Tufts Ewo, 2012 College Championships Recap
Boulder, CO. May 25-28th, 2012
After receiving the one and only bid to College Nationals, the Tufts Ewo flew to Boulder, CO where they would be competing for the second year in a row. The Ewo saw many of the same teams at Stanford Invite in early March, but their game was new and slightly rusty. Therefore, the ‘wo were seeded 16th (and rightly so according to their season). Little did everyone know, the Ewo were about to create one of the largest upsets in Nationals history…
Friday, Day One – Pool Play (Virginia and Iowa State)
Despite daunting predictions of 20-30 mph winds forecasted for the weekend, Day 1 of Nationals proved to be a beautiful and calm day in the basin. Game one of pool play, the Ewo faced UVA Hydra, a quick team that was returning to Nationals for the second year in a row as well. In the first round of play, the Ewo came out a little slow in their first half as Virginia took the lead 3-0. The Ewo tried to answer back, but Virginia took half 8-2. Although it was a disappointing first half of a game, spirits were not down. The Ewo came back in the second half with a great layout grab in the endzone by Hailey Alm (’13), a spectacular catch by Olivia Rowse (’12) who faced off against four Virginia girls in the endzone and of course a few hammers by Claudia Tajima (’13) and Qxhna Titcomb (’15) to receivers Margot Lieblich (’13) and Mia Greenwald (’14). Final score, Virginia 15-9. Although the Ewo came out flat in the first half, this would be the last time they come out slow all weekend.
As they faced off against Iowa State in game two of pool play, the Ewo were ready to come out strong and prove their 16th seeding wrong. Iowa State, known to be a cohesive team that won Centex this year, came out surprising flat as the Ewo took the lead with beautiful throws by Mia Greenwald to start off the game 2-0. Iowa State was unable to generate turnovers on defense as Emily Shields (’14) repeatedly came down with the disc in the endzone, score Tufts 5-1. Iowa went on a four-point run to gain momentum, but the Ewo were unnerved and took half at 8-7. Coming out in the second half, with a hammer by Michaela Fallon (’14) and a deep huck by Iowa the game was tied at 9’s. However, the Ewo shred through Iowa’s zone and broke away ending the game at 15-10.
Saturday, Day Two – Pool Play (Ottawa and Cal)
Day Two began with the first match up against Ottawa, the last seed in Pool D. We started off strong, with killer blocks by Leah Staschke (’12) and Emily Shields (’14), allowing us to go up 2-0. Ottawa answered, keeping the first half of the game close, until the ‘wo finally got a break and took half 8-6. In the second half, our zone defense and accurate throws were too much for Ottawa. The Ewo went on a 4 point run to end the game 15-9.
News that Iowa State beat Pool D’s #1 seed, Cal, quickly reached the Ewo who originally thought they would be safe to move on to prequarters. Now, the ‘wo needed to beat Cal (or hope that Virginia would beat Iowa State) in hopes of playing on, and unwilling to rely on another team to save their skins, the Ewo prepared for the biggest game of their season yet.
The game started quickly, with Cal taking the first point on offense. Cal and Tufts continued to trade points, but Cal ultimately got a break to take the lead 6-5. However, incredibly accurate hucks from Claudia Tajima (’13) and Mia Greenwald (’14), with a sweet run through D from Qxhna Titcomb (’15), gave the Ewo another break to snatch the lead back, 7-6. Hot defense gave the Ewo another shot, who put it in to take half 8-6. After half, Cal got the D, closing the gap 8-7. However, Qxhna’s height in the endzone, along with a hand block by Hannah Garfield (’14), and killer throws from Claudia and Micheala Fallon (’14) gave the ‘wo a 3 point run, score now 11-7. The Ewo continued to work it down the field in their next points and never looked back. Final score 15-10.
The Ewo were ecstatic, pulling off a win against the #4 seed. But the real victory was realizing that, with a win against Cal and Iowa State beating Virginia, the Tufts Ewo won their pool, automatically advancing them to quarterfinals the next morning! The Ewo were one of four teams that did not have to fight their way through prequarters, giving them ample amount of time to rest up and play early the next morning!
