It's shaping up to be an exciting spring in D-III!
March 10, 2017 by Michael Ball and Marianna Heckendorn in Rankings with 1 comments
As we pass the midpoint of the college spring season schedule, it’s time to check in with our ranked teams to see where they stand and how they’re positioned heading into the last month of the regular season before the Series. Here’s a closer look at the teams in our D-III Power Rankings.
St. Olaf Vortex rises to the top at the midpoint of the season, with a freshly painted target on its back after finishing a very impressive fifth out of forty-one teams at Midwest Throwdown. The team was slotted in the power pools and hung tight against the D-I teams with some close losses. They came out hot Sunday morning and beat Truman State in a game that pitted division standouts Tulsa Douglas and Emilie Willingham against each other. Douglas took on a cutting role for her team, and spectators commented that she succeeded in reading discs better than anyone else on the field. However Douglas’ desire to develop her team as a whole and avoid the limelight also means she avoided taking control during key situations that needed her expertise. Teammate Samantha Peterson fed Douglas several deep shots and Aidan Zielske also impressed with several upwind hucks. The team’s flow and smooth upfield continuations make them the top contenders for a national title. Centex will be a time for Vortex to dial up the intensity and hopefully we see Douglas taking a few more risks to really highlight her numerous skills.
2. Truman State TSUnami
Notable Wins: Grinnell x2, John Brown
The No. 1 team all year up to this point, Truman State was finally knocked down a spot after losing to St. Olaf in prequarters this past weekend at Midwest Throwdown. The game could have gone either way, a statement validated by the fact that both teams lost to D-I Northwestern by the same score of 10-8, though St. Olaf stood just a little taller when it counted. Emilie Willingham, Christy Crouse, and Haley Johnson control the game for TSUnami, with key experience throwing in tricky wind. Crouse brings a passionate and enthusiastic level of energy to her defense, that inspires the rest of her team. Truman State took a risk and tried out some new concepts and zone at Midwest Throwdown and there was a learning curve for its newer players. Still, they showed strong mental toughness and a reflected on a desire to focus on their controllables; they will be prepared the next time they see Vortex.
Williams beat D-I West Chester University to close out an undefeated weekend and win Bring the Huckus in February. The team also hosted an early one-day scrimmage for four New England teams, will attend College Southerns and I-85 Rodeo — all before Sectionals and Regionals. This glut of playing opportunities should certainly serve the team in good stead in order to iron out kinks in strategy and increase team chemistry as they gear up for a run to Nationals. Part of Williams’ strength comes from the fact that everyone on its starting line is capable of making huge plays. Haley Lescinsky’s long arms pull anything out of the air, Caroline Weinberg’s determination on her under cuts, Christine Reed’s consistency as a handler, and Lane Davis’s unstoppable defense are all invaluable and just a part of LaWUFA’s success thus far.
4. Rice Torque
Notable Wins: none
Like it has most every spring, Rice has played exclusively mid-level Southern D-I teams so far this season. This makes it difficult to rank the powerhouse program against D-III peers, but if history is any indicator, Torque is a Nationals threat like no other. The team maintains a solid focus on the field and pushes its handlers and cutters to value the disc in their decision-making. Veterans Kelsey Nanneman and Julie Doar are both standout cutters with a wide range of throws in their tool belts. Rice hosted and won Antifreeze and then finished third overall at Big D in Lil D after establishing their zone defense. Torque will be attending Centex with St Olaf and hopefully schedules allow for the two to compete.
5. Carleton Eclipse
Notable Wins: UC Santa Barbara x2, Washington University
Last year’s national champs, Carleton Eclipse stretches their program funding to make sure they find the most challenging playing opportunities. As a result, they’ve built impressive depth up and down the roster. Traveling across the country for Stanford Open, the team finished tied for fifth over several D-I teams; opponents remarked on Carelton’s poise and confidence as a whole team throwing in the wind. This sets Eclipse apart from its D-III counterparts, who typically rely on their top few handlers to navigate adverse conditions. Leah Roche’s strength and Haley Olson’s speed standout for this team, as well as cutter Jillian Banner’s sneaky snags and relentless effort. Carleton had a fantastic showing at Midwest Throwdown, losing just one game all weekend and then beating D-I WashU on universe to end tied for ninth. Eclipse will hopefully match up against Williams at College Southerns later this month.
