D-III College Championships 2024: Pool Previews (Women’s Div.)

Get to know the 16 teams competing for a D-III college title!

Portland UPRoar’s Julianna Galian kickspikes the disc into orbit in the semifinal of the 2023 D-III College Championships. Photo: Keivn Wayner – UltiPhotos.com

Ultiworld’s coverage of the 2024 college ultimate 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.

The D-III College Championships are almost here, and that means it’s pool preview time! With one of the most wide-open fields in years that saw the #1 spot in our power rankings shift hands multiple times, 16 worthy teams arrive at the campaign’s final weekend ready to crown a national champion. Middlebury is chasing a fourpeat after a rocky regular season, Portland looks to secure their first title after years of knocking on the door with a star-filled squad, Macalester hopes to make a mark on the division in only their second-ever trip to D-III Nationals, and a bevy of other challengers are gearing up to make a push in the bracket.

We’ve got you covered for all the exciting action this weekend, but before the first pull goes up, let’s get to know the teams who will be competing in Milwaukee. Then follow along on the D-III College Championships event page for updates and livestreams throughout the weekend!

Pool A

Teams: No.1 Portland, No.8 Wesleyan, No.12 Mount Holyoke, No.13 Grinnell
Overall Strength: 💪💪💪
Star Power: ⭐⭐⭐⭐️
Upset Alert: 🚨🚨

Portland UPRoar

Portland is known for bouncing around pools at Nationals but this year, they have managed to take the top seed of their pool and the entire tournament. While their rise to the top is undoubtedly deserved, it was not an easy trek for Portland. The regular season against D-III competition was a breeze for UPRoar, except for regional thorn-in-their-side, Whitman. Losing to a team twice in one tournament and once more in ConfRegionals is probably the hardest thing to come back from in ultimate, but UPRoar was able to pull off an upset against the Sweets, solidifying themselves as the Northwest’s top dog.

Portland is no stranger to Nationals, so despite having only two seniors on their roster, most of their team still has at least one Nationals appearance under their belt. Captains JJ Galian and Mallori Boddy will be spearheading their team to live up to the high bar UPRoar has set for themselves. This should be an easy task with Galian’s constant hustle and beautiful looks and Boddy’s drive to make plays and set her team up for success. Adding to UPRoar’s experience are sophomores Hayden Ashley and Annalise Korch. Ashley quickly rose as Portland’s most powerful handler and a tough matchup in the backfield. Korch had an impressive debut in last year’s Nationals and is looking to add even more goals to her stat sheet. Portland is bringing a stacked roster to Milwaukee and is in a strong position to win their pool and easily make their way far into the bracket.

Wesleyan Vicious Circles

Wesleyan has had a pretty redemptive season and they are looking to continue this run into Nationals weekend. Looking back at last year’s Nationals, the Vicious Circles had a tough time in pool play, dropping them all the way down to 13th place consolation play. Coming into the 2024 season, if Wesleyan wanted to prove once again they are worthy of the Metro East’s sole bid, they would have to make their way to the top, starting from the bottom. The Vicious Circles had a decent run at No Sleep till Brooklyn with close wins over Bates and Mount Holyoke, but they didn’t reach their stride until late March at the Northeast Classic. The strength they developed in the regular season against tough matchups primed them to have a clean run at the Metro East ConfRegionals and re-earn their bid to Wisconsin. Wesleyan may still be riding the high of their newfound glory but will need to lock in if they want to have a chance of making it into the bracket.

Contributing to the Vicious Circles in pool play are Nationals returners Susannah Cornell and Emma Steckline. Cornell is incredibly speedy and has established herself as a reliable initiating cutter. Steckline is one of the Vicious Circles’ strongest throwers and dependable reset. You can expect these two to collect many goals and assists throughout the tournament. Rising star, Maggie Brown, is also returning for her second Nationals appearance and will be making huge plays downfield. Freshman Scout Noble and Nola Busansky have been first-year standouts. Wesleyan has developed its roster and while pool play may come with mixed results, they surely will be making strides towards the championship bracket.

