Belmont Shore joins the rankings after a Tempe upset. /// Photo courtesy Belmont Shore Women’s Rugby
The Division I scene has warmed up slightly, with a handful of tournaments injecting action into the otherwise quiet landscape. And this weekend will see teams restart league seasons that began in the fall. While there were some moves in this edition of the DI rankings, April is the month to watch.
First up, the only league that’s full-on active right now: Southern California. Belmont Shore upset leader Tempe 42-22 during round three of league, and now three teams are at 2-1. Santa Monica stays on the list, while the Arizona side falls off, and Belmont Shore joins the Top 15 at #13. The second half of the season starts Saturday, and teams will be looking to avenge those losses.
List-topper Seattle is in-season in Canada and currently sits in fifth place in the BC Premier League. The Saracens have three more league games, include Saturday’s game against #2 Burnaby Lake, and hope to advance to the league semifinals on April 23. The BC final is on April 30, and then there’s little rest before USA Rugby’s Round of 8 begins.
Red River is also in league, but it’s another one those competitions diluted by split seasons. Austin, for example, was idle for the entire month of March but will end the regular season with crossover matches against Dallas and HARC in April. The Valkyries have allowed five points against all season, and the Houston game on April 16 should be the best one of the season for both undefeated squads.
Black Ice doesn’t really have a season to speak of, since it’s the lone DI team in the Frontier region. But the Colorado side kicked off its buildup to post-season against Glendale, and lost 53-10. Black Ice’s schedule is packed with road games in Utah, Minnesota and Washington, D.C., and we’re eager to see how this team rounds out this year.
Beantown is still idle and will play its first game of the spring on April 9 against DII Providence and plays its final league game against the Village Lions on April 23. It’s full tilt afterward, building toward a May 7 match against Northeast runner-up Boston for the trip to national playoffs. Boston has already hit the pitch, winning the Four Leaf 15s tournament convincingly (read more) in mid-March but doesn’t have a dense spring schedule leading to the Northeast final. Games against Albany and New York precede the May fixture.
Chicago North Shore is still idle and will continue to be when the next ranking is scheduled. That dormancy makes holding onto the #4 spot tough, especially as closely ranked teams pile on the competition during their off-seasons. Detroit, too, is still inactive, and the Minnesota Valkyries lost a 30-20 decision to Twin Cities, which had some of its Eagles/WPL on the pitch. These city rivals don’t meet in the regular season anymore, as the Amazons field WPL and DII teams, and the Valkyries are DI.
Raleigh is still plugging along with a dense slate of spring matches and defeated both the D.C. Furies’ WPL and DII teams since the last ranking. The Venom returns to league play against NOVA on Saturday. The Virginia side played a charity match against West Chester University and hosted its USA Rugby collegiate 7s qualifier (read more) the previous two weeks.
Pittsburgh finished second at Nash Bash, dropping a big decision to Life University (who beat everyone handily), a close one to Kansas City, and defeated Nashville. These matches have served as the defending MAC champion’s only buildup to the spring season, which restarts Saturday against Severn River. Fellow MAC mate Philadelphia advanced to the Four Leaf final against Boston, a solid accomplishment after only a week of training. Boston prevailed 34-0, but Philly gets points for the four other games it won on the day, leapfrogging over teams that have yet to play any matches.
DI CLUB RANKINGS – MARCH 30, 2016
New Rank (Old Rank) Team (League Record). Results
1 (1) Seattle (8-4). Defeated Cowichan 48-10 in BC Premier
2 (2) Beantown (7-0). Idle
3 (3) Boston (5-2). Won Four Leaf 15s 199-0
4 (4) Chicago North Shore (3-0). Idle
5 (5) Raleigh (4-0). Defeated DC Furies’ WPL 19-5, DII side 32-5
6 (6) Austin (5-0). Idle
7 (7) Pittsburgh (1-0). Finished 2nd at Nash Bash
8 (8) Black Ice (0-1). Lost 53-10 vs. Glendale
9 (9) NOVA (2-1). Idle
10 (11) Santa Monica (2-1). Defeated Las Vegas 87-0
11 (12) Minnesota Valkyries (2-1). Lost 30-20 to Twin Cities in friendly
12 (15) Philadelphia (1-1). Lost 34-0 to Boston in Four Leaf 15s final
13 (unr) Belmont Shore (2-1). Defeated Tempe 42-22
14 (13) Detroit (1-2). Idle
15 (14) Houston (3-0). Idle