College Rugby Championships in Pittsburgh

Sixteen Women’s DI teams vie for spot in Spring Championships

Alex Solomon // Photo CWU Athletics
Thursday, April 09, 2015
Sixteen Women's DI teams vie for spot in Spring Championships

Each region will host four teams, and only one team from each location will win back-to-back games and reach the April 24-25 Women’s Division I Spring Championship.

Mid-Atlantic Regional – Founder’s Field
Pittsburgh, Pa.

West Chester vs. James Madison | Virginia vs. Virginia Tech
The all-Mason Dixon region looks like West Chester’s to be had. The Golden Rams have gone 9-2 while winning the Mason Dixon Conference title. It’s also worth noting that West Chester’s two losses came against fellow varsity program Quinnipiac and prominent senior club side Northern Virginia Women’s Rugby Club.

Two nonconference wins over Mary Washington have highlighted James Madison’s season, but the team has struggled within the Mason Dixon Conference. When West Chester and James Madison met in October, it was the Golden Rams that proved too strong in the 67-5 blowout.

Other than a 29-10 loss to North Carolina, teams have struggled to stay competitive with Virginia this season. The team’s closest conference affair came at home versus Virginia Tech, who the Cavaliers play April 11. The neutral site of Founder’s Field should close the 22-7 gap Virginia put on Virginia Tech, but neither team is likely to get past West Chester on day two of the Mid-Atlantic Regional.

 

Day Time Field Division Team 1 Team 2 Match
Saturday 11:00 AM B II Indiana Univ Pennsylvania Salisbury University 1
Saturday 12:00 PM A I University of Virginia Virginia Tech University 2
Saturday 1:00 PM B I West Chester University James Madison University 3
Saturday 2:00 PM A II Mary Washington University College of Charleston 4
Sunday 10:00 AM B   Loser Match 1 Loser Match 4 5
Sunday 11:00 AM A   Loser Match 2 Loser Match 3 6
Sunday 12:00 AM A   Victor Match 3 Victor Match 2 7
Sunday 2:00 PM A   Victor Match 4 Victor Match 1 8

West Regional – Stanford University
Stanford, Calif.

Stanford vs. Washington State | Central Washington vs. UC Davis
Less than two weeks after beating Washington State, the Cougars will take another crack at Stanford in the round of 16. The Cardinal are the No. 1 seed out of the Pacific Mountain – West Conference, while Washington State is the second seed from the Pacific Mountain – North Conference.

After a 6-0 regular season and wins over UC Santa Barbara and Washington State in the Pacific Mountain Playoffs, observers could easily peg Stanford as a team destined for a place in the Spring Championships. However, Central Washington will have its say in Palo Alto after having an equally impressive season – posting six shutouts and beating Fall Championship Semifinalist Quinnipiac, 22-17, back in October.

Washington State and UC Davis should both be applauded for reaching the round of 16, but neither are likely to pull off an upset on Saturday. The Cougars have proven they more than belong in DI after winning a DII National Championship in 2013, and the Aggies have surprised many with valuable wins over Cal, Chico State, and UC San Diego. Still, Central Washington beat Davis March 29 by 47 points, while Stanford upended Washington State by 19 on the same day – so a round of eight clash between Stanford and Central Washington is likely.

Southwest Regional – Balloon Fiesta Park
Albuquerque, N.M.

BYU vs. Cal | UC San Diego vs. New Mexico
The Pacific Mountain Conferences flex their rugby prowess sending two teams into the Southwest Regional after filling the West Regional at Stanford. However, BYU and New Mexico are the Mountain West’s No. 1 and 2 seeds, respectively, and appear to be favorites in April 10’s day one of the Regional.

The Cougars have gone an impressive 7-1 on the season, and avenged their lone loss, a 30-29 defeat at the hands of New Mexico, by slamming the Lobos, 110-5, the first week of March. Regardless, New Mexico had an excellent fall, which included wins over Air Force, BYU, and Colorado. San Diego rebounded nicely on day two of the Pacific Mountain Playoffs by beating Chico State, 24-14, a day after falling to UC Davis. The Tritons will need to build on their win over Chico to hang with the Lobos, who own the advantage of competing not far from their campus.

After a successful fall sevens season, Cal had a disappointing spring 15s season. The Golden Bears went 1-5 in their conference before splitting two matches at the Pacific Mountain Playoffs. Cal will more than have its hands full with BYU and a rubber match between the Cougars and Lobos on day two of the Southwest Regional should be anticipated.

South Regional – Furman University

Greenville, S.C.

Life vs. Texas A&M | North Carolina vs. Central Florida
On paper, the South region looks the most wide-open field of the four Regional Playoff locations. Incredibly enough, first-year program Life University may be the favorite in the South. With a history of excellence on the pitch at both the men’s club level and men’s collegiate grade, the Running Eagles recruited some ready-made rugby players to boost the program in its inaugural season. The result has been 14 consecutive victories after falling to Quinnipiac in August and a South Independent Rugby Conference Championship.

Life’s opponent, Texas A&M, is a conference champion too, but the Southwest Conference only contains three teams.

North Carolina’s steady season earned the Tar Heels the No. 2 seed out of the Mason Dixon, and an opportunity to compete outside of the conference at Furman University. In November, North Carolina lost to Life, 59-24, so you can bet the Tar Heels would love a second chance at the SIRC champs in the South Regional Final.

Central Florida is another team that would like another shot at Life. The Knights fell to the Running Eagles, 18-10, in the SIRC Championship game, but have seemingly closed the gap on the South’s No. 1 seed after a February 21 match between the two saw Life blank Central Florida, 53-0.

The April 24-25 Spring Championships will take place at Founder’s Field in Pittsburgh. The two days in Pittsburgh will advance one team from both the DI and DII ranks the to 2015 National Championship atFifth Third bank Stadium at Kennesaw State May 9.

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