Women’s D-III quarterfinals NCAA tournament picks: For eight teams, the Frozen Four is right around the corner, and all teams are looking to punch their ticket

Michaela O'Connor of Williams (Williams Athletics)
Michaela O’Connor and Williams will face Plattsburgh. (Williams Athletics)

Saturday, March 9

No. 8 Wisconsin-Eau Claire versus No. 1 St. Thomas
The Blugolds manhandled the Falcons in the WIAC championship game and are entering the NCAA tournament on a high note. Courtney Wittig has been an impact player all year for the Blugolds, and the Tommies will have to keep a close eye on her during the game. Wittig is not the only player that St. Thomas will have trouble with from the Blugolds roster, as senior defensemen Holly Turnbull and junior Elizabeth Bauer have been, without a doubt, a huge part of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s success. The Tommies have had arguably one of the best seasons in the league with only one loss on their schedule. The depth on their roster, along with their goaltender, Kenzie Torpy, are their best attributes. Anyone on St. Thomas can score, and that makes it extremely hard for any team to defend and play against them. During the MIAC playoffs, there was not one team that could score a goal against St. Thomas. The Tommies have been on a roll all season long, and they are expected to go far in this tournament. St. Thomas 3-1

No. 6 Williams versus No. 2 Plattsburgh
Plattsburgh barely got by in the first round of playoffs by beating Endicott in overtime. Despite outplaying the Gulls in every statistic during the game, goaltender Kassi Abbott had only 10 shots on net and allowed two goals. Plattsburgh’s top performers Courtney Moriarty and Annie Katonka came through for the Cardinals and were able to advance them to the quarterfinals, but Plattsburgh will need to be better as a team if they want to beat Williams. Williams is extremely underrated and has not had high expectations from anyone this entire season. This group continues to impress me as they continue to win games. Meghan Halloran has been Ephs’ top performer, but her team is not solely reliant on her to win games. Williams 2-1

No. 7 Wisconsin-River Falls versus No. 4 Hamline
The Falcons brutal loss in the WIAC championship game is not how they wanted to go into the NCAA tournament. Hamline is known for offensive power with Bre Simon and Leah Schwartzman, which will require that Wisconsin-River Falls be much better on defense if they want a chance at moving on to the semifinal round. Hamline is looking to reach their second Frozen Four appearance, and has more than enough manpower to do it. The Pipers are a talented team, but so is Wisconsin-River Falls. These two teams are very similar, as both are talented in the offensive department but defensively need some work. This game could be high scoring from both teams. Hamline 5-4

No. 5 Adrian versus No. 3 Elmira
Adrian meets its kryptonite in the national tournament for the fourth year in a row. Adrian is a strong team, and although they have not beaten Elmira the past three years, there is potential for it to happen this year. Bulldogs goaltender Denisa Jandova has been stellar the last half of the year and could make it extremely tough for the Soaring Eagles to score some goals. Elmira will be a tough hurdle for Adrian. The Soaring Eagles have only two losses on their schedule, and with Katie Granato leading the way, I just can’t see them losing in the quarterfinals. This Elmira team only allows 1.07 goals per game, and I think that is where Adrian will have trouble. Elmira 3-0