College Regionals 2021: Weekend One Preview

Michigan's Adam Stautberg steps out for a backhand at the 2019 USA Ultimate D-I College Championships.
Michigan’s Adam Stautberg. Photo by Paul Rutherford — Ultiphotos.com

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The first of three 2021 College Regionals weekends is upon us! The Atlantic Coast, Great Lakes, Metro East, and Northwest regions are playing host to tournaments that will send 18 teams on to California in December. Let’s take a look at the action at every Regionals tournament playing out on November 6th and 7th.

Atlantic Coast D-I Women’s Regionals

Location: Axton, VA
Weather: Cloudy to partly cloudy with highs in the 50s; precipitation 20%
2019 Nationals Qualifiers:
North Carolina
2021 Nationals Bids: 2

2021 Seeding:

  1. #2 North Carolina
  2. #24 Virginia
  3. #17 Appalachian State
  4. #19 UNC Wilmington
  5. Towson
  6. #20 Duke
  7. Virginia Tech
  8. William & Mary
  9. American
  10. UMBC

It has been a decade of Atlantic Coast titles going to UNC and UVA, and their positions as the top two seeds makes that outcome very plausible once again. North Carolina is a national championship favorite, making the region look like a cakewalk, despite being the deepest in the division. The battle for the second bid should be fierce, as new Appalachian State stars Margaret and Abigail Barry go up against UNC Wilmington and Duke’s top end talents and Virginia’s system and depth.

Atlantic Coast D-I Men’s Regionals

Location: Axton, VA
Weather: Cloudy to partly cloudy with highs in the 50s; precipitation 20%
2019 Nationals Qualifiers:
North Carolina, NC State
2021 Nationals Bids: 3

2021 Seeding:

  1. #1 North Carolina
  2. #8 NC State
  3. #15 UNC Wilmington
  4. #23 Virginia Tech
  5. William & Mary
  6. #14 Maryland
  7. James Madison
  8. Virginia
  9. Duke
  10. UNC Charlotte
  11. Clemson
  12. George Washington
  13. Georgetown
  14. Towson
  15. UMBC
  16. American

The men’s division has quite a few parallels with the women’s: UNC’s status as a heavy favorite, and the region’s crown being worn by two teams since 2011: North Carolina and UNC Wilmington. NC State and Darkside played close at Carolina Conferences, but their rosters and approaches could be quite different this weekend. Meanwhile, a bevy of challengers are talented enough to get into the mix for one of the three bids. Expect all the theatrics we’ve come to love at Atlantic Coast Regionals Sunday.

Atlantic Coast D-III Men’s Regionals

Location: Virginia Beach, VA
Weather: Scattered showers Saturday, rain Sunday; highs in the low 60s
2019 Nationals Qualifiers: Richmond
2021 Nationals Bids:
2

2021 Seeding:

  1. #1 Richmond
  2. #22 Navy
  3. #14 Davidson
  4. #23 UNC Asheville
  5. Christopher Newport
  6. Mary Washington
  7. Richmond B
  8. Navy B

Richmond and Davidson each scored confident wins over their opponents at their respective Conference Championships and hope to repeat that type of success at Regionals. The Spidermonkeys’ experience and talent, like reigning Donovan winner Harris Cannon, make them look very strong on paper, but there might not be a lot of layups in a region this deep. Davidson and Asheville have their stars back, too, in the form of Dusty Smith and Dean Merritt, respectively.

Great Lakes D-I Women’s Regionals

Location: Holland, MI
Weather: Partly cloudy with highs in the 50s both days
2019 Nationals Qualifiers:
Northwestern
2021 Nationals Bids:
 2

2021 Seeding:

  1. #14 Chicago
  2. Notre Dame
  3. Michigan
  4. Northwestern
  5. Illinois
  6. Purdue
  7. Indiana
  8. Kentucky

Chicago Supernova’s impressive returning talent puts them in the driver’s seat going into Great Lakes Regionals as they seek their first ever Regionals win and spot at the College Championships. The three teams seeded behind them have a bit more experience in that department. Notre Dame walloped Michigan 12-3 two weekends ago, but also lost to Indiana, whom Michigan defeated 10-6. Northwestern Claw is the region’s most recent winner, so they shouldn’t be counted out, but they lost many key players from their 2019 title team.

