Victoria Higgins watched the Women’s division closely yesterday in case you didn’t. Here’s a report on what happened at the end of power pools, including the fall of Great Britain, during crossovers and during pre-quarters to set you up for the exciting day of women’s Ultimate in prospect today.
Pool C closed at 1:30 pm. Sorry, no one’s getting back in. This is most unfortunate for the women of Great Britain, who accidentally left a break in there and missed out on a spot in pre-quarters by exactly that margin. Switzerland managed to lose to them in the first game of the day, but not by quite enough to lose their seat in the next round of elimination play—in a three-way tie in Pool C with Germany, Switzerland, and Great Britain each taking four wins and two losses, Great Britain needed one more break on Switzerland to stay alive.
But Switzerland were not the only two-seed to vacate their spot that morning. They were joined by Australia, who moved over to allow Russia an easier path forwards to quarter-finals. Australia’s Cat Phillips (#35) and Simone Ryan (#21) had good games, but Russia’s Olga Kochenova (#23) and Inga Ivakina (#48) had better games: five goals and five assists respectively. In a match that was rarely more than one or two points apart, Australia’s D-line simply could not convert, scoring only one of the 13 points.
In pool B, Singapore and Finland faced off to decide who would get the final spot in pre-quarters, but Singapore needed to win by at least six points to move on; instead, they lost by four. In pool A, a very strong Belgian team making their first appearance at Worlds lost the pre-quarters spot to New Zealand, 7 – 15.
The winners of the pools then met in crossover games to negotiate which teams are most deserving of power positions in bracket play. USA began their game against Colombia as they usually do by taking a 3 – 0 lead. But Colombia definitely made the Americans work, squandering a handful of opportunities to get break points and losing 6 – 15.
Japan and Canada staged the most entertaining game of the day in the Women’s division. The first six points took a half hour as O-lines for both teams were forced to swing and swing and dump and swing to find an opening amid the tight defence. Both teams displayed an utter disrespect for the laws of physics as the game wore on, but Japan’s careful coordination afforded them three points in a row and they took the game 14 – 12.
All four pre-quarter matches were waged simultaneously and side-by-side, except for New Zealand v. Germany, who weren’t invited to pitches 20 – 22 and whose game I saw none of. Thankfully, Germany routed New Zealand 15 – 6 so neither I nor our readers missed much.
Germany will face Colombia in quarters tomorrow; once more, Colombia’s agility and their star players’ precision throws will face off against a deeper roster. Personally, I am hoping for a match-up between two cutting speed-demons, Colombia’s Yina Mendoza (#99) and Germany’s Kyoko Hosokawa (#89), and whatever combination of both teams’ brilliant handlers: Yannicka Kappelmann (GER #8), Bettina Kieser (GER #11), Alejandra Torres Echeverri (COL #12), and Yina Paola Cartagena (COL #20), who might also wander into the cutter set. Expect Colombia to generally play man-defence with a deep poacher and an early stall count poacher in the open lane while, weather willing, Germany stay man while occasionally setting zone formations to break Colombian momentum. Of the quarter-finals to watch, this ranks on top of the list as it will almost certainly be the most entertaining Women’s match of the day.
Australia and Finland matched up to decide who would face Japan in the quarters tomorrow. Finland quickly broke to start but the depth of Australia’s roster soon asserted its dominance to take half 8 – 4. They continued to emphasise taking away cuts under and were happy to allow Finland to blast 50/50 shots into the endzone; when they brought out their their zone defence early in the game, it looked the best it has thus far at Worlds, and their hucks achieved the ahh-worthy quality they had been threatening to achieve all week.
But their loss to Russia this morning means that they will face Japan in the quarters tomorrow, whose mind-boggling defensive strategy is almost certain to force Australia to put up deep shots late in the stall count that aren’t really there. On offence, expect Japan to move the disc so fast it will make your head spin. On defence, expect them to force the disc to the wrong side of the wind with a tight zone formation. On offence, expect Australia to huck it. On defence, expect Australia to huck it.
Speaking of huck-happy teams, Sweden and Switzerland (HOPP SCHWIZZ, HOPP SCHWIZZ) met each other in quarter-finals and started off with a very messy couple of points that made it clear that both teams couldn’t even think about how badly they wanted to move onto quarters. At 4 – 4, both teams realized that they might occasionally have to work the disc down the field with throws that are less than 30 yards long. After a tight game that Switzerland consistently led after half-time (HOPP SCHWIZZ, HOPP SCHWIZZ) and a long point at 13 – 14, Switzerland took the win.
As a reward for their efforts, Switzerland will face the USA tomorrow (Hopp Schwizz?), and weather reports of torrential downpour might make the Americans less boring to watch on offence. On defence, expect the US to throw five different variations of zone, egregiously poach off mismatches, and storm the field with hands aloft whenever they don’t score as if this is the worst thing that has ever happened but they’re letting it go; it’s fine. Expect Switzerland to throw beautiful hucks that deserve to be caught but instead get picked off by Opi (Octavia) Payne and friends.
Russia also beat France in pre-quarters.html and there wasn’t much to say about it. Russia are pretty damn good. Canada will probably beat them tomorrow.