Victoria Higgins caught up with the captains of the first Belgian Women’s team to see how they made their journey to Worlds happen, despite a fledgling Women’s scene in a country dominated by Open.
Belgium has brought its first ever Women’s team to the World Ultimate and Guts Championships this year and, of the many teams for whom the same title can be claimed, they have outperformed them all. They went 3 – 3 in pool play after pulling off a major upset against Sweden, who went on to pre-quarters and narrowly lost to Switzerland for the opportunity to er, watch the United States at work in quarters. I spoke with their captains, Jolien de Ruytter (#16) and Eva Maxson (#25), on Monday to find out how what precipitated the formation of Belgium’s first Worlds team and what goals they had set for themselves.
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.
Julia Dunn takes a closer look at Russia, probably the biggest surprise so far in the Women’s division following their rise from ninth in Europe to World quarter-finalists.
Russia’s Women’s team, the fourth seed in pool D going into the tournament, made their mark on the tournament today by upsetting the second seed Australia. Beating all their competitors except Colombia thus far, the dynamic squad showed that intense defence wins games. Coming in seventh place at EUC last year, the team has really grown in the past year leading up to Worlds.
Julia Dunn watched a tight game between Sweden and New Zealand and spoke to the Kiwi captain afterwards about their journey to London.
That this game could play a key role in determining the second seed in pool A brought a riveting edge to the New Zealand and Sweden matchup on Tuesday. Both teams fought to the bitter end, coming down with amazing catches, putting on intense defensive pressure and making good decisions throughout the entire game. These teams were well matched in style of play, with their focus on the long game and fast transitions.
Victoria Higgins watched Colombia play Australia in an instant classic. Here’s what she saw.
Agua agua! Fuego fuego! Colombia keep setting and unsetting poachy defensive formations to prevent Australia from gathering momentum. They keep hurling themselves through the air and crashing back down to the earth to make possession-saving catches. And most importantly, they keep the disc moving. What follows is a blow-by-blow account of the most thrilling game of Ultimate the Women’s division has witnessed so far this year at Worlds.
Julia Dunn watched the match-up between the Indian and South African Women’s teams on Monday, and saw more than just players improving their skills. She investigated the story of the game from both sides.
Two of the newcomers at Worlds for the Women’s division brimming with excitement, spirit, and love for Ultimate, South Africa and India, found each other today in one of the tightest games of the day. These teams have surpassed borders and barriers to play at this tournament, and will bring everything back to boost women’s Ultimate in their communities.
Victoria Higgins met up with the youngest members of the Colombian Women’s team to see how exactly two 16-year-olds have had such an effect on their team.
Valeria prefers defence, Callahans over greatests, and layouts over skies. Manuela likes offence and greatests, but can’t decide whether skying or laying out is more satisfying. Both sisters agree that scoobers are superior to hammers, man defence is more fun than zone D, and the long game is better than the short game. And they are definitely in agreement that Colombia is better than Australia, who they have ousted from the top seed in pool D and who they face tomorrow to decide who gets the automatic bid into quarter-finals.