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Women's Elite College Playoffs This Weekend

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Women's Elite College Playoffs This Weekend

Hard-hitting Central Washington has some work to do. Kevin Hall photo.

The eight teams slated for this weekend's two-game Women's DI Elite College playoffs are now seven.

Indiana University has pulled out saying they are hurting for numbers. Head Coach Vaughn Mitchell has notified Penn State that IU is forfeiting and won't be at State College this weekend for the quarterfinals and semifinals.

"The situation and the timing are unfortunate, but we're working though it with the teams involved to find the best available solution given the constraints," D1 Elite Administrator Johnathan Atkeison said on USARugby.org. "Maybe the most disappointing part of this is that after an outstanding fall, Indiana isn't going to be competing on a national stage."

So here are the matchups for this weekend:

Friday, April 22 at Central Washington

New Mexico v CWU

Central Washington warmed up for this weekend with a 29-10 over the ORSU women's team. The Wildcats are heavily favored over the Lobos.

 "They are more or less an unknown for us, which is a good thing," CWU Head Coach Mel Denham said of UNM. "We played a lot of unknowns over the winter up in Canada, and had to work on adjustments and problem solving based on what is happening in front of us. This will be another opportunity for us to do that. At this point it's about getting the small things right within our system. We are not changing anything at this point, just fine tuning so we can get the fundamentals right under pressure."
Kickoff is 2pm Pacific Time.


BYU v Stanford

BYU gets to play officially as BYU now and that's a good thing for the program. The Cougars have been fairly quiet in April following a tense March during which they faced a SoCal select team (won 42-22), the University of Lethbridge (won 26-14), and Central Washington (lost 12-7). Head Coach Tom Waqa praised CWU's defense in that game, and you know he has put in some new wrinkles for the playoffs.  

Stanford lost twice to Chico State this winter, and they are a relatively young team, as Head Coach Josh Sutcliffe integrates some freshmen into the squad. He is also preparing his squad to face a physical opponent - hence last week's clash with Life West, a 75-10 loss.


Kickoff is 4pm Pacific Time. 


The winners play on Saturday (this is a Friday-Saturday format because BYU does not permit its athletes to play on Sunday).


In the Eastern Bracket, Penn State now has a bye to Sunday's semifinal. So there's just the one game on Saturday, April 23.

Lindenwood will take on Life at 11am, Eastern Time, at State College.

Lindenwood has been very busy going into this matchup, playing Chicago Women, Scioto Valley Women, and Louisville Women in the St. Louis Ruggerfest, and winning all three of those games. Sorensen Award Nominee McKenzie Hawkins led a furious Lions effort with Morgan Courtney and Ariana Lewis adding to their try totals. "It was a great tournament for us and we were able to get playing time for most of our players," said Head Coach Billy Nicholas.  "It was nice to get multiple 15's matches since that's exactly what we'll have to do in a few weeks at the D1 Elite Playoffs."

Lindenwood and Life then met a week later, in 7s at the Atlanta 7s Tournament. Life won that clash 24-5 on their way to winning the Elite College bracket behind the scoring of Kimberly Semiglia and Deshel Ferguson. Before that, it was a 3-0 run in Nash Bash against women's club competition, where the Running Eagles handled bigger, more experienced, and very physical opposition, and won handily. 

Since the beginning of the year, Life has won five of five against college opposition, and given up only one try in that period. Against all opposition in 15s, Life 14-2, losing to Quinnipiac in October, and Stars Rugby select team in November.

Head Coach Rosalind Chou had all sorts of praise for her players for working hard in both 15s and 7s, and also for the fact that her team is "hitting it hard" iun the classroom. Six of the roster have 4.0 GPAs.

"We hope to keep this momentum going as well focus back on our 15s season," said Chou.

Penn State, meanwhile, gets to rest on Saturday and scout the opposition before playing in Sunday's semifinal at noon Eastern. The Lions got a nice test April 2 with a 40-38 loss to the DC Furies women's team, which followed on from their 3-0 tour of Italy. Domestic collegiate opposition has not challenged them this year.