6. Bates Cold Front
Notable Wins: Connecticut
Bates had a fantastic season opener at Long Island Classic last weekend. The team may have lost to both Williams and Amherst at an unsanctioned one-day tournament earlier in the spring, but a new team has emerged since Bates completed their split to A and B squads. Seattle-native Josie Gillett is a standout for Bates, using her strong athletic build to huck, break around, finagle a tricky IO, or get off a high-release. Senior Kate Cuthbert also brings a tenacity that pumps up the entire team on defense. Even after losing eleven seniors from last year, Cold Front looks primed to make another run to Nationals. Bates showing at New England Open could have a big impact on the bid allocations.
7. Portland UPRoar
Notable Wins: Puget Sound, Lewis & Clark x3
Portland UPRoar has been taking names this season. Playing in Flat Tail Open, the first tournament of the spring, UPRoar beat #8 Puget Sound 11-9 during pool play and would go on to finish third behind D-I Oregon and Oregon State. Then at PLU BBQ, a traditional barometer for Northwest D-III teams, UPRoar rolled everyone. It helps a lot that Portland’s ultimate scene is expanding, and UPRoar’s players are taking full advantage of that. Demi Horton and Markena Stand are the experienced handlers guiding the team, while sophomore cutter Maddy Otto matches provides the downfield firepower, reading and bringing down discs all over the field.
8. Puget Sound Clearcut
Notable Wins: Carleton Eclipse, Arizona State, Lewis & Clark
Puget Sound Clearcut has been rapidly building a strong program under coach Spencer Sheridan. Ellen “Cady” Kallenscher has been marked by teammates and opponents alike as one to watch; her quickness simply makes her near impossible for most to shut down. Despite picking up a loss against regional rival UPRoar at Flat Tail Open, a win over Carleton and fourth place finish at Stanford Open prove they have plenty of potential; it will be exciting to see if the team can continue their upward trajectory at Northwest Challenge in a few weeks.
9. Amherst Sparkle Motion
Notable Wins: Bowdoin, Carnegie Mellon x2
Amherst Sparkle Motion did well at Bring the Huckus, beating Carnegie Mellon for a third place finish and playing #3 Williams close with a score of 7-5 in pool play. They are set to play in more tournaments than most D-III teams this spring competing at Jersey Devil, New England Open, and then most likely at Sectionals and Regionals. Amherst is an athletic team with the frisbee knowledge to match. Several players take on key handling roles, with Julie “Cricket” Xia leading the pack with her around breaks. Sparkle Motion will have to keep up the solid play to earn a spot at Nationals out of their deep region, but if New England earns the expected four bids, this team should then be in a great spot to represent in Lexington.
10. Valparaiso Chicks Hucking Discs
Notable Wins: none
Still no points on the board for the Chicks Hucking Discs this spring. Valparaiso had a strong fall season with a win over #2 Truman State, but with no action so far this spring, it is not certain whether the Indiana-based team has improved at the same rate as its counterparts. Valparaiso plan on attending both Old Capital and Illinois Invite, where they will see TSUnami again. Mackenzie Allen leads the handling core for this team and with a starting seven that played Nationals savage together last year, the on-field chemistry should be quite strong.
11. Mount Holyoke Daisy Chain
Notable Wins: none
Like Valpo, Mount Holyoke has not gotten on the field yet this spring. But Daisy Chain returns three All-Region players and is one of the very few D-III programs boasting a B-team. Having lost five seniors from last year, Daisy Chain will look to veteran players Molly Morgan and Sophey Dong to lead the team in deep throws and decision-making. Their first games of the season will be at High Tide, and then they step up the competition at Jersey Devil and New England Open.
