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Women's Intercollegiate Season Starts with 2015 Final Rematch

College Women

Women's Intercollegiate Season Starts with 2015 Final Rematch

Army looks ahead to unseating the Varsity champs on Thursday.

West Point and Quinnipiac open up their season Thursday night, September 1, in a repeat of the National Collegiate Women's Varsity Rugby Association championship game from last fall.

That final was won by the Bobcats 24-19, but this week's hosts, the West Point Black Knights, will be looking for some measure of revenge. Quinnipiac enters the 2016 fall season with a 4-2 all-time against Army - that record includes a 29-24 regular-season win for the Black Knights last fall, and also a 24-12 regular-season Bobcats win, and the Varsity final.

This game also kicks off a new season under a new name. What was the NCWVRA is now the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association. The Tier I of the league is comprised of Brown, Dartmouth, Harvard, Quinnipiac, Notre Dame College, West Chester, West Point, Central Washington, AIC, and Norwich.

Tier II includes Molloy, Sacred Heart, Bowdoin, Castleton, and University of New England. (Note we had these lists wrong in an earlier version of this article, but have corrected them.)

Quinnipiac is led by six all-conference players in Mason Johnson (Budd Bay Steelheads, Wash.), who was the championship MVP, Ilona Maher (South Burlington, Vt.), Maggie Myles (West Carroll, Md.), Flora Poole (Christchurch, New Zealand), Emily Roskopf (Pleasanton Cavaliers, Calif.) and Hailey Wyatt (Summit HS, Colo.). Myles, Maher, and Johnson are co-captains.

Quinnipiac welcomes five freshmen, with Colorado Springs front-rower Carly Plowman, Plano, Texas lock Niamh Savage, Westside Swarm, Colo. prop Emma Shipton, Illinois track star Mikah Maples (now a No. 8), and Summit HS (Colo.) center Meg Rose all bolstering the team's efforts for this season.

The Black Knights, meanwhile, are coming off a 9-5 2015 15s season in which they went 5-2 in league play, losing only to Quinnipiac. Sophomore Zye Crittington is the top-scoring returning player, having notched six tries last season. Of the Army roster of 40, only 22 are returning, including seven regular starters. So it's a bit of a rebuilding time for the Black Knights and Head Coach Bill LeClerc. However, it's worth noting that that Army won the NIRA 7s championships last spring, and are expected to be a formidable, if somewhat unknown, opponent.

The game kicks off at 2:50pm ET, and can be seen live here: http://www.goarmywestpoint.com/watch/?Live=279