Mount Holyoke Daisy Chain

Putting this New England school in the third seed might be a mistake because Mount Holyoke is ready to sound the upset alarm in Pool A. Daisy Chain’s season was anything but smooth sailing. Their rough appearance at No Sleep Till Brooklyn and their mixed results run at the Northeast Classic may have counted Daisy Chain out as a contender for Nationals. Their 10-5 loss to Williams at the South New England Sectionals also looked like it shut the door on their dream of making it to Nationals.

Still, Daisy Chain held onto the little hope they had left. While D-III fans had their bets on Middlebury, Williams, and Bates, Mount Holyoke bet on themselves and the returns were high. Their Regionals run started a little shaky when they lost to Brandeis in pool play, but their morale was boosted with easy wins over Stonehill and Bentley. This uptick in their drive was further developed by handler duo Jamie Eldridge and Molly Potts, who lead their team to open space and more polished plays. Their handling work became even more successful with cutters Charlotte Moynihan and Eliza Williams-Derry hustling downfield for greater completions.

While Daisy Chain was taking wins, Williams was battling against Middlebury in the crossover game. Williams fell short in UP, and just two weeks after their big win over Mount Holyoke, they met again in the quarterfinals. Did Daisy Chain kick Nova while they were down, or did they have a mission to redeem themselves and come out on top? Only pool play can truly answer this burning question, but if Daisy Chain can pull off that unexpected upset and end up in second place at Regionals, you shouldn’t be surprised to see them deep in the championship bracket. You could just doubt them – that seems to fuel them even more.

Grinnell Grinneleanor Roosevelt

Welcome to Nationals, Grinnell! To be honest, no one was expecting you, but we’re glad you got the invite! Being in a strong region with four bids to Nationals has its perks, and Grinnell took advantage of them. While the Grinneleanor Roosevelts had a rough regular season and met tough matchups like St. Olaf and Carleton Eclipse at the North Central ConfRegionals, they still managed to snag the last bid available. Grinnell is now gearing up their player for the Nationals stage. Their key players include Claire Torgelson and Sara Garcia who consistently look to each other for score-earning plays. These teammates and, more importantly, roommates will probably be sharing the same dream of connecting on the field in the next few nights leading up to Nationals.

Grinnell is in the perfect position to write their own story filled with plots twists and a happy ending. In ultimate, it sometimes is the case that one player makes the team. This weekend, Grinneleanor Roosevelts will be missing one of their top players Meredith Neid, due to an unfortunate graduation/Nationals scheduling conflict. While this could be an offensive loss for Grinnell, it is up to them not to make it one. Grinnell’s team is still stacked with offensive machine Grace Kurtz, and defensive walls Betty Lin and Lucy Leither. When push comes to shove, the Grinneleanor Roosevelts are also backed by coach duo Nick Culver and Bex Crown, who have worked hard to develop the team into a National bid-stealing squad. Grinnell seems like a team that came out of nowhere, but D-III fans may be in for a crazy surprise and see Grinnell moving past pool play.

Pool B

Teams: No.2 Union, No.7 Carleton College, No.11 Lewis & Clark, No.14 Richmond
Overall Strength: 💪💪💪💪
Star Power: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Upset Alert: 🚨🚨🚨🚨

You have arrived at pool B and hopefully you brought your waders, because we are up to the hip in upset potential. What makes this pool so particularly exciting is the amount of apparent parity in this pool. Sure the seeding is the seeding, but if we take a look at the always correct(™) Power Rankings you’ll see a much clearer picture of the perceived closeness of these teams. Union Jillz are ranked #6, Carleton College Eclipse are ranked #7, Lewis & Clark Artemis are ranked #9, and Richmond Redhots are ranked #19. Any of the top three teams could realistically walk away with the quarterfinals bye and Richmond has a very real chance of denying one of these teams a bracket run at all.