12. Bowdoin Chaos Theory
Notable Wins: Haverford x2, Swarthmore
So far this spring, Bowdoin has been able to balance the dual goals of “out-funning” other teams and preparing for a run to Nationals. Chaos Theory beat #14 Haverford & Bryn Mawr and #22 Swarthmore at Bring the Huckus, though they struggled against #9 Amherst and #3 Williams. Captains Kate Powers and Hannah Broos emphasize the depth of their team and used this earlier tournament to focus on polishing younger players’ fundamentals. We shall see how they stack up against their regional competition at New England Open where Amherst, Bates, and Mount Holyoke will all be in attendance.
13. Wesleyan Vicious Discs
Notable Wins: none
The lone Metro East representative in the Ultiworld rankings, Weslyean is another team that has yet to compete yet this spring. That’s a far cry from last year when the Vicious Discs’ record last year was an impressive 17-2, though it is important to note that none of these wins were over nationally-ranked teams. But they did have a strong ninth-place finish at Nationals and only lost two seniors from that squad. Tessa Hill, who was the second leading goal scorer in Winston-Salem last spring, returns and hopes to lead Wesleyan to represent the Metro East in Kentucky in May.
14. Haverford & Bryn Mawr Sneetches
Notable Wins: Wellesley
Haverford & Bryn Mawr Sneetches were challenged big time at Bring the Huckus, getting smoked by New England contenders Bowdoin and Williams. After going winless in their pool, the Sneetches recovered to beat Wellesley in consolation play en route to a sixth-place finish overall. The Sneetches strong spirit and stand-out defenders in Zoe Lewis and speedy Opal Bednarik should help them come back to fight for the Ohio Valley title. Haverford has at least one more tournament at University of Delaware in early April before Sectionals.
15. Oberlin Preying Manti
Notable Wins: none
In their only action so far this year, the Preying Manti finished 22nd at Commonwealth Cup, a massive tournament of primarily D-I teams. This spring they return three players from abroad to get to know their huge rookie class. Sophomore Helen Samuel, coming from high school powerhouse Paideia, works the disc swiftly down as a handler and is a key playmaker for Oberlin. The Ohio Valley region looks wide open this year and Oberlin should be in the hunt for a return to Nationals.
16. Grinnell Sticky Tongue Frogs
Notable Wins: John Brown
Rather than splitting into a traditional A-team and B-team, Grinnell is unique in allowing players to choose whether to join their competitive or less competitive team rather than holding try-outs. But for those that elect to join the Sticky Tongue Frogs, the goal is to earn a spot at Nationals. Attending Dustbowl and Midwest Throwdown, the rookie-heavy team gained crucial experience against both D-I and D-III squads. Grinnell finished sixth at Dustbowl, playing Truman State to within three and beating John Brown on double game point; Midwest Throwdown saw the team finish tied for twentieth. Freshman Karen Ehrhardt’s experience playing with Japan’s U19 WJUC team has been a great asset for the Stickies.
17. John Brown Savage Skies
Notable Wins: Iowa
John Brown Savage Skies have been steadily creeping up the rankings list. It helps that while other teams have yet to get their spring season off the ground, the Arkansas-based team has already competed at three sanctioned tournaments. They won Turf Wars without breaking a sweat, then gained valuable experience closing out close games at Dust Bowl before finally falling to #17 Grinnell on double game point. Last week at Midwest Throwdown they picked up a big win over D-I Iowa. John Brown is a smaller squad but getting in all this playing time so early in the season means that their on-field chemistry and endurance re already at a higher level than most of their opponents. Currently sitting at tenth in the USAU rankings, it will be critical for Savage Skies to hang on to a third bid for the South Central or else face the daunting task of needing to knock out top-ranked teams Truman State and Rice at Regionals.
