Women’s ultimate earns spot at Div. III Nationals

Women’s ultimate, after placing second behind Smith at Sectionals on April 12 and 13, hosted Regionals last weekend on Cole Field. The women clinched first place after an impressive run and dramatic final victory over defending-national champion Bowdoin, qualifying them for Div. III Nationals for the fourth year in a row.

Out of a total of eight teams, the women were seeded No. 4 behind No. 1 Bowdoin, No. 2 Bates and No. 3 Smith. Mount Holyoke, Wellesley, Stonehill and Brandeis also qualified. In pool play last Saturday, the Ephs faced a tough schedule. After defeating Stonehill 10-9 on a heated universe point, the women downed Mount Holyoke handily by a score of 13-6. Finally, with two victories under their belts, the women were undaunted by their Bates’ No. 2 seeding and dominated the contest, trouncing Bates 15-5.

Williams went into Sunday’s games with momentum from its three crucial victories and first-place finish in its pool. The women next faced Smith in a semifinal elimination game on Sunday. Having lost to Smith at Sectionals, the women were eager to break Smith’s tough defense that combined close, intense handler marks with poaches in the downfield. The women’s depth and poach defense frustrated Smith’s handlers and tired their cutters, as the women bested Smith by a final score of 9-6 to advance to the Regional Championship against Bowdoin.

The women, having lost to Bowdoin twice at Regionals and in the championship game at Nationals last year, were ready for redemption with tri-captains Meagan Clark ’14, Emma Rouse ’14 and Chelsea Zhu ’15 leading the way.

The first two points of the game lasted a combined 25 minutes as the teams were very evenly matched. After trading points, the women pulled ahead largely because of their poach defense. Bowdoin tied the game after a critical timeout. The women played conservatively as handlers opted to swing the disc patiently, waiting to throw it up field until a cutter was clearly open.

The game came to a particularly tense moment when the score was 9-9 with play to 10. After both teams came close to scoring, the women gained possession and moved the disc down the field towards the end zone. Zhu swung it to Rouse on the left sideline, who tried to jump the extra yard into the end zone but was unable to

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make the distance, resulting in a late and highly contentious travel call by Bowdoin after a Williams score. The point resumed with Sivahn Barsade ’14 making a cut into the end zone from the handler position, who caught a heart-stopping floater from Rouse as the women pulled the upset.

After the match was seemingly over, Bowdoin attempted to convince Williams that it needed to win by two points instead of one. Following several phone calls and many extremely tense discussions about what the rules actually were, Bowdoin finally conceded that it was wrong and the women officially took home the Regional title.

“Beating Bowdoin in the championship game of regionals was incredible, especially after having lost to this team in the finals of nationals last year. It truly showed how hard everyone has been training and how much our team has developed this season,” Zhu said.

“La WUFA” will compete in Div. III College Nationals in Westerville, Ohio from May 17 to 18.

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