Thirty two teams from across the northeast converged in Saratoga Springs this past weekend to compete at a Division-III exclusive spring tournament hosted by RPI Ultimate. The event was held at the Saratoga Polo grounds and merchandised by VC Ultimate, and boasted a highly competitive field of D-III level teams. Twenty five open and 12 women’s teams competed in two divisions on Saturday and Sunday in both pool play and bracketed competition.
RPI men’s Ultimate competed in the open division as the fourth seed overall and as the top seed of pool D. Saturday’s play saw each team playing one game against every team in its respective pool. RPI’s first game of the day against East Stroudsburg University featured a variety of experimental defensive lines, as well as the absence of top handler senior Dan Donova. This combination, coupled with cold weather, resulted in difficulties converting on the turnovers that the defense was able to generate. RPI came out ahead, winning the game 13-8, but won the game by a smaller margin of victory than the team was happy with. Frustration continued during the second game of the day against Colgate University, where key mistakes connecting on offense led to a high number of turnovers. RPI would lose the game 10-13. The remainder of Saturday saw a relaxed 13-7 victory over Keene State College, as well as a tough 13-9 loss to a skilled Bowdoin College squad.
Sunday featured bracket play, with the top teams from each pool competing for a spot in the championship match. RPI started the day with an intense and frustrating game against St. Lawrence University, marked by a high number of fouls and disputes on the field. Rensselaer would claim a double game point win in the final minutes of the round, defeating St. Lawrence 10-9. During the quarterfinal round, RPI faced a Brandeis University team that was fresh from a first-round bye. With several key players injured and much of the team exhausted from the first game against St. Lawrence, RPI quickly fell behind in the first half. Cutting its losses, RPI used the remainder of the game to rest some players and give playing time to the team’s less experienced members. Brandeis would win the game 15-4, dropping RPI to the fifth place bracket. Rensselaer would defeat Ithaca College 15-9 and accepted a win due to a forfeit by Connecticut College in the final round, finishing in fifth place.
The finals of the tournament featured two teams that had defeated RPI in the tournament—Bowdoin and Brandeis. Bowdoin would ultimately come out ahead in the high-intensity match, pulling out a 16-15 double game point win. In the women’s division, Stonehill College and Queen’s College faced off in a rematch from pool play. Unlike its pool play game, however, Queen’s College would take the win and the championship with a 14-9 victory.