The 2016 series started off with sectionals in Greenville, NC. After coming out slow Saturday morning, Darkside found themselves down to NC State. A second half rally fell just short, with the final score being 10 – 11 loss. The next 3 games were relatively smooth, with wins over Duke, South Carolina, and Charleston to finish pool play with a 3 – 1 record. Sunday morning began with much more intensity than Saturday, and Darkside clinched the win over Clemson, 12 – 7, before falling to UNC-W in an intense, windy finals game, 9 – 14. This second place finish gained Darkside a spot at regionals.

Regionals in Axton, VA started off with a 15 – 7 UNC win over American, before a much tighter game against Maryland in which Darkside prevailed 14 – 12 to advance to semi-finals. A 15 – 11 win over James Madison secured UNC a spot in the finals, once again facing UNC-W. Despite Darkside’s best effort, UNC-W came out on top again, this time with a final score of 9 – 15. Rebounding from the tough loss, UNC easily put away Virginia Commonwealth 15 – 3 to secure a spot at Nationals.

After making the hard commute from Chapel Hill to Raleigh, Darkside came into nationals as the #7 seed. Their first game against Florida State was a nail-biter, ending with a 5 point run by UNC to cap off a 16 – 14 victory. Despite that momentum, they couldn’t quite overcome Oregon in their next pool play game, losing 12 – 14. UNC’s next opponent, Case Western Reserve, came out fighting hard. Perhaps harder than Darkside expected, as the game was much closer than anticipated, ending in an exciting universe point with Darkside prevailing 16 – 15. UNC’s last pool play opponent was Colorado. UNC could not overcome the few breaks Colorado got, resulting in a 12 – 15 loss to finish off pool play with a 2 – 2 record.

Darkside’s pool play record meant they had to play a pre-quarters match against Michigan on Saturday evening. UNC got momentum early, and carried that through the game for a 15 – 12 victory. The next day started early with an 8:30 AM quarters game against Auburn. Darkside continued their grind through the slop to earn a victory with a 15 – 13 final score. The semifinal match up between UNC and Harvard proved to be hardfought and gritty. In a call heavy game that had two rain delays, Harvard gained a few breaks that Darkside couldn’t quite get back. The game ended with a 11 – 13 loss to finish off UNC’s season. For a team that was supposed to be a “young team” with a lot of learning to do, a semi-finals finish at nationals was quite the achievement.

We look forward to seeing you next season.

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