Recapping the biggest stories from the first weekend of D-I Regionals.
May 1, 2023 by Keith Raynor in Preview, Recap with 0 comments
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The first weekend of college Regionals 2023 is in the books! For many teams it was the last tournament of their season, but a lucky few punched their ticket to Nationals in Ohio. We run down the biggest stories from this past weekend and what it means for the upcoming College Championships. Our list of all qualifiers can be found in our College Championships Qualifying thread.
The Day the Streak Died in Madison
After 23 consecutive years qualifying for Nationals, the Wisconsin Hodags streak of Nationals qualification ended in the second place final, the game-to-go, against Minnesota. It was the longest such streak in college ultimate. The Hodags lost that game 15-11, which was closer than the 15-9 handed to them by Grey Duck Saturday. In typical North Central Regional conditions — gross and windy — Wisconsin’s injury-battered roster showed red flags, requiring a massive comeback against UW Milwaukee in pool play and late run to pull away from Marquette in the bracket.
This year’s D-I College Championships will be the first since 1999 to take place without the Madison representatives in attendance and will take the number of Nationals without the Hodags1 into the double digits at 10.
Carleton CUT took home the region’s title with a 12-11 victory over Minnesota.
Elsewhere in the Division
- The Metro East went about as any denizen of the region would expect, which to say, mad with the no.3, no.5, no.11, and no.13 seeds matching up in the semifinals. No.1 seed and favorite Rutgers was eliminated in quarters by Syracuse, blowing an 8-5 lead to lose 12-11. No.2 seed and reigning champ UConn didn’t even make the bracket. Both top seeds didn’t even complete the tournament, seeing themselves out faster than Dillon Brooks after their disappointing endings. As for the actual winner, that would be the region’s biggest brand, Cornell, who took down RIT with a big second half to nab the regional crown.
- Oregon was pretty dominant at Northwest Regionals, playing just a single close game and thumping second-place finisher Utah State in both meetings, including in the final. Meanwhile, Washington beat both of the teams who beat them on Saturday – British Columbia and Oregon State – en route to qualifying for Nationals despite another injury-affected performance. Only three combined goals proved the difference on those matches, the region living up to the drama its regular season promised.
- While the South Central finished with the chalky result of Colorado in first, Texas in second, the path there was much more stimulating. Washington University upset Texas on universe in the first place semifinal, only for the teams to rematch in the game-to-go. This time, Texas fought off Contra 12-10 in a game where the margin was very close throughout.
- While upsets downstream in the Southeast bracket were enough to get some good ol’ chirps in, nobody was up to the task of drawing Georgia into close-quarters combat. They captured a fifth straight Southeast title by roasting Florida in the final. But shout out to no.7 seed Vanderbilt and no.11 seed Tulane for making runs to semifinals; consider yourselves heralded, including David “Harold” Atwood.
Next up: Regionals weekend 2! The Southwest and New England will take center stage with their big bid counts, but the battle for the second Atlantic Coast bid is also expected to be intense. The Ohio Valley and Great Lakes are each fighting for a single spot.
Binghamton Threepeats in Dramatic Finish
SUNY Binghamton winning an improbable third straight Metro East championship is an impressive feat, especially considering it required comebacks from 4-1 and 9-6 deficits to achieve the 12-11 victory on an grinding universe point. But Big Bear’s accomplishments are not getting their proper shine due to controversy about a call on the game’s final point.
A few steps away from a potential clinching goal, Yale came out of a timeout, but was cramped by the pressuring Binghamton defense, and forced to loft a throw towards in the middle of the end zone. A Yale receiver secured the disc with a leaping grab, but collided with a Binghamton defender. A foul was called by the defense, the call was referred to an observer, and was ruled a receiving foul, awarding possession to Big Bear. A yellow card was issued to the Yale player for dangerous play. Binghamton made two fantastic catches on the ensuing drive to claim the title.
The play itself has sparked numerous reactions, with both criticism of the call and support for it, assertions about assigning responsibility for entering a space on the field, and questions about how play should have restarted. Interpretations on r/ultimate and ultimate Twitter are all over the place.