Union Jillz

Last year the Jillz barely snuck into the championship event, squeaked into the bracket, and then very nearly knocked off a strong Williams team for a top eight appearance. This year their spot is much more sturdy coming in as the no.2 seed and clear favorites in the Southeast. The Jillz are led by veteran Tori Green as well as captains Claire Ward and Olivia Haynes, a core that has recent Nationals experience from last season. The real excitement about this team comes from their lack of exposure against other D-III teams. They played all of their games in the Southeast which has limited the connectivity for the Jillz. They were consistent all season though, losing only two games and each of those by only a single point. The Jillz will finally have the opportunity to prove themselves against top D-III talent this weekend.

Carleton Eclipse

Nearly perennial Nationals contenders and three-time champions Carleton College Eclipse are back and, as ever, seem like they have a chance to win it all. Finishing second last year, Eclipse are returning a lot of the talent that got them there including, but not limited to, Rowan Dong, and Frankie Saraniti. The Eclipse have every reason to believe they can get out of Pool B with the quarters bye and go on to make a deep run. Their only losses this year are to other top eight teams: #2 Colorado College, and #1 Portland from way back in Feburary at D-III Grand Prix and then most recently a one point loss in pools to #4 Macalester at North Central ConfRegionals who went on to win. They also demonstrated their ability to hang with those same top teams by beating #3 St. Olaf handily at North Central ConfRegionals 15-2. With how close the teams seem coming into Nationals, experience and good coaching may be what tips the scales for a team like Carleton, and Eclipse have both of those in spades. It’s well within the Eclipse’s ability to make another run to the final – and possibly win the whole thing.

Lewis & Clark Artemis

Let’s go ahead and address the obvious: Gemma Munck was injured in the first place final against #1 Portland UPRoar. When #5 Whitman played against #9 Lewis & Clark in the final game to go, by all reports, the team was gassed and deflated and without their star player. That being said, Lewis & Clark absolutely deserves to be here. This Artemis team has been improving since their first showing at D-III Grand Prix where they traded games with Puget Sound and lost to Carleton College, Whitman, Portland, and Colorado College. Not to worry, they battled back at Irvine Open for a third place finish and then of course punched their ticket to Milwaukee at the Northwest ConfRegional. Also worth noting is that in pool play at ConfRegional they came within one of eventual tournament winners and #1 Portland UPRoar. Even though they might not be the favorites, it’s well within reason for Lewis & Clark to come out on top of this pool.

Richmond Redhots

Other than maybe the #15 Davenport Panthers, the #19 Richmond Redhots are the team in their pool’s bottom spot with the highest chance of making the bracket. That’s not because they have easy opponents by any means, but because they seem like the strongest team of the bottom four seeds. The Redhots have been slowly improving in results all season. They started with a fourth place finish at Commonwealth cup where they beat the aforementioned Panthers in their quarterfinal match. Then they finished as runners up at the Atlantic Coast Open. Finally they won the Atlantic Coast ConfRegional beating previous Atlantic Coast representatives Catholic twice en route to their eventual victory. A lot of the heavy lifting for the Redhots this season is being done by Lucy Sevetson, Emma Alatzas, Arianna Kightlinger and of course their Donovan nominee Kavya Borra. Don’t be shocked if the Redhots make it into the bracket over one of these teams.

Pool C

Teams: No.3 Macalester, No.6 Colorado College, No.10 Middlebury, No.15 Davenport
Overall Strength: 💪💪💪💪💪
Star Power: ⭐⭐⭐
Upset Alert: 🚨🚨🚨🚨🚨

Welcome to the show, because we sure have a treat for you in pool C. With a group of teams chock full of teamwide contributors, pool C will be a fight in every game. All four teams in this pool have been on both sides of the upset table, most notable of them all being Middlebury. What makes this pool so intriguing is the disparity between the teams in both their seasonal trajectories and their long term results. All four of these teams are peaking at just the right time, and you would be crazy to not tune into every stream or refresh scores every minute when these games are happening. While the Power Rankings may show clear favorites with Colorado College at #2 and Macalester at #4, don’t forget that #11 Middlebury pulled off an 8-7 win over Colorado College back in March and that this is #23 Davenport’s first ever Nationals with a small roster that can only benefit from a spread out tournament format. For the first time in my D-III Women’s recollection, realistically any of these four teams could top pool C to close out Saturday.

