D-III College Regionals 2024: Weekend 2 Preview (Women’s Div.)

It's time to decide the final bids to the D-III College Championships!

Williams' Skylar Yarter throws to Joanie Cha at the 2023 Women's D-III College Ultimate Frisbee Championships. Photo: Kevin Wayner - UltiPhotos.com
Williams’ Skylar Yarter throws to Joanie Cha at the 2023 D-III College Championships. Photo: Kevin Wayner – UltiPhotos.com

Ultiworld’s coverage of the 2024 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.

There are few more exciting portions of the ultimate calendar than spring College Regionals. For some, these events will be the culmination of a season — or even college career — while for others it’s just another step on their path toward the D-III College Championships. Count on plenty of dramatic action and unexpected results along the way as every team fights to ensure they fall into the latter group.

With a majority of D-III Women’s regional representatives for Nationals already determined, there is just one region left: New England. We’ve got you covered on the storylines to watch.

New England

Score Reporter
Location: Williamstown, Massachusetts
Favorites: #10 Middlebury, #11 Bates, #12 Williams
Contenders: #18 Wellesley, Mount Holyoke, Brandeis, #21 Dartmouth
Nationals Bids: 3
Excitement Level: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Our final region is finally set to send contenders to Nationals, and it’s a big one. With four teams in the top 20, including the reigning three time national champion Middlebury, and only three total bids, New England is set to end Nationals qualifications with a bang. The largest D-III region by total teams, New England has long been at the top of the division in terms of regional strength. While that dominance faltered this season, the intrigue is stronger than ever. The recent powerhouses include Middlebury and Wellesley, but these two teams have stuttered in the past few months and will need a strong showing to find themselves competing in Wisconsin. Rising teams with their eyes on the regional crown include Bates, Williams, and a group of dark horse challengers in Mount Holyoke, Brandeis, and Dartmouth. Grab your popcorn, because the NE Regional never disappoints.

Our favorites tier includes Middlebury, Bates, and Williams, three teams that could not have had more different seasons. For the #10 Middlebury Pranksters, they started the season perched atop the power rankings until their first showing at Centex. In T1, they struggled to find any success, only beating Texas State and Colorado College. It was clear the dynasty was crumbling, but Middlebury proved they weren’t done at New England Open, where they beat every D-III team in attendance, including a 7-6 win over potential dark horse Brandeis. With a tough regular season, Middlebury found themselves solidly on the outside of bid earning territory.1 In unfamiliar territory, Middlebury showed up at Conferences, going 4-0 including 6-5 over Bates and 6-3 over Dartmouth. While they had to deal with a ton of turnover from last season, Middlebury can prove they can retool well by putting it together when it counts. For Middlebury to secure a bid, stars Keziah Wilde and Lucy VanNewkirk will need to show up in a big way.

A team truly taking advantage of the changing of the guard at the top of the region, #11 Bates Cold Front entered the postseason as NE1. While Bates found success pre-pandemic with back-to-back runner-up finishes in 2018 and 2019, they have yet to claim their spot since. Starting the season at No Sleep till Brooklyn, Bates struggled against strong D-III competition with a 9-6 loss to Wesleyan and a dismal 12-2 loss to Wellesley. It looked like Bates’ season would be a repeat of recent past, but then they showed up at Northeast Classic and went 6-1, including getting a 7-5 victory against the best team in attendance, Haverford/Bryn Mawr. While they couldn’t come away with the tournament victory, falling to Haverford/Bryn Mawr in the final, Bates clearly cemented themselves as a challenger and earned a strength bid for the NE. Their postseason is off to a rocky start though, as Bates found themselves on the losing end of two one-point games against Dartmouth and Middlebury to finish 2-2 at North New England Conferences. To find success, Cold Front will need to lean on experienced captains Jamie “Midas” Bell and Liv “Goat” Meyers, as well as experienced players Ellie “Goose” Schueler and Cassidy “Apex” Myer. Can Bates continue their late season success and claim one of the three bids, or will the nerves shake this relatively inexperienced team within the D-III scene?

The final squad in our favorites tier is a team we here at Ultiworld were high on going into the 2024 season, #12 Williams Nova. Unlike Bates, Williams came out strong at No Sleep till Brooklyn, getting single point wins against Wesleyan and Wellesley on route to a 5-1 record. At their next tournament, Rodeo, Williams beat every team except for Duke, including a 11-4 win against regional challenger Dartmouth. They continued their success at Conferences with a 4-0 record, notching a 10-5 win over Mount Holyoke. While Williams may not dominate regional opponents like favorites in other regions, Nova clearly know how to finish out close games. In order to continue this success and find a path to Nationals, Williams will need to rely on experienced stars Skylar Yarter, Emily Stanger, and Joanie Cha. Nova will also look for contributions from younger players including Sonia Zinkin-Meyers, Sydney Ghorayeb, and Aliza Cotton.

The strongest challengers include Wellesley, Brandeis, and Dartmouth. The #18 Wellesley Whiptails are the mightiest of the bunch, with a single point loss to Williams and a split with Bates on the season. Wellesley was able to take care of business at Conferences, with their closest win being 13-10 over Brandeis. This team has postseason experience, reaching semifinals in 2022 and 2023. If they can get hot at the right time, the Whiptails could find themselves walking away with the bid they narrowly earned for the region. The Whiptails will need big contributions from Annika Wolberg and Bella Steedly.

Brandeis Banshee could be a dark horse if they find themselves in a key game-to-go. With close losses to top NE teams, including 13-10 and 13-11 losses to Wellesley and a 7-6 loss to Middlebury, Banshee could find themselves in a position to rely on their small team and come away with an upset. Senior Captain Sofia “Cypress” Cohen will need to lead the team on and off the field for Banshee to find success.

In only their second year playing in Division III, #21 Dartmouth is peaking at the right time. They struggled in the regular season, going 5-8 with numerous close games, including an 11-8 loss to Haverford/Bryn Mawr, 9-7 loss to Duke, and an 8-7 loss to Liberty. Dartmouth’s biggest case for upset potential comes in the form of their 3-1 record at Conferences where they finally found a win against a strong D-III team in Bates. If they find themselves in the right spot in the schedule, they could rely on strong players like Anna Salafsky, Lydia Cramer, and Madeleine Carr.

Our final challenger, Mount Holyoke, is in a similar boat to Dartmouth and Brandeis. While they aren’t in the position they want to be going into Regionals, Mount Holyoke Daisy Chain has put together a respectable 9-8 season. Close losses to Wesleyan and Rochester show they can stay in games, and with three bids up for grabs, truly anything can happen. This group comes in with big game experience, too, including players with strong showings at 2023 Nationals in ROTY second runner-up Charlotte Moynihan, Jamie Eldridge, and Molly Potts. Daisy Chain also boast rising stars on offense with Eliza Williams-Derry and Audrey Brogna, and big defensive contributions from Madeline Wychocki and Reece Liu. While this group hasn’t had consistent success in 2024, don’t count them out from making a bracket run to swipe a bid.

  1. Bates, Williams, and Wellesley were the bid earners for the region, with Wellesley beating out Trinity for the strength bid by a single point in the USAU algorithm 

  1. Anna Browne
    Anna Browne

    Anna Browne is a writer for the D-III Women's Division. She has been playing competitive ultimate since 2019, spending her college years at Michigan Tech. Anna is based in Detroit, Michigan where she plays in the Women's Club Division and coaches the Michigan Tech Superior Ma's.

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