Death, Taxes, and Brute Squad: What Does it Take to Beat Boston at Nationals?

Five insights on what it might take to beat one of the most dominant women's division teams of the last decade

Angela Zhu celebrates sending Brute Squad to half against the backdrop of a roaring crowd in the women’s division final of the 2023 Club Championships. Photo: Meg Hofner –

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The US statesman that graces the $100 bill once claimed that nothing is certain except for death and taxes. In the women’s club division, you can now add Boston Brute Squad to that list. There’s nothing else that has been more consistent in our sport over the last decade than the performance of the women from Beantown, even if plenty of the folks from their roster don’t actually hail from the city itself. Since 2014 Brute Squad have: won more national titles than any other team; tied Fury for most semis appearances; only ever lost to teams who made the finals.

Boston’s overall record at Nationals since 2014 is 49-7. They average less than a single loss per tournament. Only Fury, Scandal, and Molly Brown have beaten them in their last ten Nationals. Somehow, despite all of this dominance, the question has never publicly been asked: what does it take to beat Brute Squad at Nationals?1

If only three teams have done it, and collectively they’ve only done it seven times, what can be learned from the wins over an otherwise untouchable Boston team? Is there enough data that can be gleaned over those seven games in the last decade to provide some options on how teams have made it past Brute in the past and if their success is replicable? Until Brute Squad prove to be anything other than the hardest team in the nation to beat, this question is the only one that matters for the next year, which is why we’re fortunate enough to have almost all seven of their losses on tape.

The good news is, the available game footage has allowed some poor soul to comb through each game trying to find patterns and connections between the losses that could tie together into some semblance of a strategy. Unfortunately, Boston’s record shows there’s clearly no perfect formula to beating this team. However, there might just be enough insight out there to make Brute Squad’s next championship run a little more challenging.

  1. Privately, yes, one assumes other clubs ask themselves this question annually. 

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  1. Graham Gerhart
    Graham Gerhart

    Graham Gerhart is a Senior Staff Writer at Ultiworld, focusing primarily on the Women's and Mixed divisions. Graham graduated from the University of Cape Town in South Africa after playing 4 years with the UCT Flying Tigers. He now lives and works full time in San Diego. Follow him on twitter @JustGrahamG

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