Thursday, May 1, 2008

Decorah, IA: The Bella Donna Story

Saturday morning, the men started at 8:00am, reportedly playing while snow fell. Both the open and women's divisions were to share eight fields for the weekend, due to the water that pooled in areas throughout the field. Winning the flip, the women were scheduled to begin at noon, playing again at 2:00 and 6:00pm. This gave us time to enjoy the amazing breakfast at Bluff's Inn - so many cereal choices! With everyone strewn across the beds, we watched cable and eased into the day. It's difficult to relax for too long the morning of a tournament, and before long, excitement took over. Soon everyone layered up and headed to the fields. Once there, we watched the men play Iowa State and huddled together for warmth. Ultimate in strong wind is just ugly. Generally, the downwind team hucks it away and the upwind team slowly moves the disc behind the cup. Every now and then something exciting happens, but all in all, it's just painful.

By the time Bella started warming up, the temperature had risen to something in the 40s but the wind held strong. I heard later that gusts had been up to 30mph - a near gale force on the Beaufort scale.

Due to the limited field space, the women’s format had changed to double-elimination brackets. UW-Milwaukee was set to be Wisconsin's first opponent of the day. They had only brought 8 players, and despite having #10 who handled well in the wind, they continued to turn the disc in Bella's redzone. They put up one point when the Madison women tried to use man defense during the first half. After that, the pressure from the zone combined with Bella's confidence in the wind led to a final score of 15-1, Wisconsin.


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