Macalester Pursesnatchers

If someone would have told me that the NC would be won by someone other than #3 St. Olaf or #7 Carleton College Eclipse, I would have been shocked. If you would’ve said that team would be Macalester, and that both St. Olaf and Carleton Eclipse would be championship contenders, I truly would have been dumbfounded. Well, here I am with my mouth on the floor and Macalester perched atop the pool of death.

For a team that was on nobody’s radar, the Pursesnatchers have put together quite a resume with a truly dominant group of players. While their season record against St. Olaf is 1-2, Macalester has closed the gap in every appearance and came away with the most important win of them all, a 7-6 universe point win before the wind picked up. Outside of St. Olaf, Macalester has a 3-0 record against the Nationals field, including a 8-5 win over fellow pool C competitors Davenport. They also found success against strong D-I programs Northwestern and Iowa State. Looking back at the Pursesnatchers best performance of the season, and their most recent one, their single point wins against Carleton Eclipse and St. Olaf came heavily on the backs of Claire Lee. A dominant player in the elite mixed club space, Lee brings a level of athleticism and skill that is rarely seen in the D-III division. While it is easy for a player of Lee’s caliber to carry themselves in a way that hurts the team as a whole, Lee prioritizes being a distributor. This is seen through strong continuation looks, usually to other star players Sophie Diliberti, Iris Guo, Zayna Hopkins, or a reset to Claire Knopf. While this is the Pursesnatcher’s first Nationals appearance since 2011, this group is poised to hit the ground running and continue shaking up the national landscape.

Colorado College Zenith

Coming in as a preseason favorite to challenge the title, Colorado College looked the part in their opening tournament, D-III Grand Prix. With a 1-1 split with Carleton Eclipse, a close loss to Portland, and a respectable loss to the Gemma Munck led Whitman, Colorado College set themselves up well for the season with a strong performance. After dominating at Snow Melt and getting a commanding win over Trinity at Centex, Colorado College looked to not only be the clear SC favorite, but a favorite for the title. An uncharacteristic loss to our third seeded team in this pool, Middlebury, brought Zenith back down to earth. While Colorado College has yet to overcome Middlebury in recent history1, their dominant performance at SC ConfrRegionals paints a clear picture that Zenith is the team to beat.

Colorado College is another squad that finds success through a large distribution of roles. While there are a few standouts, notably Sabine “Bean” Blumenthal2, Kelsey Viadro, Casey Shaw-Merrigan, and Elsa Hoff, Zenith is a team that can dominate you with depth. Definitely underrated as the #6 overall, Colorado College is a clear favorite to find deep bracket success this weekend.

Middlebury Pranksters

The Pranksters have had the most turbulent ride of all their pool C companions. Starting the season as the #1 team in our Power Rankings, a place where they sat for months before their first sanctioned competition, and returning star players like Keziah Wilde and Lucy VanNewkirk, it seemed like Middlebury would weather the graduation storm easily. Well, Tier 1 of Centex had another story. After getting torn apart in pool play to mid-tier D-I schools, Middlebury was relegated to the ninth place bracket where they finally found success against Texas State and the aforementioned Colorado College. After Centex, it was clear that this would be a different Middlebury team than we had all grown accustomed to in the past few seasons.

Middlebury was able to right the ship at New England Open, going 4-2 with a win over Brandeis. However, a 12-1 loss to D-I Connecticut made it clear that the Pranksters were still going through some growing pains. Finding themselves on the outside looking in for the bid picture was new for Middlebury, but they took that in stride. In a common theme for pool C, Middlebury turned into a dominant squad in April, going 4-0 in Conferences with a 6-5 win over the then top team in the NE, Bates. The Pranksters continued this success at Regionals just two weeks ago, beating bid earning Williams twice and losing by just one point, 10-9, to Wellesley in the quarterfinal of the first place bracket. While this Middlebury team may not be the juggernaut we are used to going into Nationals, they clearly cannot be underestimated after racking up the upsets in their past few appearances.

