College Update: Regional Teams Take Center Stage

A weekend mostly devoid of Top 25 action still had much to offer

Kali Bate helped power Wellesley to an undefeated day at Live Free or Sky. Photo: Kevin Wayner – UltiPhotos.com

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 Division

Without any top teams in action, the spotlight went to some of the emerging Conference and Regionals battles.

  • At Big Sky Brawl in Boise, Idaho, Utah State put together an undefeated weekend and walked away with the tournament victory, beating Nevada-Reno Black Ice 7-5 in the final.
  • Kernel Kup, a two-team, one-game affair between Maryland Helpful Corn and Towson Hammertime, ended in a 12-6 win for Maryland.
  • B-teams reigned supreme at Irvine Open, as UCSD-B Berserk Coalition came out on top in a tight universe point final against UC-Irvine Grass Ninjas by a score of 7-6. In the round prior, UC-Irvine barely snuck past D-III Lewis & Clark, winning 6-5 in Lewis & Clark’s second universe point loss on the weekend to a finalist.
  • New Hampshire Oriza was bested by D-III schools Wellesley and Brandeis at Live Free or Sky, a one-day round robin tournament.

Looking Ahead

Perhaps the most competitive tournament of the regular season, Northwest Challenge, looms on the horizon this coming weekend. Four of the top five teams in our power rankings (#1 North Carolina, #3 British Columbia, #4 Carleton, and #5 Oregon) will be in attendance, and will be joined by #8 Colorado, #10 Brigham Young, #13 Washington, #14 Western Washington, #22 Victoria, and #25 Northeastern. With the competitors present, viewers can be assured of some spectacular highlights and fascinating drama en route to a preview of the latter stages of the bracket at Nationals. You can expect a more detailed preview later this week as well as livestreaming from the event.

In addition, a deep cadre of teams will attend Women’s Centex, highlighted by #15 Colorado State, #16 UT-Dallas, #19 Utah, and Ohio State. For these teams and others on the bubble of earning a bid for their region, a strong showing will be paramount. More coverage is on the way for this event, too.

Elsewhere, teams will take the field at Tally Classic in Florida, Grand Rapids College Invite in Michigan, and Southerns in Georgia.

D-I Men’s Division

The top teams took a collective weekend off — just a little bit of a breather before the final push. In the meantime, various regional-level teams got a chance for some shine.

  • In the men’s division field at Big Sky Brawl, Utah Valley cruised over lesser competition, never ceding more than four goals in a game. The tournament brings their season record to an astounding 19-2, but a lack of competition against teams who have traveled to tournaments outside the mountain west makes it difficult to get a read on how strong the team really is. The round robin format saw BYU-B and Northern Arizona finishing tied in second place. Unfortunately, school rules prohibiting BYU athletics teams from competing on Sundays meant that the decisive match between the two teams was not played.
  • Iowa IHUC thoroughly dominated the field at Centex Tier 2, dispatching a Houston Skyline squad that was initially seeded 13th by a score of 15-5 in the final.  Their closest game was against San Diego State Federales in the semifinals, which they won 15-8.
  • The Miami (Ohio) Boogeymen were everyone’s worst nightmare at Spring Spook, going undefeated and persevering through a couple of close games against the likes of Ohio University and D-III Carthage. It’s possible the Miami Alumni defeated them in the final, but no scores were reported for the alumni’s games.
  • A unique format meant San Jose State Spartans won Silicon Valley Rally on goal differential in a winners pool, despite posting the same number of wins in said pool as both UCLA B and California B and taking a last round loss to California B.

Looking Ahead

Centex Tier 1 is the marquee event on the calendar for next weekend, with #15 Texas, #18 Northeastern, and #22 Brigham Young headlining the field. It will be a very important weekend for both Texas and Northeastern as they seek to secure bids to Nationals for their regions. Other teams in attendance like Texas A&M, Missouri, Florida, Illinois, and Iowa State will provide for some interesting data points of regional connectivity among competent teams hovering just below the Nationals level. Stay tuned for a more detailed event preview later this week as well as live streaming of the event.

Around the country a smattering of tournaments will host action as well, including at Tally Classic in Florida where Auburn enters as the no.1 seed, Free Tournament in New Jersey, Grand Rapids College Invite in Michigan, and Southerns in Georgia.

D-III Women’s Division

New England Regional Foes Battle

At Live Free or Sky regionmates #9 Wellesley Whiptails and Brandeis Banshee squared off. Wellesley came out on top, winning 13-11. The result is encouraging for Brandeis considering Wellesley was a national semifinalist last year; however reports suggest that the game was very windy, casting doubt over what the result might mean going forward. Both teams had commanding victories over New Hampshire.

Around the Division

  • #13 Lewis & Clark Artemis were the lone D-III team in attendance at Irvine Open, and they fared well, losing to both eventual finalists on universe point for a third place finish.
  • Colorado School of Mines Enthalpy represented the People’s Division at Big Sky Brawl. They emerged with a 2-4 record, beating Buffalo Gals, a club team, twice by a combined three points.

Looking Ahead

This weekend will finally bring the season debut of #1 Middlebury Pranksters as they play at Women’s Centex, where #7 Colorado College Zenith, #12 Rice Torque, and #14 Trinity Altitude will also be in attendance in Tier 2. #2 Whitman Sweets are taking on the stacked D-I field at Northwest Challenge, while #6 Carleton Eclipse and Georgia College Lynx Rufus bookend separate pools at Southerns.

There are likely to be other teams in the division in action, but team lists are not available for some of this upcoming weekend’s events.

D-III Men’s Division

No major storylines hinged on this past weekend of action on the men’s side of the People’s Division as the top teams gear up for the late spring sprint.

Around the Division

  • Carthage Blitz took the field at Spring Spook, finishing with a respectable 3-3 record, winning the consolation pool, and beating all teams with “state” in their name.
  • Trinity Turbulence and Rice Cloud 9 played at Centex Tier 2, where they both unfortunately went winless in pool play. That meant the two matched up in the ninth place quarters where Rice bagged the win, proving their 2023 Regionals upset was no fluke.

Looking Ahead

Similarly to the women’s division, Men’s Centex Tier 1 will provide a glimpse of some of the top teams in the division. #1 Oklahoma Christian, #4 Middlebury, and #12 Colorado College will all look to compete with D-I teams. There are currently slated to be no D-III matchups in pool play, so fans of the division will have to keep their fingers crossed that some combination of these teams face off in the bracket. In Florida, #18 Ave Maria is playing at Tally Classic and will hope to prove that their undefeated weekend at Florida Warm Up Weekend 2 was not a fluke. The Gyrenes will face off against fellow D-III Spring Hill in pool play.

Additionally, Davenport University’s men’s team will also be attending the local Grand Rapids College Invite this weekend. #9 Carleton CHOP continue their run against D-I teams at Southerns, with Georgia College their only fellow D-III team. Army, Scranton, Resselaer Polytech, and SUNY-Fredonia will take on the Free Tournament in Princeton, and there are likely to be a smattering of teams in action elsewhere, as well.

  1. Jacob Cowan
    Jacob Cowan

    Jacob Cowan began playing ultimate in New York City in high school. After a couple of club seasons with Brooklyn Blueprint and following a college career playing with and captaining the Grinnell Grinnellephants, he is now searching for the best cheap meal in Madrid.

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