For half of the country, women’s DII colleges now know their playoff fate. The Northeast and Midwest will name their three representatives to nationals this weekend, and the Mid-Atlantic will finalize which eight teams still have playoff ball waiting for them in the spring.
There’s a lot of drama wrapped up in the Mid-Atlantic. The Virginia RFU didn’t contest a state tournament this year and saw three teams – Mary Washington, William & Mary and Longwood – all finish with 5-1 records and an equal amount of points. The top two teams advancing to territorial championships in the spring were decided on head-to-head results among the three teams (excluding game results against the remaining four VRU teams). That left Longwood in third place, a disappointing finish for a team that just beat top seed MW 20-5 this weekend.
In Eastern Penn, Delaware and Temple posted big wins during the quarterfinals, while La Salle and Shippensburg played closer games against Scranton (7-0) and Drexel (22-7) respectively. Temple and Delaware face each other in the semis this weekend, and we’re hoping for a thrilling rematch (league game went to the Owls 12-5). Shippensburg should beat La Salle for the final’s berth, but EPRU gets three seeds to MARFUs, so Sunday and the third-place game is just as important.
In the Potomac, George Washington clinched the LAU title again and is the undisputed top seed heading to MARFUs. St. Mary’s played GW to a 27-8 loss in the final and is also still alive for a bid to nationals.
The Northeast will decide this weekend which three teams will advance to nationals in the spring. Norwich and Rutgers are the forerunners for the NRU championship. Vassar could very well be in the top 25, as they played Rutgers to a two-point loss earlier in league, but they haven’t enjoyed the same explosive growth that Rutgers has. Bowdoin stumbled against Rhode Island during NERFUs before playing SUNY Binghamton to a 29-12 quarterfinal win at NRUs.
Having five Midwest teams in the top 20 might not be realistic in terms of relative territorial strength, but right now, with the regional championships peaking at this weekend’s final four, there is some good rugby being played in comparison with the rest of the country.
We still like Grand Valley for a final’s berth, although the former DI team was greatly pushed by Slippery Rock last weekend, just eking out a 10-7 win. The Lakers will take on Winona during this Saturday’s semifinal and are expected to win. Pittsburgh has had a great season, having defeated SRU in the Allegheny final, and now awaits defending Midwest champ UW La Crosse in the semifinals.
The Rugby Northeast will also know who it’s sending to nationals this weekend. St. Michael’s pulled off a mild upset last weekend, eliminating Stonehill College (24-12) from playoff contention. St. Michael’s will take on American International College for the lone bid to nationals. AIC won the first meet-up 44-0.
Around the rest of the country, the Scrum by the Sea in San Diego saw some DII teams level up against one another. Humboldt played in the competitive division and beat DI teams UC San Diego, Arizona State and Chico State, before falling 12-0 to ASU in the final. Arizona won the social division and exacted revenge on UCLA in the final after first losing to the DI team 12-5 on day one. Arizona also beat UC Santa Cruz and USC twice over the course of the weekend.
Washington State and Western Washington swapped places on the rankings, after WSU pulled off a 17-12 victory a couple of weekends ago. Being that the match occurred so early in the season, it’s difficult to gauge the strength of each squad, but hopefully that will become more evident as the weeks roll on.
UNC Charlotte and Lee University have a healthy amount of games under their belts. UNCC just tacked on another couple of friendly wins as they ready for the matrix season, and Lee's most significant victory has come against DI's Georgia.
Finally, it’s been difficult following the Eastern Rockies division. Half of teams have forfeited at least one game – whether for insufficient numbers or paperwork violations. When the games have played out, Colorado College has looked the strongest.
As the season winds down over the next couple of weeks, be sure to tune back for the final rankings of the year.
Women DII College Top 25 – November 9, 2011
1 (1) Norwich (8-0). Taking #1 seed to NRU championships after defeating SUNY Binghamton 78-0.
2 (2) Grand Valley (9-0). In Midwest semifinals after defeating Slippery Rock 10-7.
3 (3) Shippensburg (7-0). Defeated Drexel 22-7 to advance to EPRU semifinals.
4 (7) Washington State (2-0). Defeated Western Washington 17-12.
5 (4) Western Washington (1-1). Lost to Washington State 17-12.
6 (5) George Washington (5-0). Defeated Catholic 55-5 and St. Mary's 27-8 for PRU title.
7 (6) Rutgers (7-0). Advances to NRU semifinals after defeating Coast Guard 43-14.
8 (9) UW La Crosse (7-0). Advances to Midwest semifinals after defeating Northern Illinois 17-0 and Illinois State 73-0.
9 (11) AIC (4-0-1) Top seed in Rugby Northeast championship.
10 (12) Pittsburgh (8-0). Advances to Midwest semifinals after defeating Bowling Green 46-0 and IUP 33-5.
11 (8) Slippery Rock (6-2). Lost to Pittsburgh in Allegheny final, defeated Loyola 35-14 in Midwest round of 16, then lost to Grand Valley 10-7 in quarterfinals.
12 (13) St. Michael's (4-1). Defeated Stonehill 24-12 for RNE championship berth.
13 (15) Texas Tech (1-1). Defeated Texas A&M 29-15 after losing to Texas.
14 (16) Delaware (5-1). Advances to EPRU semifinals after defeating York 51-0.
15 (18) Temple (5-1). Advances to EPRU semifinals after defeating East Stroudsburg 40-5.
16 (17) Winona (7-0). Advance to Midwest semifinals after beating UW Eau Claire 22-17 and MNSU Mankato 30-12.
17 (10) Mary Washington (5-1). Lost to Longwood 20-5 but secures #1 seed from VRU.
18 (19) Bowdoin (7-1). Advances to NRU final four after defeating SUNY Fredonia 29-12.
19 (20) Lee University (5-2). Biggest win came against Georgia 38-7.
20 (14) Stonehill (3-2). Lost to St. Michael’s 24-12.
21 (23) UNC Charlotte (4-3). Defeated College of Charleston 31-6 and UNC Greensboro 42-17 in friendlies.
22 (unr) Humboldt (5-1). Lost to ASU 12-0 in Scrum by the Sea final.
23 (24) Colorado College (2-0). Leads ERRFU with forfeit wins over Northern Colorado and Western State.
24 (unr) William & Mary (4-1). Defeated VCU 27-0 and secured #2 VRU seed to MARFUs.
25 (unr) Arizona (4-1). Won social division of Scrum by the Sea.
25 Utah Valley (8-0). Looks to round out undefeated season against Salt Lake City Women this weekend.