Surprisingly, the biggest question mark for the Pranksters is the whereabouts of returning POTY Keziah Wilde, who is taking a train across the country to get to Nationals. The Pranksters claim she is AWOL, but is this reason for concern or is Middlebury just leaning into their namesake?

Davenport Panthers

Coming into the season as the first scholarship program in the women’s college division, Davenport’s location in the Great Lakes made for a favorable environment for their first Nationals appearance. What was unclear was if they would be a real competitor at Nationals or if they would be just a step above the other GL teams. Well, after a dominant performance at GL ConfRegionals, where the Panthers let up just 13 points in seven games with a small roster, it is clear that Davenport is not a pushover. While Davenport has an 0-2 record against the Nationals field — a 8-5 loss to Macalester and a 8-7 loss to Richmond — the Panthers are bringing their largest squad ever to a tournament. With several extra legs and a spread out tournament schedule, plus over a full month to prepare for their first Nationals experience, Davenport won’t be just happy to be there.

For the Panthers to find success, they will need to lean heavily on their core of captains, Lanie O’Neill, Yasmin Bañares, and KayAnna Williams. O’Neill and Bañares in particular are set to dominate the field, and will be integral to Davenport’s success in a stacked pool. Not to be ignored, the Panthers have a rockstar of a coach in Jessica Creamer complimented by an experienced captain squad which turns the young Panthers group into an incubator of development. Davenport may be the strongest fourth seed a pool has seen in D-III history, and their fellow pool-mates should not take any game with them for granted.

Pool D

Teams: No.4 St. Olaf, No.5 Haverford/Bryn Mawr, No.9 Wellesley, No.16 Occidental
Overall Strength: 💪💪💪💪
Star Power: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Upset Alert: 🚨🚨🚨

Historically the pool of death due to housing the no.4, no.5 and no.9 seeds, Pool D in 2024 seems no different, boasting three region winners and none of them the top seed in the pool. All have spots on their record, racking up impressive wins alongside head-scratching losses. As is customary in D-III, none of these teams saw each other during the regular season, but there is some recent Nationals history between the four squads. Wellesley and Occidental were poolmates just last year, with the Whiptails recording the easy 15-4 win in the opening round. While Occidental were relegated to the consolation pool, the other three teams found their way to the bracket, where Haverford and Bryn Mawr and St. Olaf went down to the wire in prequarters. Vortex snagged the universe point win but Wellesley took the wind out of their sails in the very next round, taking a 15-10 victory and a semis berth. If last year is any indication, each of the top three seeds has hope of a deep bracket run, and each game should bring the fireworks.

St. Olaf Vortex

After their impressive regular season, #3 St. Olaf should be counted in the running for a title. It’s been a minute since their first and only back in the Tulsa Douglas era of 2018, but Vortex is undeniably one of the division’s stalwarts, making quarters or better in every Nationals they’ve attended dating back to 2013.3 St. Olaf has sat in the top five of our weekly power rankings since the preseason – even briefly holding the #1 spot after back-to-back undefeated tournament showings at Needle in a Ho-Stack and Old Capitol Open. Wins over fellow Nationals-attendees Grinnell and Macalester made them appear a lock to snag the first bid out of the North Central, and success against D-I’s Alabama-Huntsville put them in contention for the top Nationals seed.

But then North Central ConfRegionals reminded us why we play the games. After cruising through pool play, Macalester, who St. Olaf had already dispatched twice during the regular season, snatched the region from Vortex’s grasp on universe, willed through the wind by the Pursesnatchers’ Donovan nominee Claire Lee. It marked just the third loss on St. Olaf’s season, and the third by one point. With four bids to Nationals, Olaf’s spot was already assured, but they still posted a 15-2 loss to Carleton in the second-place game.

