, four bids sit as a reward for the four teams that have the strongest weekends in Devens, Massachusetts. Four teams have emerged as the clear favorites to take those spots, so much of the drama will be seeing how they stack up against one another.
While last year the region produced a quarterfinalist in Toronto Capitals, Boston Brute Squad only managed a disappointing 12th place finish at the Club Championships. The region has the potential to make a much bigger splash this season.
Leading the charge is a revamped Boston squad, whose regular season performance earned them the #1 seed. With a bevy of strong additions, like Leila Tunnell, Courtney Kiesow, and Julie Eagle, Brute is positioning themselves to make a push for the semifinals this year. Wins over Capitals, Molly Brown, and Heist support their case, as does a close Virginia Fusion loss to Scandal.
Brute Squad poses a unique challenge to teams in that they are an unknown element. With elite talent and some new faces, many are unsure of quite how well they can perform against elite competition. In region, nobody has seen the true face of Brute, as they were maybe two-thirds strength at Club Terminus, where they battled Capitals, and a mish-mash at the Boston Invite, where they lost to New York Bent. Regionals should be a preview for what can be expected in Frisco.
Mystery shrouded Capitals last year, as they appeared only in time for the Series and to win the Northeast over Brute Squad. This year, having appeared at Club Terminus (without some big pieces) and the Pro Flight Finale, we have a better idea of what they can do. At least, you’d think so. Their Finale results are curious to say the least. Blowout losses to Scandal and Fury, very close losses to Riot and Molly Brown, and very close wins over Showdown. Make of it what you will.
New York Bent may be the team happiest for the extra bids, having just barely missed out last season. They lost to Brute Squad 14-12 in the game to go, but can expect a more comfortable ending this year. Like many teams at their talent level, Bent has performed inconsistently this season, scoring wins over Molly Brown and Schwa, but taking losses to Pop and Nightlock. Upsetting one of the top two seeds would be huge for women from NYC.
Nova is the final of the big four, still riding the strength of early season wins. They beat Bent at the Boston Invite in June before losing all of their US Open games (though some were close). The Canadian women had no trouble at Sectionals and played in the Canadian Ultimate series, so they’ve been working. At the US Open, however, they looked to have the talent and aggressiveness to compete with Championships-caliber competition. The issue that they haven’t proved that yet. This weekend will give them the chance to do so.
Challenging from the lower seeds are teams like Montreal Storm and Nova Scotia The Collective. The Collective comes in 11-0, having played one June tournament and Sectionals, with one of those wins a 10-9 triumph over Storm. The mysterious team also gave Capitals a good game at last year’s Regionals. Storm hasn’t had as much success, losing handily to Nova both times they’ve faced off. It’ll be an uphill battle for them.
It is a very different type of competition at this year’s Northeast Regionals. Teams are scrapping for spots so much as jockeying for positioning. These teams have not seen much of each other in the new Triple Crown Tour format. That’s enough to make for an interesting weekend for the bid-richest region in the division. It is time for us to meet the new Northeast and time for them to greet each other.