This weekend is one of the busier ones we've seen this fall from DI women's clubs. The Capital and Midwest unions enjoyed byes last weekend, but are back to build upon their records. Check out how the active leagues are sorting out thus far: Women DI Club Standings.
Pacific Northwest (Schedule/Results)
The game we're most looking forward to - and which ironically holds the least weight - is Emerald City vs. ORSU. We're excited for this game because both teams are undefeated, and the Mudhens are coming off a 27-22 victory over Seattle. ORSU beat the Breakers more convincingly and are favored during the final game of round one, but we're eager to gauge Emerald City's strength against the 2012 DI finalist.
"We've set some pretty high standards for this season and winning that game was a huge confidence booster for us and something the team needed," Emerald City/Eagle Ashley Kmiecik said of the Seattle win. "We don't underestimate the Breakers' power in the forward pack so our game plan was to work hard to get the ball into the backs' hands, and it succeeded. That win was a team victory."
This game is by no means negligible; however, in a three-team league where one round is held in the fall and the second in the spring, it's difficult build drama. Tension will be felt in the spring, when nationals is on the line, but with months between the rounds, three totally different teams could emerge in 2014. ORSU's Beckett Royce describes the plight of this region in greater detail (read more), and her opinion is one shared by many DI teams across the country.
For instance, last year, NOVA was competing in a six-team league that included DI champion Atlanta. Now, 3-0 after the first round, NOVA has outscored opponents 149-20. On a positive note, concluding league play in the fall means NOVA can tap Women's Premier League and/or Northeast teams in preparation for nationals.
Philadelphia has no intention of being walked over this weekend and will look to improve upon their 44-10 loss to NOVA earlier this season. They took that first step during their previous game against Keystone, a rivalry that has now shifted into Philly's favor. Four forwards and four backs ran in tries during the 72-0 win, with Emily Tunney (two tries, six conversions), Jessica Leggett (three tries) and Kristin Aliberto (two tries) leading the points scorers.
On the other side of the union, if Keystone and James River's first meeting is any indication of what lies in store for tomorrow, then the teams will be treated to a true even match. Keystone eked out the 24-19 barnburner last time around, but we think Sam Pankey can lead her team to victory tomorrow.
The two undefeated teams, Chicago North Shore (2-0) and Minnesota Valkyries (1-0-1), play each other this weekend, but expect the former to come out on top. Not only is CNS hosting this round-three game, but its point differential is also nine times larger than the Valkyries. North Shore banked bonus points in both wins and saw repeat try-scoring from well knowns like Kate Daley and Christiane Pheil, as well as Jacki Gloss, Maggie Craig and Nicole Fisch.
Chicago (0-2) and Detroit (0-1-1) will look for their first wins of the season, and a good, even game is expected. We’re favoring Detroit in this one.
The Village Lions have a slim hope for some drama this weekend, as they take on Albany in their rematch. The Sirens won 44-10 at home a month ago, but showed some vulnerability on the road against Monmouth last weekend. Albany still won 22-15. The Lions, who are working behind their fourth coach in as many years, are still struggling for cohesion. Expect the Sirens to come out on top.
The New Jersey rivalry between Monmouth and Morris comes to life on Saturday, and the former is in much better shape for the win. This fall marks both teams’ first season in DI, and Monmouth has proven more successful. Expect Monmouth to bank win number two tomorrow.