18. Luther Freya
Notable Wins: none
Luther Freya tied with Grinnell to finish 20th at Midwest Throwdown last weekend, but took a loss five point loss to #17 John Brown. Rachel Johnson’s constant bids and deep hucks keep Luther’s opponents working hard and she is surrounded by a strong senior class. But so far this spring, Freya has yet to gain wins that compare to their North Central counterparts. They will hope to turn that story around in two weeks at College Southerns, where they’ll see #3 Williams and #5 Carleton.
19. Claremont Greenshirts
Notable Wins: none
Still working to incorporate their returning juniors and fill in the gaps of losing 40% of their team from last year, the Claremont Greenshirts have one tournament under their belt this spring. They needed to use Stanford Open to develop their systems and managed just a single win over unranked Lewis & Clark in pool play — then lost to Artemis on Sunday. The Greenshirts have always struggled with injuries to their key players and also a lack of experience in wind, thanks to their calm, sunny Californian locale. Trouble in Vegas should show a vastly different Greenshirts team since their first tournament.
20. Lehigh Gravity
Lehigh Gravity has yet to actually compete this Spring. Their B team, however, more than held their own at Bring the Huckus, picking up a win over regional rival Swarthmore and hanging close to other ranked D-III opponents. With only six upperclassmen and captain Lindsay “Domino” Levin the lone senior, Gravity will have to work hard to build up strong on-field chemistry in time for the Series. The Ohio Valley looks to be up for grabs this spring, butt with three teams hovering right around the bid bubble in the USAU rankings, Lehigh will be hoping it doesn’t turn into a one-bid region.
21. Elon Wild Rumpus
Notable Wins: UNC-Asheville, Georgia College
Elon currently sits atop the Atlantic Coast pecking order, having beaten both of their chief rivals already this spring. Wild Rumpus had a slow start at Joint Summit, losing every game in pool play, but on Sunday got to redeem themselves against both Georgia College — the Southeast’s representative at Nationals last year — and UNC-Asheville, winning both games by a small two-point margin. Rookie La’Shaundranique Marshall has been coming out strong for Wild Rumpus, bringing a tenacious level of athleticism for those long Sunday games. Sydney Harris’s adaptability to find and fill the holes on the field has also been key to Elon’s success.
22. Wellesley Whiptails
Notable Wins: Swarthmore
The Wellesley Whiptails are cursed to compete in the gauntlet that is the New England region, and have thus yet to set foot on the Nationals playing fields. With a loss to Bentley in the fall, they did not make Ultiworld’s preseason Top 25. However this spring, they have compiled a winning record across Bring the Huckus and Long Island Classic. The team broke seed hard at Bring the Huckus; as the twentieth-seed, they went undefeated on Saturday, beat #22 Swarthmore, earned a spot in the quarterfinals, and ultimately finished seventh. The Whiptails came back to earth in the cold and wind at Long Island Classic, and they will have their work cut out for them to remain competitive in New England region — even with four bids to Nationals.
23. Swarthmore Warmothers
Notable Wins: none
Swarthmore was dealt a tough hand this spring losing several key upperclassmen — including two captains — to other commitments and injuries. Emilie “Shep” Shepherd and Tessa “Kirby” Jones were not able to bring the young team back together in time for Bring the Huckus, where the Warmothers went 1-5 including a loss to Lehigh’s B team. They’ll be at Mash-Up this weekend hoping to turn their season around.
24. UNC-Asheville Hellbenders
Notable Wins: Elon
It has been said before, but it is worth reiterating that UNC-Asheville Hellbenders are ready to shake-up the Atlantic Coast. Joint Summit saw the team split a pair of games with regional counterpart Elon, but came out on the wrong side in the one that mattered on Sunday. Sophomore captain Allison Bashford is putting in time to make sure that was Hellbenders last loss to Elon this season. Bashford isn’t alone either, as handler Kathy Frantz is back to join her this spring.
