Thursday, April 23, 2009

Rachael Westgate - Central Region FOTY 2009!
Meet freshman Rachael Westgate, #26. Originally from Andover, MA, Rachael came to us this year with an extensive understanding and love of the game that translated directly to her quick integration into our starting defensive line. Sick layout d's, fantastic throws, and aggressive, consistently open cuts are all in the daily life of Rachael Westgate. 
She's an amazing team player, pouring heart and soul into Bella, whether it's dominating like a 5th year on the field, shouting like crazy on the sideline, outstripping most of the team in workouts, or lifting on her own time, Rachael embodies everything that Bella Donna strives for. 
Rachael Westgate for Central Region FOTY 2009! Watch for her in Northfield this weekend at regionals where she'll be dominating both the d and the o lines.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sectionals

UW-Madison Women's Ultimate Program
Bella Donna & Atropa

In the spring of 2006 (my freshman year on Wisconsin-B), there were five women's teams that attended the Lake Superior Sectionals, two of them were from UW-Madison. Three years later, the number has only grown to seven teams, but the talent within those teams has vastly improved. I'm incredibly impressed with the Eau Claire (where?) women's ulti program; through the years they've grown into a very strong team, put together a great zone-D, and are likely contenders for nationals. Teams like Whitewater and Lawrence are still in the building process, but in a few years they could surprise everyone (Susan Boyle style). It is amazing to see women's ultimate expand the way it has throughout my college career and I expect to see considerable gains as the ultimate community grows with time.

This year is the first year a solid B-team has stayed afloat for UW-Madison. Led by former Bella Eyleen Chou, Atropa quickly eliminated their "b-team" status and began competing at tournaments like Vegas and Midwest Throwdown, breaking their 41st seed and finishing 10th at Vegas! Atropa has some serious potential on their team; rookie Anna Shanedling has amazing hands and it's hard to find someone quicker than noob Adrienne Rust. Atropa took 4th at sectionals and is seeded 9th for regionals, but I wouldn't be surprised if they caused a few upsets. As a former B-team player, it's truly awesome to see UW-Madison's ultimate program reach new levels and I hope this growth continues for years to come.


On a different note: Bella is the one seed for regionals. It's all happening. Let's go.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Centex Highlight Video

Friday, April 10, 2009

Bella Donna: Centex

After spending a week laying (actually just burning) in the sand and treating their bodies with utter disregard, BD had a week to shape up and get serious for Women's Centex, easily the most competitive tournament Bella would travel to this year before college natties. The end of SB2kFINE was sobering (in many ways), as BD realized the spoils of the week included a broken toe, finger, some misplaced knees, and other various ailments. By Saturday morning of Centex, these injuries weren't anything a big dose of ibuprofen couldn't fix. Bella was ready to dominate; starting the trail of tears with SLU (who had previously beat Bella on universe with only the wind and a lucky flip to thank for that).

SATURDAY

BD's first two games were tucked behind tennis courts, protected but not fully shielded from Austin's brutal winds. BD started the game on O and traded for the first three points until SLU got a break. BD assumed they could win the game acting half asleep and barely on D, but they were in for a rude awakening; soon Bella was down at half 5-8. SLU's scrappy offense relies heavily 50/50 balls and feisty grabs, but it worked Bella's O-face until the score was 12-6 SLU. Finally McKain decided it was business time and BD needed a scolding. McK Shouted for all to hear, "You have two options, to win this game or lose this game!" FACT: when that small Italian speaks, it is important. That's all it took to bring Bella back to reality and start playing tight D and their well-rehearsed O. At one point Georgia Bosscher's manly pull floated perfectly to the of the end zone and she caught a callahan on the first throw (in case you didn't understand, OFF HER OWN PULL). This is everyone's wet dream, but not for Georgia; her life long ambition is to get a layout callahan off of her own pull (and marry an otter but that's beside the point).While Bella was finally pumped up after a sloppy 3/4 of a game, coming out of half scoring six points (SLU scored once somewhere in there), it was too late and they couldn't finish with a W. Soccer shorts win on hard cap, 13-12.
Round one recap: Bella played a conservative game with only 47 turns (oh god) to start off Saturday morning at Centex.


