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DI Preview: Mid-Atlantic Region Replays Fall Friendlies

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DI Preview: Mid-Atlantic Region Replays Fall Friendlies

The Mid-Atlantic region of the USA Rugby Women’s DI College Fall Championship, hosted by ACRA, feels familiar. That’s because the two Round of 16 matches – Quinnipiac vs. Army and Navy vs. Brown – have occurred in friendly form this fall.

QUINNIPIAC has actually played two of the Mid-Atlantic teams – Army and Navy – and won both by big margins. In early September the Bobcats beat the Cadets 50-17 behind the three-try performance of All American Natalie Kosko; and a couple of weekends ago defeated the Midshipmen 99-19, thanks to seven tries from loose forward Shannon Durkin.

Quinnipiac isn’t very big, but they make up for it in speed and aggression. The box scores feature a variety of players every game, with players like Kosko (who has been absent the past couple of weeks), Durkin, Junior All American Maggie Myles and Elena Orlando scoring lots of tries, and soccer crossover Aine McKeever showing off her boot in conversions.

The Bobcats have also spent the last two years building up their forwards, going after high school standouts like Lily Weldon and Maggie Wesolowski to join sophomore highlights Tayler Schussler, Madison Gegeckas and Christie Albers.

Quinnipiac didn’t schedule any easy games this fall, traveling to the corners of the country to play fellow varsity and/or top-tier competition, and that’s a big reason why the Bobcats are favored to go 2-0 this weekend at playoffs.

ARMY hopes to defy that prediction. The Cadets have had a mixed season, going 0-4 in the Northeast against Norwich and AIC (Yellow Jackets won both games by three points). The West Pointers were able to build some confidence with wins against Tier B teams in the Northeast conference, as well as Navy and Air Force.

Leggy wing Kate Roose led Army with almost 20 tries this season, so the Cadets will be doing their best to swing the ball to their best finisher. Senior Alison Wilson, and juniors Carissa Pekny and Allie McDonald have also been solid try-scorers, with Pekny doubling as the team’s kicker.

We’re picking Quinnipiac for the win, especially since Army has suffered a few key injuries, but the victor will play the winner of Brown vs. Navy on Sunday.

BROWN enters the post-season not only with an Ivy League title and undefeated record, but also with the assurance that it can beat Navy. The duo played in late October, and the Rhode Island side won handily, 46-12.

It’s been incredibly exciting following Saskia Morgan and co-captain Oksana Goretaya this season. So dynamic in the backline, if one isn’t scoring, then she’s setting up the other for a try. Props Elisa Miles and Daisy Alvarado-Munoz, and lock Lauren Oxendine, who partners well with co-captain Tiara Mack, are the forward powers. And connecting them all are scrumhalf Amber Reano and flyhalf Sofia Rudin, who is also Brown’s capable kicker.

NAVY has struggled all fall. The Midshipmen played strong opponents that confirmed that Navy is in a rebuilding season. Having lost convincingly to all of its Mid-Atlantic counterparts, Navy also dropped games to Air Force, UVA and Harvard. The good news is that Navy has great numbers, and coach Jenny Jaspers has a lot of talent with which work, the team is just not playoff-ready.

So predictions: Quinnipiac vs. Brown in the quarterfinals, Army vs. Navy in the consolation round. Click here for the full DI brackets.