Stanford’s Playbook for (Almost) Beating Dartmouth

Is this the blueprint for slaying the giant of the women's division?

Stanford's Caitlin Go makes the catch against Dartmouth at the 2018 D-I College Championships.
Stanford’s Caitlin Go makes the catch against Dartmouth at the 2018 D-I College Championships. Photo by Rodney Chen – UltiPhotos.com

Dartmouth enters the 2018 College Championships as the reigning National Champion and the heavy favorite to take the title yet again this year. They haven’t lost a full game since pool play of 2017 Nationals1. They have the best player in women’s college ultimate history on their team, and she’s joined by several Brute Squad teammates as well as a crew of experienced playmakers. This is the unbeatable team. No collegiate team has the personnel to go one on one versus Princess Layout and live to tell the tale. Right?

Stanford is the only team who has brought Dartmouth even close to a loss. Their range of zone defenses eliminated the challenge of playing one on one with Dartmouth, and their zones exploited Dartmouth’s biggest weakness: downfield movement. Their choice to shift between defenses, regardless of what worked or what didn’t, kept Dartmouth on edge and out of the driver’s seat.

Stanford also utilized an effective pull play to gain easy yards on Dartmouth and to minimize Jaclyn Verzuh’s impact on the field. Stanford’s defense, coupled with strategic offensive choices, was nearly enough to topple the powerhouse at Northwest Challenge this March. Dartmouth won the semifinal 14-13 on double game point.

Here’s how they did it.


  1. They lost a game to Ohio State at Queen City Tune-Up that was ended at halftime 

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  1. Katie Raynolds

    Katie Raynolds took a break from Seattle ultimate to test out the Midwestern scene, but now she's back in the Northwest to investigate this "bubble" she keeps hearing about. She played for Northwestern Gungho, two seasons with Chicago Nemesis, and now plays for Seattle Underground. Katie serves as Ultiworld's Women's D1 College Editor, and is damn proud to cover women's ultimate. You can reach her by email (katie@ultiworld.com) or on Twitter (@kraynolds90).

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