After a demoralizing defeat, all BD could do was drink pickle juice and gear up for Southern California, a team they knew nothing about. Bella Rick Rolled this game 13-9. The score may seem close but Bella maintained control throughout the entire game, shredding marks and pwning SC players. Post game both teams celebrated with a highly anticipated spirit circle, in which we talked about feelings and touched each other. The only thing missing was Speaker, who would have loved it more than life itself.

Round two recap:
Never have I ever, been in a spirit circle.



The last game in pool play was against Cal Berkeley's Pie Queens, the #1 seed in the D pool. Knowing that if they didn't go into this game completely focused it could be SLU all over again, Bella psyched up and prepared for domination. After scoring the first 7 breaks of the game, BD was even hungrier for an upset. Claiming that Bella gelled like a Dr. Scholl's commercial during the Cal game is an understatement. Early in the game, McKain let Cal know who was boss and got a nasty hand block right outside of Cal's endzone, later Fran amped it up with a sky callahan. Wisconsin took half at 8-2. After some sick backwards line-toeing by Bitterman, Wisconsin wins 15-5.
Round three recap: BD's never played a stronger game. They finish the day and win the pool.
Winner winner, bbq dinner (plus our very own stallion Sandy buns in the rookie showcase game and watching the dance off).

SUNDAY
PRE-QUARTERS
Bella knew that Sunday would be hard when they found out they had to play Michigan in pre-quarters. Flywheel is a team BD has seen numerous times this spring and is made up of some serious ballers. Ebae makes any break throw and huck look effortless, and with receivers like Bemu and WHOA Nelly it's not hard to see how intimidating Flywheel can be. Because of Bella's slow start Saturday morning, they were the first team to the fields Sunday morning, warming up and getting any kinks out of their well oiled system. Conditions were perfect. Game time, Bella starts on O, running the usual O; George (iso) gets the disc and jams a perfect huck right into Fran's hands in the endzone. Wisconsin 1-0. Flywheel answers with anther quick point. Captain to captain chemistry fuels the next O point, Court to Georgia 2-1. When Michigan takes half 8-6, they're up two breaks and soon score their O point coming out of half. BD goes on a run to tie it at 9's and then trade a few points before pulling ahead 13-11. This was a clean game with considerably less turns than any other game BD played at Centex. In the end, it was Bitterman that probably won the game for BD. Bit's endzone D and score made it 12-11. With the hard cap on, Flywheel had a chance to tie it up. Unfortunate for them, Georgia's giant pull (that probably would have gone out of bounds) was caught at the very back of the endzone and then thrown into Bit's hands for a winning callahan. She didn't spike it in all her glory; instead she whispered to McKain, "boom, toasted."


Pre-quarters recap: BD pulls out a narrow win after Bitterman shows the world just how good looking she can be. McKain manages to play 21 points without a single turnover. HEY GO BLUE!


QUARTERS
Looking at other pre-quarters match-ups, the Wisconsin v. Michigan match-up was definitely the most difficult one. Needles to say, Michigan would have had a much easier path had they not lost their pool the previous day. Quarters against Stanford started almost immediately after the Michigan game ended. Bella hadn't seen Superfly since Centex '08 but had heard through the grapevine they were new & improved. Until Centex, this was the only team to beat Santa Barbara, BD knew to take them seriously. Stanford's game in the air was anchored by #8 Liz Cassel, with #16 Jenny Founds behind most break throws. Both #9 Danielle Platt and #7 Ali Mendoza were annoying quick, burning Bella players in and deep. Holly put out a sick starting D-line composed of Bitty, George, Jamber, Gay, Mc, Rach and Sandybuns. The D-line broke for a score, Bit to the Stallion. The stallion galloped across the field before throwing a full field spike (a TMF was soon to follow). Bella capitalized on Superfly's errors (including a dropped pull) during the next few points. Gaynor, Erin and Bit scored the next three breaks assisted by none other than mc, george and jamber, making it 4-0 BD. Stanford called a time out and made some readjustments to their D, switching to a poach-style D off the handlers. It took a few unanticipated Stanford poach D's in the lane before Bella started seeing the field again and put a few into the endzone, including a morning passover surprise layout catch by CK on an overthrown huck. No one saw her coming as she was was purposely jogging so slow she had to bid with all of her gangles, it was magical. Bella took half 8-3. The second half was filled with Emelie McKain layout D'ing Stanford player Ali Mendoza, who called fouls each time. If only McKain knew the rules of ultimate allowed her to take it to the observer... Jamber got a nasty hand block and layout D, Courtney shredded any poachy D they tried, and Sandy was quite the stallion. The game ended with Stallion catching a huck right outside the endzone and bombing a high O2 to Georgia. Final score 13-8 BD. Both BD and Stanford could have played a cleaner game, but Bella persevered because they were able to convert Superfly's drops and throw aways into scores.

