D-I College Championships 2024: Day One Centering Pass (Women’s Div.)

Two upsets with bracket implications rocked a pool play day shortened by repeated weather delays

SUNY Binghamton’s Arianna Edwards extends for the claw catch against UCSB at the 2024 D-I College Championships. Photo: Rudy Desort – UltiPhotos.com

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Welcome to Centering Pass, Ultiworld’s articles covering tournament news and event stories you need to know.

MADISON, WI – Over the course of an entire day, only four cumulative hours of ultimate were played at the D-I College Championships. That play was spread out over an entire day due to intense thunderstorms and heavy rain that buffeted the area around Reddan Soccer Park. Though only two total rounds were completed, those rounds held their fair share of excitement: the division’s top team lost a universe-point game, and the no. 20 team scored a big upset of their own. We’re in for an exciting, and jam-packed, day of ultimate tomorrow.

The No. 1 Seed Falls: Tufts Topples UBC

In what was definitely the game of the day, Tufts held on universe to lock in their upset of no.1 UBC. Led by Emily Kemp, who posted 9G/2A/3D and just one turnover, Ewo attacked the UBC defense relentlessly through the air. Kemp, on the receiving end of those deep balls, delivered again and again.

After trading several holds, it was Tufts who punched first, notching the opening break early after an observer ruling awarded Lia Schwartz a closely contested catch block. Kemp threw the assist to make it 4-3. It clearly shattered a mental barrier for Ewo, seeing they could break a top team like UBC, and their sideline exploded. “Seeing that break was the pinnacle,” said Kemp. “Like, we can go home at this point.”

Unfortunately, go home they did after Tufts snagged one more break: the game was halted for weather at 8-6. Coming out of the stoppage, it was the Thunderbirds’ turn to punch back. Meagan Gillis ran through a Tufts swing and the offense worked the disc patiently up the field to make it 10-9. They brought it back even a few points later when the wet disc led to a stone cold drop for Tufts. Ella Bolan picked up on the trap sideline and launched a high-stall ball to the end zone, which Mika Kurahashi cleaned up.

The last few points of the game were all Kemp. She rewarded the trust of Lia Schwartz even after Anna Goddu got a piece of a hanging huck, catching it off the bounce to make it 13-12. She wiggled free in the end zone again to make it 14-13. And on universe point, she got the disc back after a red zone turn and outmuscled Goddu in the end zone for yet another goal.

It’s a massive statement from a Tufts team that’s been close with Vermont and UNC this season but unable to get over the hump. It also throws a huge wrench into the bracket: UBC could find themselves across from a red-hot Vermont in quarters if they end up the second team out of Pool A and Ruckus holds seed.

Metro Least No More: SUNY Binghamton Takes Down UCSB

The D-I College Championship’s Mr. Irrelevant, no.20 SUNY Binghamton Big Bear, proved to be a Brock Purdy today. Bing pulled off the most shocking upset of the day, defeating University of California Santa Barbara Burning Skirts 13-11 in a thrilling pool play matchup.

The win can only be described as the Jolie Krebs show — she posted a 1G/10A/2D stat line. She could not be denied the disc, running off of her throws and hitting her teammates in the chest. But Krebs did not do it alone: Melissa Torchio (4G/2A) and Danielle Dattler (2G/1A/2D) were instrumental in the Big Bear win, especially in the dominator set near the end zone. Against the Big Bear zone, UCSB struggled to find any offensive leverage, declining to test Krebs in the deep space and instead showing perhaps a little too much patience.

The loss also puts UCSB’s bracket chances in serious jeopardy and opens the door for Binghamton to climb out of the bottom of the pool into the bracket — something Big Bear explicitly said was their goal before the tournament began.

Notes From Around the Complex

  • Stanford Superfly rose above Pennsylvania Venus in the back half of a messy game, winning 15-7. After the lightning break forced a stoppage at 6-5, Stanford went on a tear, outscoring Venus 9-2. While Stanford was dominant later in the game, the play was sloppy from both sides. Stanford will need to clean up their play if they want to make a deep run into the bracket.
  • In a game that felt more even than the score line, Washington Element defeated Utah Spiral Jetty 15-9. Element wore down Utah with their relentless cutting. Sophia Palmer (2G/4A) and Savanna Tucker (4G/1A/2D) were standouts for Element downfield, while Lucy Tanner held down the backfield. Carly Atwell was everywhere for Utah with 1G/6A/1D, often connecting with Spencer Ewing for scores.
  • An upset on paper, UC San Diego outpaced a shorthanded UVic team 15-8. Without Mari Nielsen or Arabella Brudney, Victoria struggled to connect on offense, though Ericka Edgell was a bright spot for the Vikes with 3G/2A/2D. Jessie Finkelor and Abbi Shilts were a frequent connection on the turn for D-Co.
  • Vermont Ruckus and Colorado Quandary both rolled in their pool play matchups against University of Georgia Athena and Western Washington Chaos, to the tune of 15-6 and 15-5, respectively. Vermont looked the part of championship contenders with their crisp throws and constant defensive pressure. They jumped out to an 8-2 lead at halftime and never looked back. Colorado dismantled Western Washington, their fast break offense proving to be too much for Chaos. Abbie Gillach (3G/2A/3B) was everywhere for Quandary with her driving break throws and sticky defense.
  • On the showcase field, Oregon Fugue survived against University of California Santa Cruz Sol 15-11. Both teams were letting hucks fly and had trouble calibrating to the wind. Although Sol haven’t attended Nationals in 30 years, they played fearlessly, attacking space and throwing deep without hesitation. Zane Bird Smith was all over the field for Sol, throwing driving hucks and playing tremendous matchup defense. Goodness Nwakudu, Ruby Sutherlin Sovern, Monica O’Brien Saez, and Viola Deszily were also great for Santa Cruz. Ultimately, Oregon’s depth and experience won out. Syria Linkfield, Trout Weybright, and Miko Magnant were all outstanding in Fugue’s win.
  • Because of the weather delay and the way the schedule was structured, four teams who didn’t play in rounds 1 or 2 didn’t see action today: Colorado State, Michigan, Carleton, and North Carolina. We’ll see how the extra day of rest (or stagnation) affects them tomorrow.
  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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