The quarterfinals are set! It was an exciting first day at the 2019 Division III College Championships, with tons of close games and (seemingly like always at the D-III Championships) some weather challenges to keep things interesting.
Bates cruised through pool play, with their closest game an 11-8 win over upstart Lewis & Clark. The Mainers are certainly used to tricky weather conditions. Thanks to their strong handler corps, the winds weren’t a problem, and they brought a big enough roster to combat any fatigue from the Texas heat. Josie Gillet is racking up assists, per usual, with Liz Casey and Cameron Johnson leading the charge downfield.
Truman State also held seed and earned a bye into the quarterfinals, but it wasn’t completely smooth sailing for them. They got off to a bit of a slow start this morning, going down 4-8 at halftime before dropping their first game against Mount Holyoke, who ended up fourth in the pool by the time the day ended. Despite great efforts from Jessica Tiller and full-effort bids all over the field, TSUnami couldn’t come back. But they rebounded against North Park and barely hung on in the crux game against Portland. The head-to-head win gave them the edge in the pool.
As expected, the Pool C title came down to Williams v. Oberlin in the last round of pool play. Even with their impressive roster, Williams couldn’t find anyone to tamp down Helen Samuel, Abby Cheng and Lucia Mason. Samuel is leading the way in assists for the tournament after day one with an impressive nine, and Cheng and Mason were impressive on both sides of the disc. Cheng tallied four goals and three assists, while Mason garnered the reverse stat line with three goals and four assists. In the end, Oberlin cruised to the pool’s top spot with an 11-5 win over Williams.
It was no surprise that Pool D saw the most excitement. With three heavy hitters in the pool – Puget Sound, Middlebury and St. Olaf – it was bound to be a battle from start to finish. Despite being without six of their seniors who are attending graduation, Middlebury came out on top of a three-way tie of 2-1 records, thanks in large part to an opening-round 15-0 drubbing of Mary Washington. During that game, the wind was much calmer than it was later in the day; that result gave them the edge in point differential. They followed that up with a one-point loss and a one-point win to St. Olaf and Puget Sound, respectively. The Pranksters are already battle-tested after day one, which they’ll need heading into Sunday bracket play.
Lewis & Clark got an upset over Wesleyan in their second game of the day, thanks in large part to Rose Terner and Ruby Holman. The win earned them the second spot in the pool and a pre-quarterfinal match up with the defending champs, St. Olaf. Unsurprisingly, Lily Gould is in charge for Wesleyan, leading the way in both goals and assists after day one. Like Lewis & Clark, because they’re in Pool A, they got have the misfortune of matching up with one of the heavy hitters from Pool D in the pre-quarterfinal round. Wesleyan got a game against the overall four seed, Puget Sound. North Georgia is getting their feet wet in D-III Championships competition, and they were very consistent! They went 0-3 on the day, but scored five points in each game.
Portland was just a couple points away from claiming the top spot in Pool B, but they couldn’t quite make up ground against Truman State. All three of their pool plays games were close, but they came out on top in their first two. Julianna Kempe had a great day with three goals and seven assists through pool play, and Kim Dorr was a force on defense, giving Uproar the chances they needed to win those close games. Mount Holyoke’s highlight of the day came with their first-round upset of Truman State. They went up early and weren’t phased by Truman State’s zone defense. Mount Holyoke was much more efficient on offense, scoring regularly on their O points. But like many of the teams in College Station, the more the wind picked up, the tougher things got for them. Daisy Chain dropped their second two games, which put North Park in the pool’s third spot and left Mount Holyoke out of this year’s championship bracket.
Barring something truly crazy, Pool C was always going to be a battle between the first and second spots and the third and fourth spots. And it turned out the battle between first and second wasn’t as close as many people expected. Oberlin ran away to the top spot, which landed Williams in second. Occidental surprised two-time National Champions Carleton College-Eclipse in the last round of pool play in an upwind-downwind game. The teams traded points, only scoring downwind, from start to finish. With the game tied at 8-8 and capped at 9, an epically long point with many turns, ended the same way the rest of the game’s goals did – Occidental scored downwind and took the game 9-8, and with it, the pool’s last spot in bracket play.
As mentioned earlier, Pool D was always going to be a slugfest. Three top-tier teams in the same pool meant things were going to get interesting. Middlebury ended up with a slight advantage because the schedule had them facing Mary Washington, the tournament’s bottom seed, in the first round when the winds were less intense and allowing them an opportunity to jump ahead in the point differential fight. While Middlebury was on their way to a 15-0 win, Puget Sound and St. Olaf were going point for point in what ended up as a one-goal win for Puget Sound. Compare Middlebury’s 15-0 win against Mary Washington to St. Olaf’s 8-2 win over the same team in the third round, and you can understand how things ended up the way they did. Puget Sound had a chance to go 3-0 in the pool. Facing Middlebury in yet another upwind-downwind game, things were all tied up 8-8 in a capped game to nine. Puget Sound started on defense but earned themselves two chances to win. But they couldn’t convert. In the resulting three-way tie of 2-1 teams, Middlebury got the edge on point differential, with Puget Sound finishing second in the pool and St. Olaf taking third.
The Portland v. Occidental match up was never close. Portland pulled away early and rolled their way to the quarterfinals. They face the overall top seed, Bates, tomorrow morning.
Williams had a bit of a tough day. The overall three seed didn’t truly dominate in either of their pool play wins and lost big to Oberlin. In the pre-quarters, they took on 14th-seeded North Park. North Park was coming off a win and had some momentum, but the experience nod was always going to go to Williams. LaWUFA started off well and was in front 5-3 before North Park rattled off a 5-2 run that put them in front at half time. Given the long points all day long, second halves were notoriously short, so all North Park had to do was hang on. They did and earned their first-ever quarterfinals berth, already outdoing last year’s 13th-place performance at the Championships.
Puget Sound was all over Wesleyan early, running up multiple breaks and taking half up 8-3. The second half was less impressive for Clearcut. They largely traded points with Wesleyan but maintained their lead and claimed a spot in tomorrow’s quarterfinals against a strong Oberlin squad with a 12-7 win.
Lewis & Clark v. St. Olaf was the other close game of the round. St. Olaf got a couple breaks early but gave them back late in the first half. Lewis & Clark tied things up at 7-7, but a hold from St. Olaf took things to half. Another short second half was in store, and it was full of all things Anna Clements. She scored St. Olaf’s ninth and 10th point before Caroline McKnight closed things out. Game and quarterfinals spot to the defending champs. St. Olaf will face Truman State first thing tomorrow morning.
All games at 8:00 a.m. CT
Bates (1) v. Portland (7)
Middlebury (5) v. North Park (14)
Oberlin (6) v. Puget Sound (4)
Truman State (2) v. St. Olaf (9)
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