Quarters recap: "Courtney's chicken surprise layout was the craziest thing I've ever seen" -Bob Barker

SEMIS
It's common knowledge that many people have been hyping Santa Barbara all year as one of the best if not the best college women's team in the nation. Led by Ramano, Finney and Jorgenson (and Barry when she's healthy), SB is a very handler dominant team, but also has the height and speed for sick deep catches. They have the most debilitating marks in college ultimate, eliminating many break options. Going into this game, BD knew they had something to prove. Taking the field on defense, BD started off with a break, Amber to Fran on a deep look. That was the only break either team would see until after half, as the rest of the points were even trading. BD took half after a Georgia to Rachel love connection, making it 8-7. UCSB scored the majority of their points on deep looks while Bella relied on quick movement with an occasional deep shot. UCSB is a very physical team; their disregard for personal space and the rules of contact certainly fueled some fire on each side. Out of half, BD started on o and quickly scored. Hungry for more breaks, BD got the next 3 in a row, making it 12-7. It's unclear if Bella just got cocky or content, but something was lost after this run. Cuts weren't sharp enough, handler fakes weren't convincing enough and hearts weren't in it enough. BD's run of 4 was matched by UCSB's run of 5 to make it universe point. Universe was the sloppiest point of the game, with at least 6 turns on each side but UCSB pulled out the win. Final: Wisconsin 12, UCSB 13

Quarters Recap: Don't ever push McKain. and don't you ever put toys on my cake again.


THIRD PLACE GAME
Nationals 2007, Centex 2008, Centex 2009. When it comes to UBC, BD just really drops the ball. Coming out of a devastating loss after being SO close to finals, Bella was emotionally and physically drained (see above). Having played three high scoring games against big names like Michigan, Stanford and UCSB, there was no doubt UBC had the easier path with previous games against Maryland, SLU and then a low scoring game with Ottawa.
Starting the game, BD scored the first O point and then the next two consecutive breaks in a row, one involving Georgia bombing a forehand huck and Becca skying for the goal, looking rather athletic for a change. UBC scored the next three in a row, breaking the O-line twice. The rest of the half was mainly trading, with Gaynor and Erin both burning deep for the hucks of George and Amber. UBC ended up taking half 8-7 and then scored their O point out of half. By hard cap the score was 10-10, game to 11. Bella received the pull on universe, but turned it shortly after an atypical drop. UBC took advantage of the situation with a score followed by a celebration. Two games in one day lost on universe. awesome.



Despite the disappointing Sunday losses for BD, Women's Centex 2009 was amazing. Props to Michelle Ng, Texas Women's Ulti and the UPLA for putting together such a well run tournament.
A special thanks to:
-All of the parents and friends that ventured from Wisconsin, Oregon, and Massachusetts to show their support! Their sideline spirit and food kept BD alive through the long weekend.
-The Ricebowl. Thanks for the wonderful couches, carpets, cheez-its and animal crackers!

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Midwest Throwdown

While you wait to read about Centex, here's our video recap of Midwest Throwdown, where the wind enjoyed wreaking havoc at every opportunity. 

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Centex

Full write-up coming later this week. Meanwhile, check out some pictures from the weekend and a few clips taken by a BD supporter:
Pre-quarters vs. Michigan (final score: 13-11, us) video videoA sick catch by McKain.
Quarters vs. Stanford (final score: 13-8, us) videoStallion! videoA break, from pull to score.

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