It was an exciting day in the U-20 girls’ division here at the 2018 Youth Club Championships.
On Sunday morning, multiple final pool play games decided which team would sit in first place in each pool. Pools A, B and D were led by the Triangle Area Warhawks, Texas Tango and Boston BUDA, respectively, each at 3-0. In the hotly contested Pool C, D.C. Rogue and Seattle Sauce both entered the quarterfinal round at 2-1.
The real story of the day, however, was the quarterfinal round. The top-seeded Warhawks and third-seeded Rogue took care of business this afternoon, each with 15-8 wins over Valley Ultimate and Cincinnati Belle. They advanced to the semifinals on Monday morning.
Seventeenth-seeded California Current eked out a 13-11 upset over seventh-seed Texas Tango. Aside from a 13-1 blowout at the hands of the Warhawks, Current has put together a strong tournament thus far, going 4-1 overall.
In the last quarterfinal, Seattle Sauce seemed to be running away with the game, going up 6-3 early over Boston. BUDA managed to get a hold at 6-4, and a big layout D from Adrena Seferian proved a turning point in the game. BUDA clawed their way back to 6-6 and then 7-7, finishing the half on serve, with Seattle up 8-7. Seattle held their lead in the second half, with Ikran Elmi, Soumya Keefa and Ada Wright marshaling the offense for Seattle. The BUDA squad, led by Tess Johnson, managed to tie it up at 11-11 before Elmi punched in another assist for the double-game-point win.
Sauce looks to return to the finals after missing out on the title game for the first time in the history of the program last year. They’ll face the reigning champions, the Triangle Warhawks, in the semifinals on Monday morning.
In the other semifinal, 2017 finalist D.C. Rogue will battle the upstart California Current for a chance at a return trip to the finals in what is shaping up to be an exciting battle. If everything goes to chalk, we’ll see a repeat of last year’s final, but both Sauce and Current are coming off big wins and looking to upset.
In the U-17 girls’ division, the wind had less of an effect on the eventual outcomes of many games than it may have in the boys’ division. After some contention in the pools, which fell almost entirely to chalk, the quarterfinals games were all solid blowouts, with only one slight upset that had sixth-seeded Maine Rip Tide, whose only loss on Saturday was a double-gaime-point loss to Seattle, overtaking hometown Minnesota Superior 15-2. Despite the wind and heat, the teams that deserved to be in championship contention made themselves known in the quarterfinal round. Tomorrow’s semifinal match up between Seattle and the Triangle Area Kitty Hawks is a mirror of the same match up happening in the U-20 division and will undoubtedly be an exciting one. The other semifinal match up between Cincinnati Belle and Maine Rip Tide will be a classic match up of rising stars v. depth with Ayla Gunther and Devin Quinn, the former with 17 assists, the latter with 17 goals, and a deeper Belle squad with multiple double-digit scorers and throwers.