It’s still early in the season for some DII women’s colleges, while others are preparing for regional playoffs. The Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest fall into the latter category, and their activity has positively affected their rankings. As the rest of the country gets a few more games under their belts, and we can determine whether last year’s success was influenced by a crop of seniors or a sign of things to come, there will be more movement from South, West, Pacific Coast and So Cal teams.
There are many familiar names on the list, and they’re here because they’ve put together multiple successful seasons that led to the national championships. And then there are some newer teams, as well as schools returning to DII.
Former DI teams Grand Valley and Delaware have returned to DII, and the Panthers have looked just as impressive as ever. They’re missing All American back row Joanna Kitlinski, but coach Bob Richthammer has been impressed with how the forwards have stepped up and filled the void. Delaware lost a tight 12-5 match to Temple earlier in the season, but they’re still ranked above their opponent due to the Owls’ misstep against Drexel (27-10 loss), a team that UDel beat 22-7. These two teams should meet in the EPRU final.
The Texas union instituted a new qualifying structure for its teams. When the Pacific Mountain Conference was established for DI, A&M saw all of its opponents leave the West. Therefore, A&M, Texas Tech and University of Texas will each play two cup matches against each other during league. The top finisher will compete for a DI seed, the second team for DII, and the third team will be out. We think Tech will finish second.
Also joining DII are American International College and St. Michael’s in Rugby Northeast. Both have put up some impressive scores, but the most poignant being AIC’s 32-5 win against DII national semifinalist Stonehill College. Stonehill is rebuilding and has since rebounded, but their fate will be determined by its match against St. Michael’s, which also hasn’t faced AIC yet. The top two will play in an RNE final, with the winner moving onto NRUs.
The exit of teams like Stonehill and Radcliffe, which plays in DI’s Ivy League, means NRUs should be an easier win for Norwich, who we expect to repeat as NRU champion. The cadets outscored league opponents 343-5. Bowdoin won the other conference with an undefeated record.
The Mid-Atlantic and Midwest are on the verge of their regional tournaments after some local union qualifying. Allegheny as a union performed well as a whole, and has seen the addition of Pittsburgh, who will play perennial powerhouse Slippery Rock for the #1 seed this weekend. The Midwest kicks off its Round of 16 on Oct. 29, and we expect Winona to also do well.
The Potomac union will also contest its LAU championship this weekend, as will the MET NY. We expect George Washington to win the #1 seed easily, and hope to see a rematch of the Rutgers v Vassar game in New York. Rutgers won their first match-up 24-22, and while Vassar is easily the second-best team in the union, they did stumble against Stony Brook 35-34 and will need a good performance this weekend to jump off the watch list.
Women DII College Top 25 – October 21, 2011
1. Norwich (5-0). Outscored league opponents 343-5.
2. Grand Valley (6-0). Dropped down from DI after just missing out on DI nationals.
3. Shippensburg (3-0). Reigning MARFU champion. Played Notre Dame to a 23-15 loss at nationals.
4. Western Washington. Inactive. Strongest national semifinalist left.
5. George Washington (2-0) (6-0). Top seed in PRU playoffs; played WWU to a 20-12 loss at nationals.
6. Rutgers (6-0). Top seed in Met NY, defeated teams 301-54.
7. Washington State (4-0). Defeated DI’s Oregon University, Oregon State and women’s club Portland Pigs at Babbfest.
8. slippery rock (5-0). Favorite in Allegheny, final v Pittsburgh.
9. UW La Crosse (5-0). Top seed in Wisconsin, scored 45 tries in league.
10. Mary Washington (4-0). Top seed in Virginia, defeated opponents 152-14.
11. AIC (3-0-1). Defeated Stonehill 32-5, but then tied Bentley 10-all.
12. Pittsburgh (5-0). Defeated Clarion 48-10 in Allgheny semis. Final against Slippery Rock.
13. St. Michael's (3-0). Big wins so far but final two matches against Stonehill and AIC.
14. Stonehill (2-1). Lost to AIC 32-5 opening weekend, but defeated Bentley 25-5.
15. Texas Tech (3-2). Texas' #2 team will play for the DII seed. Defeated Texas 14-12, Truman State 27-0 and Texas State 77-0 in friendlies.
16. Delaware (3-1). Lost to Temple 12-5, but defeated Drexel 22-7.
17. Winona (3-0). Favorite for Minnesota top seed to Midwest championship.
18. Temple (2-1). Defeated Delaware 12-5, but lost to Drexel 27-10.
19. Bowdoin (5-0). Won NERFU East-West conference 204-36.
20. Lee University. Inactive.
21. Mesa State (1-0). Mesa played Notre Dame to its closest game at nationals, 27-20. Won first match against Northern Colorado 31-10.
22. Santa Clara. Inactive.
23. UNC Charlotte (2-3). Played two close matches to DI’s ECU, 5 pt PD
24. Colorado College (1-0). Mesa State’s biggest competition. Won first match by forfeit.
25. CSU Fullerton. Inactive.