Elsewhere in the Division
- As expected, the final bid in the Northwest came down to Western Washington versus Victoria. While WWU had won the all three prior matchups this season, including in pool play at Regionals, UVic was able to run Chaos into the ground in the 15-11 win. Alicia Brolly dominated as a reset and thrower, while Arabella Brudney made a big impact downfield, as well. Meanwhile, Oregon impressed with a pool play win over Washington, though Element got them back Sunday to finish second. UBC looked fantastic while earning first place.
- Carleton Syzygy won their sixth straight North Central title, making for nine of the region’s last 10 championship wins. While most of those were runaways, this time, a team stood up to Carleton and made them really earn their spot at Nationals. Minnesota Matrix put together a strong weekend in parallel, handling the inclement weather well, and going toe to toe with Syzygy in the final, falling 13-11.
- The South Central’s top two teams, Colorado and Colorado State, were each in a tier of their own, as dominating champion and runner-up, respectively. Washington University looked to play the role of spoiler for UT Dallas’s run to their first college championship, and took them down 10-9 in crossover play. However, the game-to-go rematch was all Dallas, earning them a spot in the Nationals field for the first time in program history.
- No Southeast team could really run with Georgia when it came down to it. As other teams wore down, UGA just kept going, and that made for an ending score that was their best result of the weekend: 9-2 over Florida to win the region. It’s their fourth straight regional title, although it is the first of the post-Perivier era.
Next up: Regionals weekend 2! The last few lucky teams will punch their ticket this weekend. Six total bids will be decided between the New England and Southwest regions, while the Great Lakes, Ohio Valley, and Atlantic Coast also will decide their Nationals ambassadors.
When Haverford & Bryn Mawr and Lehigh met February 25, it was unlikely they knew that would be the first of many. That 11-7 Lehigh win would be Gravity’s lone win in seven matches this season. Most critically for Haverford, the last of those face-offs was for the Ohio Valley’s lone bid to the D-III Championships. While Lehigh kept it close, the Sneetches took a short lead into the halftime cap and kept Lehigh at bay for a 7-5 win.
Elsewhere in the Division
- In the Metro East, Ithaca and Wesleyan each went 3-0 in pool play, setting them as favorites to meet in the final. While SUNY Geneseo gave each team a solid test when they got a chance, it ultimately came down to the top two seeds. It came down to the wire, but Wesleyan prevailed 8-7 over a small but determined Ithaca roster.
Oklahoma Christian Misses Nationals for First Time
With only three bids and four top 10 teams in the Power Rankings, plus additional strong competition like Colorado School of Mines, we knew that South Central Regionals was going to provide some of the weekend’s most intense action. But Oklahoma Christian seemed like one of the least likely teams to find themselves out in the cold prior to Nationals. A 13-11 loss to Colorado College in front door semis and a 12-10 stumble against John Brown in back door semis ended OC’s season way early than expected. To cap off the weekend’s surprises, Colorado Mines jumped on Ironfist after that upset, running away in a 15-5 game to go to take the region’s last bid. Colorado College and Missouri S&T also advanced and will be considered some of the top contenders at Nationals.
Elsewhere in the Division
- It looked like Oberlin was on their way to winning the Ohio Valley and its autobid to Nationals, but a shocking 14-5 upset by Scranton in semifinals closed the door on the Horsecows. Kenyon narrowly beat Franciscan in the other semifinal before coming back from a 7-3 deficit against Scranton to win 14-12.
- Despite some extra pool play excitement courtesy of Michigan Tech and Carleton CHOP, St. Olaf and Grinnell extended their impressive seasons with Nationals qualification. The Bezerkers kept themselves out of the danger zone in nearly every game despite the windy conditions to take the top spot in the North Central.
- Rochester claimed the Metro East’s bid to Nationals with a 14-12 win over Connecticut College. Prior to that, Conn College had looked every bit the part of the no.1 seed and favorite, but Rochester rode the momentum from a clutch semifinal win over TCNJ and took down Dasein.
- Occidental went 3-0 in pool play on Southwest Regionals, including beating second place Claremont 15-9, to win their lone bid.
Looking Ahead in D-III
The last bids to any division of Nationals will be handed out in D-III this weekend!
- The vaunted New England region features a strong cast of teams raring to prove their Nationals-worthiness and four bids up for grabs!
- Great Lakes and New England will decide the final qualifiers.
To correct myself, technically, the Hodags didn’t take on that name until 1994, after multiple Nationals appearances dating back to 1988. ↩