But now it’s Nationals, and Olaf’s deep roster has more experience here than most. Only graduating four players from last year’s quarterfinalist team, St. Olaf is helmed by 2023 BOTY Leina Goto4 and captain Emily Mulhern. Both poised field generals, Mulhern and Goto are unafraid to chisel upfield with swings and uplines or stretch the field with hucks, often to the tall and sure-handed Erica Collin, who also tied for the team-high in blocks in 2023. Captain Grace Milhaupt leads the counterattack and got plenty of experience doing so in Vortex’s multiple zero- and one-point allowed games. Only first year players, Rachel Katzovitz and Lexi Swiglo are ready to make their mark on the division with polished throws and precise timing. Olaf may face another three-way tie in the pool as they did in 2023, but they should make the bracket. There, Carleton and Macalester will likely await; there’s a strong chance we’ll see a North Central revenge match with title stakes on the line.

Haverford and Bryn Mawr Sneetches

#8 Haverford and Bryn Mawr’s third-straight trip to Nationals sees them as the second seed in their pool for the third-straight year – though it’s their highest seed since 2014. Historically the Sneetches have jostled for position near the middle of the pack, separating themselves from lower seeds in the pool but falling short of the Middleburys and Carletons of D-III. But the Sneetches’ list of losses at Nationals the past two years doesn’t extend much further, only adding Portland and St. Olaf. It’s HBM’s strongest position in years and they’ll likely make the bracket, but how they perform in pool play will speak volumes about the team’s potential to finally break through to semis.

The Sneetches’ perhaps only similar level of competition this season occurred at Northeast Classic. Attending the tournament for the second year in a row, Haverford and Bryn Mawr this time succeeded in securing a win over Bates,5 reversing a pool play loss to claim the tournament. It wouldn’t be their last revenge win of the season: after posting a 12-7 loss to Scranton, a team who hadn’t played the regular season, the Sneetches put any questions to bed with 14-4 and 15-7 wins over the Electric City at Regionals to claim the sole bid.

The Sneetches’ ability to adjust after losses and employ effective countermeasures in their next meeting – evidenced by their adjustments to Scranton’s style of play – can, in part, be attributed to their expanded coaching staff. Head Coach Jason Oswald has been with the team for several years now, helping to establish strategic continuity in a team formerly led by just the captains. Though this year is his last with the team, the Sneetches have plans for the future, with Philadelphia Surge players Linda Morse and Nikki Ross joining the coaching staff this year to inject plenty of knowledge and energy.

But players, of course, are the ones who win the games. Clara Morton and Zoe Costanza are a lethal one-two punch, playing with a pace and vision that cuts through defenses to the tune of fourth- and fifth-most assists at 2023 Nationals. Costanza in particular is electric on the field: she was the only player at Nationals to finish in the top five in both goals and assists, was one of few to post a triple double on the weekend (17G/22A/12D), and has a propensity to hit the ground fast and often. Amy Tse and Phoebe Hulbert add to the team’s throwing power, frequently dealing to finishers Sonia Nicholson and Anja Kottmann. The Sneetches, like Vortex, field a young roster, with many key contributors poised to make another run next year, but after two years of early bracket exits, you can bet these players have their sights set on a higher finish in 2024.

Wellesley Whiptails

It’s no secret we at Ultiworld were bearish about #11 Wellesley this year, despite the team’s incredible success in the 2020s – appearances at both Nationals the team was able to attend, second- and third-place finishes, and only two losses on the biggest stage to division heavyweights Carleton and Middlebury. But after graduating eight of last Nationals’ 18-person roster, an adjustment period was to be expected, and the Whiptails fell as low as #18 in our Power Rankings following a poorer-than-expected Northeast Classic.

Wellesley did enough, however, with an early win over Bates and split games on the season with the Metro East’s Wesleyan and Rochester, to earn the division’s final strength bid and grant the Northeast a third ticket to Nationals. It seemed like the Whiptails would need it, with four teams seemingly in contention for three bids in Middlebury, Bates, Williams and Wellesley. The situation seemed dire when a pool play loss to Bates set up a quarterfinal matchup with Middlebury, but Wellesley seemed to have worked out their season jitters. The Whiptails pulled off the universe point victory against the Pranksters, their first-ever win over Middlebury, and sailed to the final from there to claim the region for the first time.

