Under warm temperatures and a light breeze, and following a stellar season, Carleton College’s Eclipse made it to Division III College Championships, where they advanced to the quarterfinals before ultimately falling to Williams College.
Eclipse opened the day with a match against the Claremont Greenshirts in a highly-anticipated rematch of 2012’s championship semifinal game. Last year, the Greenshirts defeated Eclipse; they later went on to win the 2012 tournament. Earlier this year, the two teams squared off in February at the Stanford Invitational, where Claremont dealt Eclipse a 12-9 defeat.
The first half was relatively tight, with Eclipse playing effectively to go into halftime with an 8-6 lead. In the second half, Eclipse took the first (very long) point of the half, with handlers Kalli Perano ‘14 and Claire Leichter ‘14 displaying punishing coordination, driving the offense and combining for downfield blocks. However, that point would be Eclipse’s last, as Claremont went on a strong run to score five unanswered, ensuring their place in the Championship bracket. Eclipse was forced to enter the pre-quarter bracket in order to advance.
The pre-quarter match pitted Carleton against a young St. Benedict’s team, Bad Habit, which was making its first run into Nationals. Bad Habit came out hungry, taking a 6-3 lead over Eclipse. Eclipse’s experience won the day, however, as they stormed back to take half 8-7 and eventually close out the game 12-7, with end zone dominance by Zoe Suche ’13 and Katie Claiborne ’13, and a balanced and effective defensive effort.
Eclipse then played Williams College on Sunday morning in another highly-anticipated rematch of 2011’s Championship game. That year, Eclipse emerged victorious to take the National title. This game promised to be equally as exciting, as Williams and Eclipse had entered the tournament seeded third and fourth, respectively. With the wind calm, Williams came out hot, sprinting to a 4-1 lead. Running tight lines, Eclipse worked their zone to bring the game back to 5-5.
Eclipse took half 8-7, but Williams came out focused in the second half, working patiently in the zone and putting up big hucks in the calm air to exploit size advantages downfield. After a four-point run from Williams, Eclipse answered with big Ds from Lucinda Robinson ‘14 and precision hucks by Perano to bring the game to 12-11. Eclipse relied heavily on their core handlers and benefitted from strong breakout performances from underclassmen Julia Reich ‘15 and Katie Blise ’15 as well as senior Lily Pearson. However, even with boisterous late-game support from a Carleton-heavy crowd, fatigue and effective defense from Williams slowed Eclipse’s offense and allowed La WUFA to close the game with a three-point run, unfortunately ending Eclipse’s season.