Sunday, Quarterfinals vs. UNC
Sunday morning quarterfinals were at 8:30am and the ewo quickly started warming up for their match against the UNC Pleiades despite their unfortunate misplacement of the disc bag. The wind was strong at the start of the game, reaching 20mph, resulting in both teams trading points. Both Tufts and UNC received a few breaks, first UNC with a 5-4 lead, then Tufts with a 6-5 lead. The ‘wo continued to break away despite the wind and took half 8-5. The beginning of the second half started off strong with great defense by Tufts and help from Claudia, Shields, and Qxhna to put it in — Tufts up 10-6. However, UNC answered with a three point break to bring it to 10-9. After a great D from Michaela Fallon, she then caught it in the endzone to go up 12-9. With softcap on, the game would end at 14. UNC had an unfortunate drop by Tufts’ endzone which we capitalized on, and next point Hannah Garfield caught the winning goal to end the game 14-9.
Semifinals vs. UWashington Element
Could you believe it? The #1, 2, 3, and 16th seed would be competing in the semifinals! With the fields buzzing of our success, the Ewo took some shade under the tents and set their minds towards semifinals against the #2 seed, University of Washington Element.
Our game began at 1pm on the showcase field with every team watching. CBS sports network would be covering our game and suddenly there were cameramen running up and down the sidelines with us. Tufts won the flip and the Ewo would be starting on defense. Tufts wasted no time and soon had possession and Mia for the score, Tufts 1-0. Fired up from their first point, the ‘wo did it again with easy connections from Hailey Alm (’13) to Claudia Tajima, finding Michaela Fallon in the endzone. Tufts 2-0. Washington answered back, but so did Emily Shields (’14) finding the disc again and again. Tufts 3-1. In their next point, Hannah Garfield had a HUGE turbo block followed by the around break to Margot Lieblich (’13) for the 4-1 lead. With a three point lead, the Ewo were in Washington’s head, forcing them to take a timeout. And what a smart decision it was for UW, who quickly shook off their early game jitters and answered back with a five point break, now taking the lead 6-4. The Ewo finally punched it in, trailing by one, but UW took off again, taking half 8-5.
At the beginning of the second half, the Ewo turned it close to their endzone. But who better to come to the rescue on defense than Hannah Garfield who pushed the handlers back and then snatched the disc mid swing to score the Callahan!! With a new sense of excitement and energy, the Ewo used her fantastic play to keep the team in the game. UW continued to take the lead, but not without Tufts trailing by a couple points. Nearing the end, Element went up 12-9. The Ewo scored another and softcap went on, game now to 14. With a deep field huck by Claudia Tajima and an unbelievable catch in the endzone by Olivia Rowse (’12), the ‘wo were catching up. With a drop from UW, the ‘wo once again capitalized on offense with Olivia Rowse catching again and again, bringing the game to tied at 12s. But Washington finally punched one in, now 13-12, game point for UW.
But Tufts would not quit. With a sky from Hailey Alm, who later found Qxhna Titcomb for the point, the score was 13-13, universe point. The Ewo had the disadvantage on defense, which gave them even more determination. UW worked it all the way down the field, but Qxhna Titcomb came to the rescue when she batted the disc away in the endzone. Now on offense, the Ewo were in position to win it all. Hailey Alm grabbed it downfield and called a timeout at their endzone. With a play in mind, the Ewo set up to put it in one more time. Alm found Tajima inches from the corner of the endzone, who fell on the corner cone. One pass away, Tajima saw an open Shields and tried to hit her with a short flick. The disc floated inches away from a diving Shields, and ultimately ended in a turn. With a second chance on offense, UW would not be stopped this time, sending it deep to an open cutter who easily caught it for the score, and the win. Final score, 14-13.
After an incredible game of Ultimate that is sure to be talked about for years to come, the Ewo ended their season at the 2012 College Championships tied for 3rd. We couldn’t have dreamed of a more incredible weekend and we were so happy to have shared it with our family, friends, and alumni who supported us all the way.
Graduating seniors include Alex Alejos, Eliza Earle, Rachel Rhodes, Olivia Rowse, and Leah Staschke.