College Update: Santa Barbara Invite and Carolina Kickoff Get Season Started in Earnest

With major events on both coasts, fans across the country tuned in to college ultimate action over the weekend

NC State Alpha’s Will Scudder under heavy pressure from North Carolina Darkside’s Thomas Harley. Photo: Brian Whittier

Ultiworld’s coverage of the 2024 college season is 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.

Throughout the spring season, we’ll publishing a bite-sized weekly recap of the action across the college division. This will serve as a supplement to our standard tournament reporting and offer a high-level look at the latest happenings and the biggest stories of the week.

Want your tournament listed? Submit a recap of what happened right here.

D-I Women’s


#4 UBC took home the title at Santa Barbara Invite, knocking off #6 Oregon in the final 15-12. UBC was playing without star Mika Kurahashi and two-time Team Canada U24 selection Meagan Gillis, but nevertheless put together an undefeated weekend. The Thunderbirds typically don’t start their competitive season until later in the spring, usually at Stanford Invite in March. UBC’s competitive play this early in January is a good sign for a team looking to build on last season’s semifinal appearance.

Oregon was largely dominant in their run to the final. One- and two-point wins against #5 Stanford and #10 UC Santa Barbara were bookended with 10+ point wins over Northwestern and UCLA as well as a quarterfinal win over regional rival #8 Washington to establish an early Northwest pecking order.

Saturday’s highlights happened in Pool B where upstart UC Santa Cruz, who only made the bracket because #9 BYU does not play on Sundays and dropped out, upset host UCSB in a prequarter game. Fury’s Rachel Chang is clearly going to be a player to watch in the region moving forward for Sol. UCSC also took down BYU during the final round of pool play to earn their first win of the season, while BYU had already won against favored Stanford to establish their top ten bona fides.

Stay tuned for a full recap about the tournament. While you’re waiting you can read Ultiworld’s Day One coverage here. Subscribers can rewatch all the action in our video library.

Around the Division

  • Arizona won their home tournament, New Year Fest, taking down San Diego State in the final to avenge a pool play loss.
  • Ohio State upset home team #21 Virginia in a 9-5 final to win Winta Binta Vinta. Favored Virginia also lost to William & Mary in pool play.
  • T-Town Throwdown was canceled as excessive rain closed the field.

Looking Ahead

Stanford Open is all that’s on the calendar for this coming week. Queen City Tune Up is the week after, where more top teams will be present.

D-I Men’s

SLO Undefeated at SBI

#4 Cal Poly SLO won Santa Barbara Invite, taking down #7 Oregon by a 15-8 score in the final. SLO didn’t give up double digit goals in any game this weekend, riding a powerful defensive performance to an early season statement win. With too many returners to individually list, SLO have their sights set on a return to the stadium games at Nationals, and they certainly got off on the right foot with this performance.

It was an encouraging weekend for finalist Oregon as well. Playing without star Mica Glass, Ego also did not allow double digit goals until losing the final. Oregon is likewise poised to return to the bracket at Nationals; this was certainly a great first step.

For the first time in years, #5 Brigham Young did not go undefeated on the weekend. Though Chad Yorgason, McKay Yorgason, and Jensen Wells carried a strong team to a 4-2 record against tough competition, CHI did lose their annual Friday night showcase game to SLO and took a pool play loss to Washington. Wins over #17 UCLA and UCSD are solid results to take back to Provo for a team looking to improve next weekend at Florida Warm Up.

Stay tuned for a full recap about the tournament. While you’re waiting you can read Ultiworld’s Day One coverage here.

Yawn…UNC wins Carolina Kickoff

To the surprise of absolutely nobody, #1 North Carolina won Carolina Kickoff. Darkside rolled easily through Pool Play, took out plucky #25 South Carolina in the semifinal, and faced a tough #19 NC State team in the final, which UNC won 15-10. The game was close in the first half (NC State had a 6-5 lead), but Darkside pulled away to win, closing the game on a 10-4 run.

Establishing an early Atlantic Coast pecking order, South Carolina and UNC-Charlotte made the semifinal round, taking out Duke and UNC-Wilmington respectively in their quarterfinal games. Penn State also made the quarterfinal, and played UNC to a 15-12 game once there; that’s a good sign of strength for the Ohio Valley Region.

We’ve got you covered with a full recap about the tournament, and you can read Ultiworld’s Day One coverage here.

Around the Division

Looking Ahead

It’s a sparse week in terms of quantity, but not in terms of quality. Florida Warm Up is the premier early season tournament in the men’s division, and 25 teams are descending upon Tampa to compete. #2 UMass, #3 Brown, #5 BYU, #8 Georgia,#9 Texas, #10 Pitt, #11 Minnesota, #12 UVM, #13 CUT, #20 Northeastern, #21 Tufts, #22 Michigan, and #24 WashU are the headliners. Among the more intriguing challengers are Kenni Taylor’s Alabama-Huntsville, Will Wettengel’s Cincinnati, Metro East favorites Cornell, and a rebuilding Wisconsin.

The other events on the calendar are Huckin in the Hills, WVU’s home tournament, and the Stanford Open.

D-III Women’s

No Action This Week

#14 Union was the only team scheduled to compete this week, but they could not play at T-Town Throwdown which was canceled as excessive rain closed the field. With no teams scheduled to play next week, we’ll have to wait until the D-III Grand Prix in two weeks for any in-division action.

D-III Men’s

Around the Division

#4 Richmond had two very distinct days at Mid-Atlantic Warm Up. On Saturday the Spidermonkeys lost to Boston University and James Madison during pool play, but on Sunday the team nearly swept the bracket in a run to the final. They took out recent D-I Nationals team William & Mary in the semifinal before succumbing to a technically sound Case Western Reserve team in the final.

At Carolina Kickoff, a D-I tournament, #22 Carleton CHOP made quite a splash, notching a win against Duke during pool play. Unfortunately, a big loss to UNC-Charlotte earlier on Saturday kept CHOP out of the bracket despite a 2-1 record during pool play. The team also took home wins over Lehigh, Tennessee, and #21 Davidson. Davidson is likely to fall out of the Top 25 after a winless performance against college teams. They did manage to take down the Carolina Flyers Youth Academy U20 team.

#6 Oklahoma Christian played well at Santa Barbara Invite, a high level D-I tournament. OC beat Chicago and Grand Canyon during pool play to make the bracket, where they lost by only two to Utah, a Top 25 D-I team. After a win over UCSD in consolation, OC finished 10th in the 20 team tournament.

Colorado Mines went undefeated in pool play and made the final at New Year Fest, where they fell to Utah Valley. They did beat UVU during pool play, but could not replicate the feat in the final.

Union, like their women’s division counterparts, were scheduled to be competing this week, but they could not play at T-Town Throwdown which was canceled as excessive rain closed the field.

Looking Ahead

It’s a bit of a sparse week across the division, but many of the top teams will be in action at the D-III Grand Prix coming in two weeks.

This weekend, Claremont, Puget Sound, and Portland all make their season debut at the Stanford Open and Franciscan will do the same at Huckin in the Hills, West Virginia’s home tournament.

  1. Alex Rubin
    Alex Rubin

    Alex Rubin started writing for Ultiworld in 2018. He is a graduate of Northwestern University where he played for four years. After a stint in Los Angeles coaching high school and college teams, they moved to Chicago to experience real seasons and eat deep dish pizza. You can reach Alex through e-mail ([email protected]) or Twitter (@arubes14).

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