By Cassady Coulter, Guest Writer
The Pacific Lutheran University women’s ultimate frisbee team placed second at the Northwest Conference Division III (DIII) Championships the weekend of April 20-21 in Puyallup.
Now the team is headed to Division I (DI) Regionals at the University of Oregon in Eugene to compete against the top ranked DI and DIII schools from the Northwest and Canada.
In order to move on to DI Regionals, the women of PLU Reign competed with five teams from Washington and Oregon for the Conference Championships on April 20-21.
Whitman, Puget Sound, Lewis and Clark, Reed and Portland faced off against PLU for a bid to DIII Nationals or DI Regionals last weekend.
Reign started out day one of conferences with a statement 13-0 win over Reed, which was down a few members from the start.
The biggest point deficit from Reign over the weekend was in a game against its longtime competitor — the Walla Walla Sweets of Whitman College. Reign lost its only game on Saturday to the number one seeded Whitman with a score of 4-13.
Despite the loss, Reign came back even stronger and finished day one of conferences with a strong record, going 3-1 on the day.
Day two was a high stakes day for Reign, as its placement in the top two was necessary to advance to Regionals in Eugene, Ore.
Again, Reign came out in the first game of the day with high energy and beat Lewis and Clark 13-4.
However, the challenging game that nearly cut its season short was game two on April 21 against the University of Puget Sound.
Although PLU had won the first match against its cross-town rivals the day before 11-9, the two teams were evenly matched the second day of the tournament.
With winds and rain clearly impacting the level of play for both teams, the game came down to a time cap with the score tied 9-9.
With a long point full of back and forth play and near scores for both teams, Reign came out victorious.
A pass from senior Maggie Mickleson, captain, to senior Kiersten Dahms in the endzone culminated in the hardest fought game of the weekend.
The team rushed its teammates and swarmed the field after the grueling point that became the deciding factor for the rest of Reign’s season.
Various hardships cut the road to nationals short for women’s Reign this year, such as funding issues and lack of commitment to justify the journey to Milwaukee, Wis. But Reign hopes for a strong showing at DI Regionals in Eugene this year.
The PLU women’s Reign coach, Marissa Lyons, said she has high hopes for this weekend. Lyons’ goal for the team is to attend DI Regionals and upset as many teams as possible.
Playing against higher-level teams like the University of Washington and the University of Oregon is only something that is going to make the team better in the years to come.
Although DI schools are traditionally highly athletic and competitive, both Lyons and the PLU women’s Reign team believe that they have the potential to keep up with some of the top-notch competitors if they play their best game.
The trip down to Eugene also gives the team one last tournament to play alongside the seniors who have been an integral part of the Reign ultimate frisbee program over the years.
DI Regionals takes place tomorrow and Sunday in Eugene, Ore. Check http://www.usaultimate.org/index.html to see up-to-date scores from the weekend.
*Editors note: Coulter is a member of the PLU women’s ultimate frisbee team