One thing was certain as Kutztown and Vassar lined up for their quarterfinal on Sunday: One of last year’s Final Four teams wasn’t returning to Florida this December. And through 80 minutes of play, it appeared that Kutztown was the team to be left behind, as Vassar established and retained a lead throughout the game.
Now that ACRA has been assimilated into USA Rugby, essentially – hence the official fall championship description including “hosted by ACRA” - the awkwardness of the two “national” titles will be resolved, to an extent. The DI and DII teams that emerge victorious on Dec. 7 will be known as USA Rugby’s fall champions and earn berths to the national final against the spring champion on May 9.
The Big Ten decided to join the USA Rugby Women’s DI Fall Championship, hosted by ACRA, rather than the spring playoffs, this year, and the conference has made its presence known. Two teams – Penn State and Indiana – have advanced to the semifinals on Dec. 6-7 in Palm Coast, Fla., although the pair’s paths to the Final Four contrast greatly with each other.
Quinnipiac returns to the final four for the second time in the program’s short history, with its debut occurring in 2012. Recollections of that Bobcat squad only amplify the team’s progress in 2.5 years –not only was Quinnipiac playing in DII then, but its stardom also revolved around the phenomenal stiff-arming of Natalie Kosko.
Bowdoin College survived a nerve-testing weekend. The Polar Bears won two playoff games against Tri-State teams by a combined 51-37, and have been rewarded with a trip to the USA Rugby Women’s DII College Fall Championship, hosted by ACRA, final four. It will be the Maine team’s second trip ever, the first coming in 2006-07, when it lost to eventual champion UC Santa Cruz.