25. Georgia College Lynx Rufus
Notable Wins: Elon
Like UNC-Asheville, Georgia College split a pair of games with Elon at Joint Summit. They pick up their spring schedule this weekend at Rip Tide in South Carolina, where they’ll fight to bring bids to the Southeast. With an improving North Georgia hot on their heels, they may need it.
1. Richmond Spidermonkeys
Notable wins: Harvard, Notre Dame
The Richmond Spidermonkeys turned heads across the country when they kicked off Queen City Tune Up by upsetting defending national runners-up Harvard in their first game of the season. Richmond went on to beat or challenge top D-I teams the rest of the weekend. Having proven they belong with the D-I elite, we’ll be looking forward to the Spidermonkeys matching up with top D-III teams at their home tournament April 1-2.
Air Force Afterburn came into this season with high expectations after their run to semis at Nationals last spring, and they’ve certainly met those standards thus far. They played in three tournaments in a busy first half of the season, capped off by a big 13-6 win in the final of their home tournament over Colorado College. They’ll look to continue their dominance while connecting with some east coast teams at D-III Midwestern Invite in a couple of weeks.
3. Bryant Craze
Notable wins: Bentley
After failing to reach the required ten games to be ranked in the last couple of seasons, Bryant Craze has taken matters into their own hands this year by hosting their own round robin to get games in before spring break. They easily handled Bentley, the one notable opponent in attendance, affirming their status as one of the top teams in the division. Hopefully the weather cooperates the rest of the spring so that they can earn the New England region a bid they are highly likely to win.
4. Franciscan Fatal
Notable wins: none
Franciscan Fatal have gotten off to a low key start this season, only participating in one tournament with no notable teams in attendance. However, Fatal didn’t play down to their competition and won all six games handily, giving us no reason to speculate a drop off from the standard the program has set for themselves. We know for sure that Franciscan will be in attendance at CWRUL on April 1-2; hopefully we see some more meaningful results from them before then.
5. Colorado College Wasabi
Notable wins: Kansas, Texas State
In their second year of competition in the division, Colorado College Wasabi have shown that they’ll be establishing themselves once again as a contender for the national championship. Their two losses have come in the finals of both tournaments they’ve attended thus far. Their 13-6 loss to Air Force is worrisome for their chances of winning the region, but look for Wasabi to learn from that game and put up a much better fight in their next matchup against Afterburn.
6. John Brown Ironfist
Notable wins: Rice x2, Luther, Texas State
Expectations for Ironfist were raised with the news of defending Region POTY Ethan Penner returning for his fifth year, and an impressive 13-2 start to the season justifies those expectations. While they haven’t faced the same level of competition as their two regional rivals ranked above them, John Brown has beaten the teams they’re supposed to beat, and there’s something to be said for that. Luckily for Ironfist, Texas Tech can’t compete in the D-III series, so they won’t have to worry about the team that’s handed them both of their losses this year.
7. Carleton GoP
Notable wins: Lewis & Clark, Claremont
A perennial contender in D-III since the creation of the division, the Gods of Plastic have positioned themselves again to be towards the top of our rankings. Dominant wins over the frontrunners from the Southwest and Northwest have shown the quality of this team. We’ll be looking to see how Carleton GoP stacks up against east coast D-III competition at Southerns in a couple of weeks.
Traditionally the second-best team in the Southeast, the Nightmares have come out of the gates strong this season and planted their flag as the early favorite to win the region. A strong 5-2 showing at T-Town Throwdown, with their losses coming to top 30 D-I programs LSU and Purdue, was followed up by a dominant 6-0 performance at Music City Tune Up. UAH will still be hoping for Georgia College to have a strong second half of the season to earn a second bid for the SE, but even if they don’t, the Nightmares have to like their chances at taking the region’s lone bid to Nationals this season.
9. Wheaton Mastadons
Notable wins: none
We’ll see the Mastadons in action for the first time in a couple of weeks at D-III Midwestern Invite.
