Southwest Regionals: DCos Make Nationals!
Following a fun weekend at Sun God Festival, 14 members of the A-Team Dragon Coalition drove to Davis, California for Southwest Regionals to compete for a spot at College Championships. With only 4 bids to the region, DCo knew that they would need to beat one of the top teams in the region to secure their spot at Nationals.
DCos rose early for their first game of pool play against Santa Clara’s RAGE, and took charge of the game right off the bat. Whether it was person or zone, the DCos shredded through RAGE’s defense. Everyone got a chance to shine, whether it was a timely D from Abbi “Pierogi” Shilts, a sharp assist from Jessica “Soren” Wan, or a score in the endzone by Emma “Capwn” Ellefson-Frank. We closed out the game 13 – 5, and got a well-deserved break before our next matchup against Arizona State Caliente. Our rookies shined bright this game, with Mary “Valen” Ramada and Kaitlyn “Chego” Straight generating Ds through pressure defense and working the disc with give-n-go movement to earn key breaks. Shaina “Noggin” Jewett-Wolf was also a major D-line MVP, putting intense pressure on the mark to force turnovers and even earning a Callahan! Thanks to this and other great plays, DCo won the game 13 – 4. At the top of their pool, DCo would have a bye round before going to the semifinals to face off against Stanford University. The winner would be guaranteed a bid to Nationals and a pressure-free weekend. So, when both teams walked onto the field at 2 pm, tension and anticipation were at an all-time high.
DCo, began with a smooth hold, working through Stanford’s zone with ease. Thanks to previous games, our D line was better than ever, earning a break right afterwards to make it 2-0. Each point, Stanford threw their best zones, pinching close to the handlers to generate pressure. But DCo held steady, swinging around or throwing over the cup to our open cutters. Kate “Guava” Lindeman and Charlotte “Mojo” Sue were key players in this, with Lindeman snagging vertical forehands and Sue attacking the middle of the field through narrow holes in the zone. It was a tight game, and several points threatened to turn the tide in Stanford’s favor. But, DCos held strong, fending off Stanford to the very end to win the game 13 – 11. The DCos were officially headed to Nationals!
On Sunday, the team played in the finals for another rematch with UC Santa Barbara. Wind conditions were high and though the DCo’s worked hard, a couple of defensive breaks early in the game set the momentum in UC Santa Barbara’s favor and the game was closed out with a 6 – 13 loss. Exhausted from a hard-fought game, the DCos prioritized the health of their players and played lines that allowed other players to clash with Stanford’s developing roster, resulting in a 6 – 13 loss. DCo’s finished the weekend as 3rd place in the region, qualifying for DI Nationals in Milwaukee on May 27th – 30th!