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Dramatic Finishes as KSU to Women's DII Final

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Dramatic Finishes as KSU to Women's DII Final

Kennesaw State has earned the right to face Davenport in the women's DII championship final.

KSU, defeated their southern rivals Tulane (who won the DII spring in 2016), 21-15. On Saturday, Kennesaw State defeated UC Irvine 34-10. Center Caitlane Fricia scored an early try but those two teams were basically deadlocked until into the second half. Irvine made it 7-5 eight minutes into the second half with a try from wing Leanne Nguyen, and then took a 10-7 lead when fullback Elona Williams raced in.

But the final 20 minutes belonged to Kennesaw State, as Fricia scored twice for a 19-10 KSU lead. Flyhalf Amanada Lam, forward Jordan Maxwell, and Amanda Thaler capped it off, but it was Fricia who blew the game open.

Tulane edged Grand Canyon 22-20. In a back-and-forth game it wasn't until midway through the first half that anyone scores. Lock Clare Sullivan scored for a 7-0 Tulane lead (with Tristan Peronard's conversion). GCU center Daeanera Tuaua answered with a try and the game remained 7-5 until the second half, when GCU forward Amber Perryman powered over to put the 'Lopes up 10-7. Sullivan scored her second (converted by Peronard) to put Tulane back up 14-10. Prop Jaime Massey scored for GCU to put the Antelopes ahead once more.

With 11 minutes to go Tulane retook the lead with Peronard's penalty goal - 17-15. GCU took it back, with Perryman scoring her second. With time winding down, scrumhalf Gwendolyn Leifer scampered over to win the game 22-20.

It was a thriller for sure, and both teams now had to regroup and play the next day. Once again, this was a tight one. Tulane started strong. No. 8 Lily Wissinger went over in the 9th minute, and that 7-0 lead held until midway through the first half. Then Wissinger scored again and Tulane led 12-0. Just before halftime scrumhalf Akilah Guzman went over for KSU, and Natalie Walker converted.

The score remained 12-7 for the next 20 minutes, when Guzman went over. Walker converted to put Kennesaw State in the lead 14-12. Peronard kicked yet another clutch penalty for Tulane to put her side up 15-14. And that set up for the heroics, and it was Fricia, kept off the scoreboard until the end. The center's try, and Walker's conversion, made it 21-15 KSU, and that's how it ended.

Now the expectation is that Kennesaw State will face Davenport, the fall DII champion, for the all-season DII championship. It shouldn't be too hard, as KSU is right next to Atlanta, Ga., and the final is at Life University in Marietta, Ga.