10. Williams WUFO
Notable wins: Ohio State, George Washington
WUFO broke into our top ten by stringing together back-to-back impressive tournaments, picking up wins against quality D-I competition and beating every D-III team they’ve faced. Their strong start is particularly important for picking up a strength bid for a competitive NE region. WUFO will be making two more trips down south this year for Southerns and EastURns, so we’ll get to see if their early performance holds up as they gain more connectivity with other D-III programs.
11. St. John’s
Notable wins: Kansas
St. John’s started their season last weekend with a solid showing at Midwestern Throwdown, going 3-3 and finishing tied for seventh. While their win against Kansas was impressive, their best result was a 15-13 loss to eventual champion Purdue, who dominated everyone else in the field. After the region only had one bid last year, both St. John’s and GoP will be pushing to earn a second for the North Central, and both teams have positioned themselves to have a shot at that strength bid after their first tournament. We’ll get to see how St. John’s compares to other D-III programs at Midwestern Invite.
12. Middlebury Pranksters
Notable wins: none
Victims of their isolated location in Vermont, the Pranksters won’t be getting their regular season started until March 25-26 at Spring Awakening — meaning that even if they do well, they may not have the requisite games to earn New England a bid.
13. High Point Bagheera
Notable wins: Case Western, Virginia Commonwealth, UNC Asheville
It’s been a season of highs and lows for High Point. Big wins over Case Western and VCU at Queen City, combined with a big win against regional rivals UNC Asheville in the semis of Music City, have shown Bagheera’s potential. However, a disappointing loss to Vanderbilt and a blowout loss to Alabama-Huntsville at Music City show that this team has some growing to do if they want to develop consistency. High Point will finish their season at CWRUL, where we’ll hope to see them cross paths with Franciscan at some point in a matchup of top D-III teams.
14. UNC Asheville Bulldogs
Notable wins: Georgetown, Union
The Bulldogs have had a strange season so far; a look at their record says that it’s been a success, but the details show that it could have been so much better. At Queen City, they got broken on DGP to lose a game they should have won against Maryland. At Music City, they gave up a 5-0 run to High Point to turn an 11-9 lead into a 14-11 loss. One thing is for certain: this UNC-Asheville team has the talent to compete with anybody in the division. If they figure out how to close out these games in the second half of the regular season, the Bulldogs should return to Nationals again.
15. Dartmouth Pain Train
Notable wins: Washington University, Kennesaw State
When USAU began posting validated rosters online, it came as a big surprise to see Dartmouth Pain Train electing to play in D-III this year. When asked about their decision, Pain Train leadership said that, “as a D-III sized school and one of the few remaining D-III sized schools competing at a D-I level for the past few years, we see D-III as a unique opportunity for us to play high level ultimate against a more even playing field.” Pain Train has thus far only played against quality D-I competition at Santa Barbara Invite and Easterns Qualifier, but we should get an idea of how they stack up against many competitive D-III teams at Oak Creek Invite March 18-19.
16. Claremont Braineaters
Notable wins: Santa Clara
The Braineaters came into their only tournament of the spring thus far, Stanford Open, with hopes of making a run in the championship bracket; to call their performance a “disappointment” would be an understatement. Their only wins were against a B team and a one-point win over Santa Clara, and they got trounced 13-6 by Carleton GoP. Claremont has kept their place in our rankings based off of pedigree. They return twelve players from last year’s Nationals team, including three All-Region selections, and this is a program that knows how to win when it matters. However, we need to see some results from the Braineaters soon to continue defending their standing.
17. Georgia College Disconnected
Notable wins: Mississippi, Mississippi State
After their magical run in 2016 to a national championship, it’s been a crash back to reality for Disconnected in 2017. Their one tournament so far, Bama Secs Invite, was a total letdown; not only did they put up a disappointing 2-4 record, but they got blown out in a couple of those losses and barely eked out their wins. Georgia College has been known to treat the regular season as a development period, and it’s tough to bet against a team led by Nathan Vickroy after his performance at Nationals last year, but UAH’s strong performance so far this year has to make Disconnected wonder if they should take the regular season more seriously and try to earn a second bid for the Southeast.
