A bitter, cold weekend in the U.S. hit all four Regional Playoff locations of the 2016 USA Rugby Women’s Division II Fall Championships, but four teams escaped unbeaten to book tickets to Greenville, S.C., and the 2016 USA Rugby Fall College Championships.
Last year’s Fall Champion, Davenport University, and two additional 2015 Semifinalists in Winona State University and Vassar College will join Coast Guard Academy at Furman University Dec. 3-4.
The Panthers of Grand Rapids, Mich., conceded three points in three postseason matches leading to last season’s Fall Championship Semifinals, and gave up just one try in two matches out at Brimelow Fields in Cincinnati. The home team for the Mid-West Regional, Cincinnati University, trailed by 22 points before center Justine Perl put the Bearcats on the board 10 minutes from halftime in Saturday’s Round of 16 matchup. Davenport was not to be stopped, scoring five tries in the second half to see out the 57-7 victory.
All-American Danielle Ordway followed up a five-try performance against Cincinnati with a distributor’s game in Sunday’s Quarterfinals as the Panthers scored 14 tries in breezing by Illinois State University, 88-0. The Redbirds survived a barnburner against West Virginia, 53-34, Saturday, but were unable to challenge the depth of Davenport on the back end of a doubleheader.
Davenport’s title-winning season in 2015-16 was almost not when the Panthers met Bloomsburg University in the Fall Championship Semifinals, needing a second-half comeback effort to claim the trophy. There will not be a surprise upset by the Huskies this year after Saturday’s loss to Coast Guard in the Mid-Atlantic Regional at Kutztown University.
The Bears ran out to a 22-0 halftime lead thanks to two tries from outside center Angel Fay, who finished off her hat trick of tries in the 60th minute to cut Bloomsburg’s momentum at 34-17. Coast Guard kept up the pressure to extend its lead before the Huskies found a consolation try at the final whistle to advance to the Quarterfinals, 51-22.
Saint Michael’s College impressed against a hungry Eastern Kentucky team that traveled up to Pennsylvania through the first winter weather patterns of the year, scoring 11 tries in a 71-14 win Saturday. The Purple Knights kept the Quarterfinal with Coast Guard close, trailing by no more than 12 points at any given stage, but ultimately could not overturn the Bears’ advantage in a 22-17 result.
Coast Guard will look to dethrone the reigning Division II Fall and National Champion in one half of the remaining playoff bracket, with the Semifinal scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 3, at 1 p.m. ET.
Whether Vassar College had home-field advantage or not in hosting the Northeast Regional, the Brewers proved their Championship credentials once again in sweeping the competition out at Vassar College Farm. Fly half Mary Margaret McElduff dotted down twice and converted seven of her team’s 11 tries against University of Vermont Saturday in a 69-0 victory.
The Banshees of Buffalo State University replied to an early University at Albany try Saturday for a level score line, but the Great Danes took control of the match to come away victors, 46-5, setting up an all-Tri-State Quarterfinal matchup with Vassar. The Brewers had taken ‘Ws’ from both matchups leading into the national postseason, and continued the trend Sunday. Five different try-scorers crossed the try line, including Laila Blumenthal-Rothchild for her fourth and fifth tries of the weekend, as Vassar built a 34-0 lead before Albany’s consolation five minutes from time brought the final score to 34-5.
Montana State University traveled to Wayne, Neb., for the West Regional knowing its veteran experience in the postseason and skillful offense could pose threats to any team. University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, received the brunt of the Bobcats’ attack in a 70-12 Round of 16 defeat.
Winona State, however, was raring to go Sunday after Marquette University forfeited Saturday’s game, and beat Montana State at the Quarterfinal stage for the second year running, 42-5.
The Black Katts from Minnesota beat Vassar in last year’s Semifinals to advance to the Fall Championship bout against Davenport, and will have the same road to the Final in Greenville.
Davenport University will play Vassar College at 1 p.m. ET & Coast Guard Academy will play Winona State University at 3 p.m. ET Saturday, Dec. 3.
Winners of the Semifinals will compete for the Fall Championship Sunday, Dec. 4, at 3 p.m. ET. Both Semifinals and the Final will be broadcast free of charge on The Rugby Channel.
See how the teams reached the 2016 USA Rugby Regional Playoffs.
Sourced from USA Rugby.