NORTHWEST D-III SECTIONALS
APRIL 15-16, 2017
Northwest Women’s D-3 was elated and surprised to see the four team region collect two bids to Nationals. Saturday morning started off with the University of Portland taking on Pacific Lutheran. The strong Portland #1 seed came out aggressive but Pacific Lutheran also showed their program’s growth putting up 7 points in a game to 10 that was capped. Meanwhile, Lewis and Clark Artemis scored 8 points on the defending conference champion, University of Puget Sound Clearcut. Lewis and Clark showed impressive cutting from Ellen Field and Kaia Mann. Despite a tricky Artemis zone, Clearcut was soon able to force person coverage and capitalize on turnovers. Lewis and Clark fell short on protecting the deep threat from Puget Sound.
Later Saturday, Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran played out a friendly and familiar South Sound match up. Pacific Lutheran handled the disc well in person-coverage. When Puget Sound experimented with multiple defensive sets Pacific Lutheran’s Margaret Chell used her athleticism and size to come down with impressive grabs. In the end Puget Sound’s calm, consistent ability to move the disc enabled them to come out ahead 13-9. Meanwhile, Portland continued to show their efforts for a conference title beating Lewis and Clark 13-8.
The finals game was a much anticipated match-up between defending conference champs, Clearcut and up and coming rival, Portland. The previous afternoon had Portland sneaking past Clearcut 12-9. The finals game began with Puget Sound giving up a break, but Clearcut was able to quickly capitalize on defense and get one back. For much of the first half, the teams traded points. Demri Horton was the engine of Portland’s offense and on defense her poaches’ made decision making tough for Clearcut. Nonetheless, the experience of Puget Sound in tough, gritty games was apparent. After finding a defensive effort that challenged Portland’s handler set, Clearcut was able to gain some separation.
Puget Sound secured their 4th straight conference title and a bid to nationals with a deep shot from Ellen Kalenscher to Jane Marie Gunn’s long reaching arms. Lewis and Clark beat Pacific Lutheran earlier in the day on a universe thriller, but ultimately fell to Portland in the game for the region’s second bid.
By Neeyati Johnson who plays for the University of Puget Sound Clearcut.