Can anyone challenge Carleton Eclipse?
May 18, 2023 by Zack Davis in Preview with 0 comments
Ultiworld’s coverage of the 2023 college ultimate season are presented by Spin Ultimate; all opinions are those of the author(s). Find out how Spin can get you, and your team, looking your best this season.
We are less than one week out from the D-III College Championships, and that means it’s pool preview time. With the first full regular season and rankings post-COVID, 16 worthy teams arrive at the campaign’s final weekend ready to crown a national champion. This season we have a women’s field featuring eight returners from last year’s Nationals, four previous national-title winners as well as two formerly D-I programs.
We’ve got you covered for all the exciting action this weekend, but before the first pull goes up, let’s get to know the teams who will be competing in Ohio. Then follow along on our Event Page for updates and livestreams throughout the weekend!
Seeding: C1; overall no. 3
Power Ranking: #3
Path to Nationals: NC 1; def. St. Olaf in semis and Michigan Tech in NC regional final
Past Nationals Appearances: 2011-2017, 2019, 2021, 2022
Location: Northfield, MN
Three-time D-III champions Carleton Eclipse are back near the top of the national stage once again. After making semis last year, Eclipse will be looking to take it all the way this year and bring home a fourth title to Northfield. 2022 Second team All-American Harper Brooks-Kahn is returning for her senior year and will be looking to lead the team in that push to the finals. This team has two things in spades: depth and youth. Carleton has 24 players rostered, and only 9 are juniors or seniors.
The Eclipse found a lot of success in the regular season, winning the Stanford Open in early February, beating Cal Poly-SLO 10-5. At the President’s Day Invite, they notched wins over #29 ranked UCLA Blu and #18 ranked and D-I nationals attendees Colorado State Hell’s Belles. In mid-March, they traveled to Statesboro, Georgia, where over the course of six games Carleton only gave up two points. Their dominance continued in their ConfRegional tournament, outscoring their opponents 75-12 over the course of five games.
The Eclipse are a well oiled machine, playing with fine tuned precision. They tend not to rely on any one player and are happy to spread the disc around.
They are also the team that gave the Middlebury Pranksters their most recent loss, last year at College Southerns. Most of the core of that Carleton team is still playing and will be in Ohio. They will be looking to repeat that performance and dethrone the Pranksters.
Seeding: C2; overall no. 6
Power Ranking: #7
Path to Nationals: ME 4; def. Bates in fourth place NE game-to-go
Past Nationals Appearances: 1995, 2011, 2013-2019
Location: Williamstown, MA
Williams has been absent from Nationals after an absurd run of appearances in the 2010s. Making their debut this decade didn’t come easy. Despite getting a high seed, Williams represents the New England region’s fourth and final representative. Williams did give regional champ Middlebury the closest game they had all weekend at 13-9.
As a team this season, Wiliams has been working to avenge last season’s unfortunate finish. The team was struck with a run of COVID cases at the Regionals tournament and as a result could not compete on Sunday. This season has been all about making up for that missed opportunity. The team has been looking to achieve their goal through mental fortitude and building up their in-game focus.
The team is led by senior Lauren Lynch, who is deadly with the disc in her hands, able to carve up defenses or drop bombs down field for her cutters. Lauren isn’t the only star of the show, as the team boasts a lot of depth on their roster. Players like Annika “Kofi” Harrington and Coco Rhum have shown a lot of flash this season.
Williams will be looking to make a deep run in the bracket. They have demonstrated that they can hang with some tough opponents and may have put the pieces together in the interim between regionals and Nationals to upset some higher seeded competition. It’s easy to write them off as a fourth place finisher in their region, but in reality there aren’t many teams outside of New England that I would take over Williams.
Colorado College Zenith
Seeding: C3; overall no. 10
Power Ranking: #13
Path to Nationals: SC 1; def. Rice in the SC final
Past Nationals Appearances: 2011, 2014, 2016
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado College made the swap over to the 7500 Club this season and have immediately found success in the South Central region. The Zenith made a perfect run at their Confregional tournament, beating out both Trinity and Rice. They’ve been playing solid ultimate all season, making strong showings at Snow Melt and Midwest Throwdown. The struggled a bit at Centex but were able to shape up for their aforementioned win at Regionals.
Their main threat is captain Mary Andrews, the team’s Donovan nominee. The entire team boasts a lot of players comfortable in both the handler or cutter position as well as players comfortable playing both sides of the disc. This is likely their biggest strength, something they will lean on as the tournament goes on. Colorado College will look to leverage their comfort in different roles as a way to grind teams down and win down the stretch.
Zenith is a team that isn’t afraid of having fun, but knows when to lock it in and be competitive. According to the team, this “zest” is what drove them to D-III competition, in order to maintain that fun playfulness while still being competitive. Look for Zenith to turn some heads both with on the field prowess and off the field shenanigans. Colorado College has a lot of grit, and any team in a close game with Zenith will have to stay locked in until the final point if they want a chance at taking a win.
Wesleyan Vicious Circles
Seeding: C4; overall no. 15
Power Ranking: #23
Path to Nationals: ME 1; def. Ithaca in ME final
Past Nationals Appearances: 1990, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Location: Middletown, Connecticut
Wesleyan are back again at Nationals after struggling in the Metro East the last couple years. The Vicious Circles didn’t lose a game in either their conference or regionals, beating out the favorite, Ithaca, to secure their spot.
The Vicious Circles are lead by Adina Chasan-Taber who the team describes as a “multifaceted and feisty hybrid that fills in seamlessly…an analytical mind.” There’s more to the team than the captain however, and Wesleyan are a gritty team with lots of defensive ability.
Wesleyan are no strangers to adversity, and will always be a threat to battle back in a game when they’re down. They were down 6-3 at half to Ithaca in the Metro East final only to break four times straight to take the lead at 7-6. Ithaca finally got a hold, tying the game 7-7 but it was too little too late as Wesleyan secured the game with a clean universe hold.
Like any good D-III team Wesleyan embrace goofiness, but not at the cost of their competitiveness. Wesleyan will be looking to upset some of the higher ranked teams and bring some respect back to the Metro East.