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Fall Champ Won't Play for National Championship

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Fall Champ Won't Play for National Championship

Photo courtesy of UConn Women's Rugby

Last season, UConn remained undefeated as the took the National Fall DI Championship from Air Force with a 19-12 win. This win secured them a place in the spring title game. However, UConn won't be going.

UConn wouldn't have been able to make it to the fall championship without some funding help from UConn's Club Sports Council. Yet, that help only extends so far. The Club Sports Council can only fund one championship trip per academic year, and UConn says they don't have the means to pay for another championship trip this season.

"There aren't many sports that have a spring and fall champion. It's odd," captain Emily Reed said.

"We think [USA Rugby] should focus on a 15s season in the fall and a 7s season in the spring," president Melanie Clarke added. "We think that's what make sense."

Clarke, Reed, and captain Gaby Benitez all agreed that they saw no reason why USA Rugby can't hold a DI National Championship for all conferences in the fall, especially because there is no snow to prevent games from happening like there is in the spring. For teams like UConn, the monetary aspect is a large inconvenience. Even though UConn's graduation is the weekend of the upcoming National Championship, many UConn players said they would skip walking in order to play for the title.

"We are bummed we can't follow the tournament through to the end," Benitez said.

So for now, UConn will be focusing on improving the team as a whole to ready for next season. On March 14 and 18, UConn faced off against Napier University and Stirling County during their Scotland Tour. Even though seven of their starters were unable to attend the Scotland Tour, UConn captured a 45-0 win against Napier. Four days later, Stirling proved to be tougher opponent, and UConn lost by one try for a 29-24 defeat.

"Their pack was extremely good at offloading and our forwards, made up majorly of new starters, had trouble defending them," Clarke said.

After returning from Scotland with a win and the first loss of the year, UConn looks toward the Cherry Blossom and Beast of the East tournaments. The goal, as always, is to be the champion.