UCSD D-Cos Take 2nd Place at a Breezy Southwest Regionals!
UCSD Dragon Coalition (DCo) started off a breezy Saturday morning playing Stanford. In a tough battle, the wind was their eighth defender. With strong deep throws, Captain Ava “Raffi” Hanna steered the offense, giving Dragon Coalition the opportunities they needed to secure a 6-4 win.
After the hard-fought win in their last game, the team pulled up to play Arizona fueled with fire. Immediately on the offensive, DCo didn’t let their opponents score for the entirety of the first half, taking it 7-0. In the second half, an entirely rookie line lead by Xuan “Gadro” Feldman, Emma “Capwn” Ellefson-Frank, and Mary “Valen” Ramada commanding the backfield scored the winning point! DCo took the game 15-1.
DCo’s last challenger of the day was long-time adversary UCLA. While the strong gusts present in the morning had diminished somewhat by early afternoon, there was still just enough wind for UCSD’s zone defense to be as effective as ever. Denika “Sonic” Hallin, Catherine “Yogi” Treviño, and Lauren “Tello” Stuart’s relentlessness against UCLA’s handlers produced the pressure needed to cause turnover after turnover. With high spirits and the whole team helping from the sidelines, San Diego capped off their day with a 15-4 win, taking their pool 3-0 and heading straight into semi-finals the next day.
On Sunday morning, the stakes were as high as ever. A win in the semifinals would guarantee them a trip to Nationals in December, while a loss would mean they would need to win their next 3 games to secure the third bid for the region. Their opponent: UC Davis, an athletic and scrappy team. A force to be reckoned with, they kept DCo at bay in the first half, trading points until it was a tight 8-7, barely in San Diego’s favor. Still, DCo was hungry. Building on the same energy that they had at their UCLA game the day prior, every member of the sideline was fired up and shouting in support of their on-field teammates. Winnie “Kirby” Chen was ripping disc after disc out of the air for the score. A double-edged sword, Jess “Soren” Wan was generating d’s and coming back to get the disc in our end zone. After the grind had finished, DCo came out on top, beating UC Davis 11-8 and securing them a trip to nationals!
While the team’s primary goal had now been achieved, they still had one more championship game against their regional rivals UCSB. Handlers Maggie “Manta” Pierce and Abbi “Pierögi” Shilts put on the burners to lead the offense and put in work on defense. With some veteran players resting after a long weekend, newcomers like Jessie “Saber” Finkelor had the chance to step up and make plays. Despite a great effort and lots of opportunities from DCo, Santa Barbara took the game 13-8. Still, Dragon Coalition took 2nd place in the Southwest region and are fired up for their biggest tournament yet. Stay tuned for the team in search of their second consecutive National championship this December 17-20 in Norco!