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Dominant Northern Michigan Leads Quartet into Women Small College Semis

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Dominant Northern Michigan Leads Quartet into Women Small College Semis

NMU moved the ball well despite the cold. Alex Goff photo.

Northern Michigan won the Women's Small College Midwest region with an emphatic victory over York College on Sunday.

All of the results were, for the most part, emphatic, as NMU beat Calvin 64-0 on Saturday and York defeated Baldwin Wallace 54-0. Overnight the snow fell and the fields at the Moose Rugby Grounds in Elkhart, Ind. were covered in the stuff. But the staff, headed up by Bart Bottorff, plowed the snow off the main field to ensure it wasn't a slush-covered slog for the players in both the consolation game and the regional final.

NMU kept working the ball wide despite the cold and the potential for difficult ball-handling. With scrumhalf Rachel Placeway working the ball quickly to the backs and the forward pods, and with the NMU pack showing some strong rucking form, they started to recycle well.

This put York under pressure to stay organized on defense, and center Bianca Rosales repeatedly burst through to get her side in scoring position.

On the wing Ella Erisken was very dangerous, but the York perimeter defense covered her well. The NMU forwards, coached well by former USA No. 8 Tina Nesberg, worked hard to be in support and so NMU was able to recycle and go back the other way.

NMU's ball handling was very strong and as they ran loop moves they were able to extend the length of their backline.

The result was a 49-5 win for Northern Michigan. NMU moves on then to the Small-College semifinals in Houston, along with St. Scholastica, Endicott, and Lee to round out the final four. 

All four won regional championship over the weekend.

Endicott beat Colby 27-14 to win the Northeast, with Kaitlynn Quinn scoring three tries. Lee got by St. Bonaventure 31-10 and East Stroudsburg to 36-17 to make it the semis in Houston. 

St. Scholastica hammered Pittsburg State 87-0 and followed that up with a tough victory 45-36 over Chicago. 

In Houston on December 3 it will be St. Scholastica vs Lee and Northern Michigan vs Endicott.