With the departure of major producers like Roo Dolan and Leah Black, Donovan nominee and captain Bella Steedly and junior Annika Wolberg have taken the reigns and are ready to drive the ‘Tails to a deep bracket run. Prepared to run and bid all the way there is sophomore Kali Bate, who caught the Whiptails’ game-winning goal against Middlebury, while first-year EmmaChaya Lipton-Praver will flex her throws as a young handler who’s stepped into a large role on the team. Senior Addie New-Schmidt acts as a wall on the defensive side, notching run-through blocks and critical defensive stands, such as her emphatic footblock on Middlebury’s handler phenom Keziah Wilde in Wellesley’s Regionals victory.

With the top three seeds in each pool making the bracket, Wellesley should have little problem finding their way to the bracket, where they have more experience than most any team at the tournament. It would be a tall order to get through St. Olaf but not impossible, and while Haverford and Bryn Mawr recorded better scores against common opponents, Wellesley seems to be peaking at the perfect moment, and a historic win over the three-time champs is sure to bolster their confidence.

Occidental WAC

Rounding out the pool and the Nationals field are Occidental WAC. Occidental was a preseason favorite to take down the Southwest, but early season stumbles against D-I competition at Santa Clara University Presidents’ Day, where they only notched wins on back-to-back universe point games in the fifth-place pool, didn’t inspire confidence. The only other team in the Southwest, Claremont, didn’t fare much better in their outings, though the argument could be made that the experience granted by two tournaments and a game against Eclipse gave the Greenshirts the edge. But Occidental made an irrefutable counterargument, bageling Claremont at the Claremont Classic. ConfRegionals, a first of its kind in Southeast D-III women’s, was a best-of-three winner-take-all and resulted in a closer affair, with Claremont and Occidental recording the same overall win margin. But Occidental got the wins to bookend the tournament and cap the latest installment in a back-and-forth regional rivalry that dates back to at least 2008.

As noted on a recent episode of Deep Look, with their latest appearance Occidental WAC are tied for longest active Nationals-attendance streak in the division, alongside Middlebury and Carleton, dating back to 2019. They’ve made the bracket twice in that stretch, breaking through to quarters in 2021 where they fell in a close match to final-bound Portland before taking down Michigan Tech on universe to claim fifth. Most of that squad graduated in 2023 – and unfortunately the remaining pair and two of the current captains, Amanda Iglesias and Ava Letterie, do not appear to be on WAC’s Nationals roster – but Lily van Linder is more than prepared to pilot the sophomore-heavy squad after leading the team in blocks and assists at the past Nationals. If WAC find success, it’ll be thanks to bigger roles from players like fellow sophomore and fellow Lily, “Bazzi” Pesikoff. It’ll take a full team effort and they’ll have to play much better than their early season 13-3 loss to Carleton to have a chance at knocking off one of the higher seeds in pool D and making a return to the bracket.

  1. Middlebury knocked Colorado College out of the bracket in 2023 with a 15-6 win in quarterfinals. 

  2. Blumenthal missed the 2023 season with a torn ACL, but is back and looking better than ever 

  3. That’s 10 D-III Nationals in total, eight since 2013. 

  4. Who did not play at ConfRegionals but is on the roster for Nationals 

  5. Then on an ascendant path to claiming NE1 entering the postseason, only for Bates’ season to stop cold at Regionals 

  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.

  2. Zack Davis
    Zack Davis

    Former D-III player for Spring Hill College, poached on the breakside.

  3. Raquel Alegria
    Raquel Alegria

    Originally from Los Angeles and a current senior at Wellesley College, Raquel is majoring in Economics and minoring in Psychology. Over the past two years, she has been playing for the Wellesley Whiptails and has developed a strong passion for the sport of ultimate.

  4. Theresa Diffendal
    Theresa Diffendal

    Theresa began playing frisbee in 2014 at Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh. Having lived all over Pennsylvania, she’s settled at the moment in Harrisburg with her partner and plays with the mixed club team Farm Show. She received her BA from Bryn Mawr where she played with the Sneetches and her Master’s from the University of Maryland.



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