D-III College Championships 2023: Pool A Preview (Women’s)

All four of the Pool A teams play hard, gritty ultimate.

Middlebury's Madlyn Lander. Photo: William 'Brody' Brotman -- UltiPhotos.com
Middlebury’s Madlyn Lander. Photo: William ‘Brody’ Brotman — UltiPhotos.com

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.

It is the week of 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 the D-III Nationals Event Page for updates and livestreams throughout the weekend!

Pool A | Pool B | Pool C | Pool D

Middlebury Pranksters

Seeding: A1; overall no. 1
Power Ranking: #1
Path to Nationals: NE1; undefeated season, def. Wellesley in the regional final
Past Nationals Appearances: 2010*, 2015*, 2019, 2021, 2022
Location: Middlebury, VT

What is there to say that hasn’t already been demonstrated by the numbers?

  • Two back to back national championships
  • Two back to back Player of the Year awards won by Claire Babbott-Bryan
  • Two players on 2022’s All-American First Team
  • 21-0 record for the 2023 season

There is a reason Middlebury are the uncontested no.1 seed and championship favorite this year. The Pranksters are a strong program with a deep roster – every player on the field is a viable threat. Teams will need to be on their A game to score against Middlebury, who only allowed 11 points total to be scored against them at New England Regionals, arguably the toughest region in the country.

Among their all-star roster returning to Nationals: keep an eye out for Keziah Wilde piloting the disc for the O-line, Kamryn You Mak locking down on defense, and of course Claire Babbott-Bryan displaying her dynamic range of skills to help Middlebury go for a three-peat.

Haverford/Bryn Mawr Sneetches

Seeding: A2; overall no. 8
Power Ranking: #8
Path to Nationals: OV1; def. Lehigh in the regional final
Past Nationals Appearances: 2011, 2012, 2014, 2017, 2022
Location: Haverford, PA

Haverford has had an incredible season in the Ohio Valley. With two tournament championships to start off their spring season, and coming into Nationals with a 23-4 record, this team is not to be taken lightly. Solid in all weather, the Sneetches could easily capitalize on Saturday’s foreboding forecast and leverage their zone defense to their advantage.

The Sneetches’ tournament wins at Garden State, Bring the Huckus and Ohio Valley regionals indicate a drive to win. Haverford has been consistent, rarely stringing together bad halves. They’ll come into Nationals having won their last 10 games. And after last year, where they kept pace with Middlebury in quarters for stretches in a four-goal loss and wound up just a goal away from finishing fifth overall, the Sneetches will be hungry to improve upon last year’s success.

Cutters Zoe Constanza and Phoebe Hulbert will be the main downfield targets for Sneetch handlers. In true D-III fashion, this team is strong on both sides of the disc, sure to capitalize on any fumbles by their opponent, generating turns and converting to score. The Sneetches may be underseeded all the way at #8, but we might have to wait until bracket play to find out.

Michigan Tech Superior Ma’s

Seeding: A3; overall no. 12
Power Ranking: #10
Path to Nationals: NC3; def. Winona State in the game-to-go
Past Nationals Appearances: 2021
Location: Houghton, MI

Michigan Tech Superior Ma’s took second at North Central Regionals to claim the second of the region’s three bids. The Ma’s defeated Winona State to go to the final game where they faced Carleton College Eclipse. Breaking seed to go to Nationals after missing the cut last season, the Ma’s are sure to make their return with the same fire that they needed to secure the bid.

Emma Elliot, 2021 Rookie of the Year second runner-up will be back on the Nationals field and is sure to be an asset for Michigan Tech. The Ma’s 2021 top goal scorer Laura Lyons is returning as well. Ally Fenton opens up the field for them with her deep throws, and Haniya Frayer ties a lot of the pieces together. The majority of the roster is new, so we anticipate the new stars of Michigan Tech for the 2023 season!

Catholic Nun Betta

Seeding: A4; overall no. 13
Power Ranking: #20
Path to Nationals: AC1; def. Mary Washington in the Confregional final
Past Nationals Appearances: 2017, 2018
Location: Washington, DC

Catholic Nun Betta went undefeated at Atlantic Coast Regionals to claim their bid. Having won all their D-III matchups this season, Catholic have had a very strong 2023. Nun Betta have faced intense competition from D-I teams in their region , giving them strong preparation despite playing only two full tournaments. So while they haven’t seen a lot of D-III teams at the level they’ll face in Ohio, they will arrive prepared and unintimidated.

Scores from this past season indicate that Nun Betta are not a team to underestimate. Catholic allowed just 13 points to be scored against them at Atlantic Coast Regionals, the only relatively close games being from 2022 Nationals attendee Mary Washington.

Catholic have a 20 player roster, indicative of a serious program. The team’s Gaelic motto translates to “Nothing without effort” and it indicates exactly the type of no-quit, grind-it-out energy they will bring to Pool A. They’ll likely need every ounce of it to take down a pool that is generally more experienced than they are.

  1. Fiona "Scotti" Nugent
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    Fiona “Scotti” Nugent is a the D-III Women's Editor and co-host of the Laying it Out podcast. She is a graduate of Lehigh University, and now plays mixed club in New York City. You can reach her through email at [email protected].

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