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RPI Looks To Pull Off A Surprise In Tri-State

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RPI Looks To Pull Off A Surprise In Tri-State

The Tri-State Conference crowns a champion in its women's bracket this weekend.

Vassar takes on surprise semifinalists RPI and Fairfield plays Marist.

Fairfield won the South Division and beat Albany to mak the semis. Marist was a competitive 2nd to Vassar in the North, and easily got by Hofstra. Vassar beat SUNY New Paltz with a team that was a bit of a split squad as Vassar also played Princeton in a non-conference game (and won 44-43).

But the real surprise was RPI, which went 2-2 in the regular season to finish 3rd behind Vassar and Marist, but then beat South #2 Stony Brook 29-10.

"It’s been a wild one this semester," said RPI Head Coach Andrew Denson, who said he is targeting Vassar this week and won't back down.

"Four years ago when I came to RPI to coach, everyone talked about how great the Vassar program was," said Denson. "I’ve spent that time scouting and learning how they perform in every aspect of the game. Whenever we play them I use it more as a teaching tool for myself and the team to show them that the almighty Vassar makes the same mistakes as any other team. and with careful planning, and a lot of patience, we would eventually run into them in the playoffs."

Vassar is somewhat unique in its approach as Head Coach Tony Brown has the team send large numbers to the rucks. This is because the Vassar players are, generally, small, so Brown wins rucks with exceptional fitness and numbers over the ball. It works—Vassar is the defending fall national champs. But Denson said it can be neutralized.

Leading the way for RPI is All Conference fullback Caitlyn Moustouka. She can tackle, ruck, run for both power, and speed, pass and catch, and is an exceptional kicker. Morgan Daley is a sophomore lock who leads the team with 11 tries, while senior captain and scrumhalf, Vanessa Tarantino, "is the only person I know more obsessed with this team than I am," said Denson.

Are we in for another surprise?

You never know.