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College Spring 15s Check-in – From VA & FL, Up the Whole West Coast

  • 08 Feb 2024
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GCU Women's Rugby

From single-digit decisions, to displays of strength – last weekend’s 15s games brought ever more context to the College Rugby Association of America (CRAA) spring 15s season. The following updates are listed in alphabetical order by conference. For more detail, check out The Rugby Breakdown’s Scores page. [Lead photo: Jeff Dalton Photograph]

The DI Blue Ridge conference held a pair of friendlies last Saturday. After a 25-minute stalemate, Virginia Women’s Rugby posted 24 unanswered points against Virginia Tech, a good restart for the Hoos and their 15s post-season ambitions. North Carolina State University led North Carolina by a conversion with no time on a clock, but then a breakaway try put the W in the Tarheels’ column.

Virginia plays NC State this Saturday, while Howard University hosts James Madison University in a friendly.

There were three matches scheduled in Florida but only the DI matrix match was contested. And it was a goodie. Central Florida traveled to Florida State and held onto a 20-19 victory. UCF fullback Emily Rahija scored two tries, while MacKenzie Hall and Makayla Sinaise also dotted down. The Seminoles got their points from flyhalf Jessica Rosenblum (T, 2C), inside center Bri Alston (T) and wing Allison Patino (T). This Saturday, the Univ. Florida, also 1-0, travels to UCF.

DI is a short season, with approximately a month’s worth of matrix play between the three participating teams. But DII might be even shorter. The Eckerd College vs. Miami was postponed, and the South Florida vs. Florida International match was canceled. DII is meant to resume on Feb. 17, but the outlook is bleak from a 15s point of view. (Check out Rugby FL’s stats on teams’ roster numbers.)

 

 

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To the opposite coast, four games took place in the Pacific Desert conference. In DI, there teams are 2-0: Claremont Colleges, Grand Canyon and UCLA.

The Foxes beat their fellow former DII team, San Diego State, 40-0. Scrumhalf Kate McArthur earned MVP, while outside center Sam Campbell and rookie prop Lindsey Manugian took home Back and Forward Players of the Match, respectively.

Grand Canyon also improved to 2-0 with a 43-0 victory against local rival Arizona State. Joanne Marie Alvarez, Kat Bambrick, Atley Boyd, Lauren Campbell, Angel Lucero, Kloe Williams and Alizah Yrigolla scored the tries, while Samantha Garcia contributed eight points on four conversions. More Jeff Dalton photos.

UCLA and UC Santa Barbara played the closest match in terms of score line, but the Bruins were 24 points stronger – 34-10 the final. UCLA hosts UC San Diego this Saturday.

UC Irvine is also 2-0 in the Pacific Desert’s Division II. After a 42-0 win against Claremont’s DII team to kick off the season, UCI beat Long Beach State 42-10 last Saturday. No. 8 McKenna Larson scored three tries, while lock Julia Cruz and wing Maria del Mar Ramiro Ortega were highlighted as Forward and Back of the Match, respectively. Jessica Thai received a special shoutout for adapting to three different pack positions on the day.

The 49ers did have reason to celebrate, though, as two rookies – Saoirse Whelen and Ellie Cheong – scored their first-ever tries for Long Beach State.

The Univ. San Diego vs. Claremont DII match was rescheduled for March 2. This Saturday, UC Irvine will travel to CSU Northridge for the host’s first game of the season. Northridge dropped from DI so this will be another great game to gauge strength.

In Northern California, Chico State picked up its first win of the DI Pacific Mountain season, gritting out a 10-7 decision against UC Davis.

 

Cal (2-1) won its homecoming match against Fresno State (1-2) and will travel to the Aggies this weekend. The Bulldogs meanwhile will host Stanford (4-0), which won the teams’ first meeting 92-0.

The aforementioned all compete in the Pacific Mountain’s West competition, and the top-two teams – most likely Stanford and Cal – will face the Pacific Mountain North teams in crossover playoffs on April 6-7. Location still TBD. The North pool is rooted in the Pacific Northwest and regularly plays competitive matches against each other. Western Washington is still undefeated and added to its win column with a 24-12 decision against Oregon last Saturday. It’s also worth noting that Western Washington fielded a second team against a combination Federal Way/Budd Bay/Deschutes senior club players. The motley side won 37-20.

Washington held off Oregon State in a 33-24 victory, and will now play Oregon for the first time this season on Saturday. The OSU Beavers will take on the WWU Vikings this weekend, too.

And finally, the DII West Coast, which is based in NorCal, saw just one of its three matches come off. San Jose State defeated Santa Clara University 40-12. The Spartans honored Zoe Moestopo (MVP), Ania Simmons (forward), Kate Buckley (back) and Viki Milev (rookie) as Players of the Match. SJSU faces UC Santa Cruz this weekend in what is expected to be a tough match. The Banana Slugs had their match against CSU Monterey Bay canceled last weekend, and the USF/SFSU vs. St. Mary’s College game also did not occur.

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