18. Brandeis Tron
Notable wins: none
The defending national runners-up will start their season in a couple of weeks at D-III Midwestern Invite.
19. Indiana Wesleyan Huck Dynasty
Notable wins: Edinboro
It was tough to know what to expect from Huck Dynasty coming into this season. Any team would struggle to replace a player as talented as Travis Carpenter, but his supporting cast didn’t get enough credit for their Nationals run last year. So far, IWU has done exactly what you would expect of them: at Huckin in the Hills, they mostly just beat the teams seeded below them and lost to the teams seeded above them, save for one nice win against Edinboro. Huck Dynasty will look to prove they deserve to move up in the rankings by notching a few big wins at their home tournament, D-III Midwestern Invite.
20. Lewis & Clark Bacchus
Notable wins: Portland
It’s been a rollercoaster of a season so far for Lewis & Clark. A mediocre 4-3 showing at Flat Tail gave way to a disappointing performance at Stanford Open, highlighted by an 11-3 thrashing at the hands of Carleton GoP. However, Bacchus bounced back last weekend with an impressive 7-0 performance at PLU BBQ. Having thirteen wins already is impressive, but the problem is the quality of those wins, with only one (Portland) coming against a top 150 team in the rankings. Hopefully we’ll see L&C travel outside of the region and play some other top teams before the end of the regular season.
21. Bentley Icehouse
Notable wins: none
The story on Icehouse after their performance at Bryant’s home tournament is what we suspected coming into this season: strong enough to be in the Top 25, but not strong enough yet to be a Nationals contender. Icehouse won their three games with a total point differential of +20 before losing handily 13-6 to Bryant. Bentley plans on playing at Layout Pigout and one more tournament to be determined; they’ll be looking to take the lessons they learned from that game against Bryant and turn them into some notable wins to move up the rankings.
22. Oberlin Horsecows
Notable wins: none
The Horsecows will get their season underway in a couple of weeks at D-III Midwestern Invite.
23. Davidson DUFF
Notable wins: UNC Charlotte
It’s been a tale of two tournaments for DUFF in the first half of this season. They went 0-6 at Queen City, finishing in last place and looking thoroughly outmatched in almost all of their games. However, Davidson followed that up with a statement first place finish at Market Crash, going 7-0 and dominating all opposition up until the championship game. A big factor for DUFF’s success will be the health of senior captain Chris Johnson, who didn’t play at Queen City but was able to play at Market Crash. He gives Davidson a level of dynamic playmaking that doesn’t exist elsewhere on the roster and could elevate them through our rankings.
24. Portland Uprise
Notable wins: Puget Sound
While the Northwest is traditionally dominated by Lewis & Clark, Portland Uprise has shown this year that Bacchus will not win the region with ease. Led by returning first team All-Region standout Duncan McNally, Uprise has won an impressive eleven games in two tournaments, most of which were in dominant fashion. They lost to L&C in the final of PLU BBQ, but that game was Portland’s eighth of the weekend and only the seventh for L&C; one has to wonder if that affected the outcome of the game. Going forward, Portland’s story reads very similarly to L&C’s: with only one win over a top 160 opponent, we’ll be hoping that Portland have plans to travel and play against quality opposition.
25. Union Jaxx
Notable wins: Wooster, Xavier
A relative newcomer to the national scene, Union Jaxx stood out in their first tournament of the year at Music City as being a team right on the verge of breaking through into the top echelon of D-III competition. They beat all the teams ranked below them, and they played UNC-Asheville and Alabama-Huntsville to within two and four points, respectively. A big and athletic team, Union will be in attendance at Tally Classic this weekend, where they’ll look to turn some of those close losses into statement wins.