On Sunday, November 3, the top four DII women’s colleges in the Mid-Atlantic Rugby Conference (MARC) came together to determine who would advance to the ACRA Sweet 16. The MARC finalists not only receive automatic bids to the national playoffs but also byes through the Round of 32 (the date of MARC final and Round of 32 conflict).
Northern Division winner Kutztown University hosted the University of Delaware, who less than 24 hours earlier defeated East Stroudsburg University 30-10 in the quarterfinals.
Windy conditions forced Kutztown to keep the ball in tighter and in the centers, but the pack was ready for the challenge and took it Delaware early on. Kutztown hooker Katie Davis got the scoring going in the 9th minute, dotting down a try from about 22 meters. Four more tries followed and the Lady Bears enjoyed a 32-0 lead at half.
In the second half, the hosts put up two quick tries, but then Delaware prevented the shutout in the 65th minute with their lone score of the game. Kutztown had the final word in the 73rd minute and finished with a 49-7 victory.
“This was a very physical game,” Kutztown coach Sean Cobb said. “While Kutztown came away with the victory, both sides left this game with a few more bumps and bruises. Delaware never gave up and made us earn every meter and every point. I'm proud of my girls for the way they played. They played a controlled game on offense that starved Delaware of possession and aggressive defense that took Delaware's space away.”
After easily defeating St. Joseph's University 48-17 in the Saturday’s quarterfinal, Lock Haven University traveled to Southern Division champ Shippensburg University for their semifinal. The first 15 minutes were quiet, as each side rebuffed attempts at each other’s goal line, but Shippensburg broke the silence in the 16th minute with the game-opening try. Not to be outdone, reigning MARC champ Lock Haven punched in two tries before the break for the 14-5 lead.
Shippensburg retook the lead in the second half, utilizing their dangerous backline for two tries. The third lead change occurred at the 70th minute, as Lock Haven focused their energy in the forwards and eventually punched their third try over, 21-17.
Shippensburg scrambled for possession in the waning minutes and with four minutes to go, the host built an overload out wide for a try. Spirits broken, Lock Haven gave up another try before the whistle, and Shippensburg won 29-21.
Kutztown and Shippensburg will play for the MARC Championship on November 9 at 1:00 p.m. at Kutztown University. Both teams bypass the first round of the ACRA championships and debut in the Round of 16 on Nov. 16. The brackets do not yet reflect where the MARC finalists will be placed; however, one will play the winner of Grand Valley vs. Notre Dame College, and the other will play the winner of Marist vs. Stonehill.