East Coast Invite 2024: How to Watch, Tournament Preview (Women’s Div.)

A newly formalized major late season event out east will play a key role in the women's division landscape.

Vermont Ruckus celebrates at the 2024 Stanford Invite. Photo: Rodney Chen – UltiPhotos.com

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Welcome the newest addition to the tournament landscape, the East Coast Invite! The teams from last year’s round robin decided to make things official, and here we are. Serving as one last tune-up for Nationals hopefuls on this side of the Mississippi, ECI boasts a full line’s worth of top 25 teams. The weekend will no doubt provide one last spark of algorithm drama as we head into the postseason.

Tournament Profile

  • Date: March 30-31
  • Location: Frederica, DE
  • Weather: Temperatures in the 60s with mostly sunny skies, and around 10 mph winds
  • Top 25 teams: 8
  • Schedules & Results
  • Event Page

Streaming Schedule

All Ultiworld Standard and All-Access subscribers will have access to watch the live broadcasts from this year’s East Coast Invite, where we will have two games in each broadcasting round.

The broadcast schedule can be found below:

All times are ET.

Saturday, March 30

8:00 AM: Northeastern vs. Ohio [W] | Virginia vs. Penn State [W]
9:45 AM: Pennsylvania vs. UCLA [W] | Yale vs. Penn State [W]
11:30 AM: SUNY Binghamton vs. West Chester [W] | Wisconsin vs. Columbia [W]
3:00 PM: Brown vs. Michigan [W] | Cornell vs. Carnegie Mellon [W]
4:45 PM: Tufts vs. UCLA [W] | North Carolina vs. Vermont [W]

Sunday, March 31

8:00 AM: Quarterfinal TBD [W] | Quarterfinal TBD [W]
9:45 PM: Semifinal TBD [W] | Semifinal TBD [W]
11:30 PM: Final TBD [W] | 3rd Place Final TBD [W]

Tournament Preview

Frederica Warm Up

It’s ECI’s first iteration, and it’s clear who they’ve modeled themselves after: Florida Warm Up. Just like the legendary early-season men’s tournament, this weekend features a wide array of pairings on Saturday before reseeding teams for the Sunday bracket. Notable Saturday matchups include UNC vs. Vermont, the two top-ranked teams at the tournament, who might play twice in a single weekend if they meet in the final, and Michigan vs. Tufts, a rematch of the Commonwealth Cup final where EWO punched Michigan in the mouth 13-5.

The Revenge of UNC

Everyone knows that #3 UNC Pleiades took their first loss in four years in the semis of Northwest Challenge a few weeks ago, in a hotly contested universe point game against Carleton Syzygy. What we don’t know is how they’ll respond now that the aura of invincibility has been broken. This weekend, if it goes to plan, will pit Pleiades against #4 Vermont Ruckus not once but twice — great reps for the defending champs, but Ruckus might smell blood in the water and pounce. Will Erica Birdsong, Theresa Yu, and newly minted WUC team member Dawn Culton remind the division how they remained undefeated for so long, or will this team rejoin the ranks of the fallible?

A Little March Madness

There hasn’t been a major east coast women’s division tournament this deep into the spring in recent memory. ECI’s potent combination of Nationals-caliber teams and the late date has all the trappings of a bid slugfest. Pennsylvania Venus, Northeastern Valkyries, Brown Shiver, UCLA BLU, Ohio Stacked Cats, Wisconsin Bella Donna, and Michigan Flywheel all sit within less than 250 points (above and below) of the bubble. They’ll all be looking to get statement wins, both for momentum going into the series and, at their most ambitious, to sneak inside the bid cutoff. Though it may be more of an outside chance for teams on the far end of the bubble (Ohio, UCLA, Brown), they don’t call it March Madness for nothing. On the other hand, Northeastern and Penn sit much closer to the line; a couple good wins or one bad loss could easily change their fortunes. With this in mind, almost every game for this group of teams could make the difference.

Other Storylines

  • The Ohio Stacked Cats have quietly put together a 10-3 season including a tournament crown at Huckleberry Flick, their three losses coming by a combined six goals. Granted, they’ll see much better competition at ECI, but a good weekend could set them up to play spoiler in an always-crowded Ohio Valley region.
  • Michigan currently sits well above the bid cutoff, but after Great Lakes rivals Notre Dame’s head-scratcher of a decision to attend Tally Classic dropped Echo by 50 points, Flywheel is the sole owner of a bid up north, which takes the pressure off a bit.
  • Northeastern would love climb back into bid-earning territory, as they’ve found themselves well behind Vermont and Tufts in New England in recent years. Their most recent trip — to Northwest Challenge where they went 1-5 — also hurt them in the rankings, so decisive performances against their Saturday opponents are a must.
  1. Bridget Mizener
    Bridget Mizener

    Bridget Mizener is a Midwesterner by birth, but a product of the North Carolina ultimate machine. She thinks women’s college ultimate coverage is important, so she’s taking it into her own hands. She lives, plays, coaches, etc. in Durham. Tell her everything she got wrong about your team at [email protected].

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