Photos: Diane Ramage
There isn’t a bigger rivalry in South Carolina than the one between USC and Clemson, and last weekend that rivalry played out on the Gamecocks rugby pitch. Members of the DI Mason-Dixon conference’s southern pool, the teams last saw each other in September for their season-opener. Under the lights of Loconte Field, Clemson took that first match 27-10. The rematch evolved differently.
In last Saturday’s rematch, USC won its fifth-straight game, defeating Clemson 31-14.
According to USC Head Coach Chris Ralston, the game was won with “good oppressive defense, which provided lots of opportunities for the USC offense to capitalize on. We kept Clemson on their heels the entire time, which kept our game progressing forward. It was a great team win!”
Gabbi Hall, Tee Potterfield, Imani Jose, Meagan Lanctot and Brittany Morse dotted down tries for USC, while Alison Ramage (2) and Brittany Morse kicked the conversions. Alyshia Williams and Jo Whitmire scored Clemson’s tries, while Kamryn Cochrane added two conversions.
Both teams face tough opponents again, as Clemson takes on UNC, and USC hosts undefeated Queens University of Charlotte, which recently announced that it will elevate to NCAA varsity and join NIRA in fall 2019.
Looking ahead, the Mason-Dixon conference hosts crossover playoffs (top-four south pool teams vs. top-four north pool teams) on March 30, and then the conference semifinals and championship will be held April 6-7. The top finishers then advance to the spring regional championships on April 20-21 (East Carolina University has been named as an eastern venue), and the spring championship will be held the first weekend in May in Matthews, N.C.