Great Lakes D-I Men’s Regionals

Location: Holland, MI
Weather: Partly cloudy with highs in the 50s both days
2019 Nationals Qualifiers:
Michigan
2021 Nationals Bids: 2

2021 Seeding:

  1. #11 Michigan
  2. Indiana
  3. Chicago
  4. Illinois
  5. Purdue
  6. Grand Valley State
  7. DePaul
  8. Northwestern
  9. Kentucky
  10. Michigan State

For the first time since 2014, the Great Lakes will send more than a lone representative to the College Championships. That opens up a world of possibilities for teams that looked otherwise locked behind a high-powered Michigan team that has designs on improving on their 2019 Nationals run. Divining who will be the beneficiary is trickier. Indiana was the second place finisher last time but are going to need their depth to step up. Illinois has some impressive club experience on the roster, but Chicago bested them 9-7 to win their Conference.

Great Lakes D-III Men’s Regionals

Location: Holland, MI
Weather: Partly cloudy with highs in the 50s both days
2019 Nationals Qualifiers: Valparaiso (not attending in 2021)
2021 Nationals Bids:
1

2021 Seeding:

  1. #17 Butler
  2. Olivet Nazarene
  3. Wheaton
  4. North Park
  5. Kalamazoo
  6. Butler B

Erik Stewart and the Butler Big Dogs are in the pole position as they head to Holland. But it’s hard to predict the outcome, as reigning champion Valparaiso isn’t participating in the 2021 Series. The results from the Illinois Conference Championships paint a picture of a tight knot in the middle of seeding, with Olivet Nazarene, Wheaton, and North Park playing very close matches. A clear challenger hasn’t emerged.

Metro East D-I Women’s Regionals

Location: Bronx, NY
Weather: Partly cloudy with highs in the 50s both days
2019 Nationals Qualifiers: Cornell
2021 Nationals Bids: 1

2021 Seeding:

  1. Yale
  2. SUNY Binghamton
  3. SUNY Stony Brook
  4. Columbia
  5. Cornell
  6. Syracuse
  7. Princeton

It’s a strange setup in this year’s Metro East Regionals: reigning champions Cornell and recent favorites Columbia both put up subpar Conference Championship results, pushing them out of the top rungs of the region’s seeding. Regional power Ottawa won’t even be in attendance. Top seed Yale may have lost some of their 2019 firepower, but they also have some fresh talent that could allow them to hold seed. But don’t sleep on the usual cast just because of a bad weekend.

Metro East D-I Men’s Regionals

Location: Bronx, NY
Weather: Partly cloudy with highs in the 50s both days
2019 Nationals Qualifiers:
Rutgers
2021 Nationals Bids:
1

2021 Seeding:

  1. Rutgers
  2. Cornell
  3. Yale
  4. SUNY Binghamton
  5. NYU
  6. Columbia
  7. SUNY Stony Brook
  8. SUNY Buffalo
  9. Princeton
  10. RIT

There isn’t much to be confident about in predicting the Metro East victor. After winning three of the last four titles, UConn is out for this Series. Rutgers and Cornell went undefeated at their Conferences, but each had some surprisingly tight scores with lower seeded opponents. Yale played only a single game. Rutgers retains their top seed after winning the region in 2019, but it’s hard to peg anyone as a true favorite in this dog-eat-dog region.

Northwest D-I Women’s Regionals

Location: Burlington, WA
Weather: Steady rain with highs in the 40s both days
2019 Nationals Qualifiers:
Western Washington, Oregon, Washington
2021 Nationals Bids: 2

2021 Seeding:

  1. #3 Washington
  2. #7 Western Washington
  3. #21 Utah
  4. #18 Oregon
  5. Montana
  6. Idaho

Though four teams reside in our preseason top 25, two will be left at home after Northwest Regionals concludes. Given that Washington and Western Washington are top ten talents, that leaves a tough climb for upstarts Utah and Oregon. With the roster situation resolved, both Utah and Washington beefed up their rosters with strong returning talent. A first-time Nationals berth for Utah could be in the cards, but Chaos’ considerable big game experience will make them tough to overcome.

Northwest D-I Men’s Regionals

Location: Burlington, WA
Weather: Steady rain with highs in the 40s both days
2019 Nationals Qualifiers: Oregon (not attending in 2021), Washington, Victoria (not attending in 2021)
2021 Nationals Bids: 2 

2021 Seeding:

  1. #4 Washington
  2. Western Washington
  3. #24 Utah
  4. Oregon State
  5. Utah State
  6. Utah Valley
  7. Montana State
  8. Gonzaga

It’ll be strange to have Northwest Regionals without Oregon Ego, an ever-present Northwest representative at Nationals who has qualified every year since the region transitioned from the West during the redraw. But reigning champion Washington is eager to reclaim the top spot over a field that will need to focus up to take the other bid. Western Washington, Utah, Oregon State, and even Utah State all have the makings of credible contenders, with quality club-level talent sprinkled across their rosters. It is unlikely any has the depth to really challenge Washington or pull away from one another.

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