Austin impressed in its win vs. Glendale. /// Photo: Norma Salinas Photography. See more photos.
The DI club post-season is also coming into view, as regions like the Mid-Atlantic, Southern California and Red River finish up their league seasons. The Midwest starts the second half of its season Saturday, while the Northeast finalists search for spring competition near and far from home base. Here’s a snapshot into each league’s status and games to watch this weekend:
The Frontier’s Black Ice is heading to D.C. Ruggerfest, where the team will be joined by Beantown, New York, D.C. Furies and Raleigh in the elite bracket. The Colorado squad has already traveled to Utah to play the Vipers (29-24 loss) and will round out April in Twin Cities, Minn.
Reigning national champion Seattle (10-4) travels to BC Premier leader Westshore for what should be a great test before playoffs. The Saracens are in third place in the Premier league and guaranteed a final four spot on April 23 regardless of Saturday’s outcome.
There are two more weeks of play but the semifinals are known: Pittsburgh vs. NOVA, Raleigh vs. Philadelphia. Pittsburgh beat Philly 28-7 last weekend and welcomed the addition of wing Desiree Markovich, a Minnesota fixture who scored two tries. The duo goes at it again Saturday to end league play. NOVA and Norfolk are also playing their final two league games against each other. NOVA won Saturday’s game 58-0 and welcomed try-scorer Lauren Hoeck back to the pitch. Wings Stephanie Barros and Christina Metzmaier scored a brace of tries each as well.
The MAC championship will be held May 7-8 in Wilmington, Del.
The second half of the season starts Saturday: Chicago North Shore (3-0) vs. Detroit (1-2), Minnesota Valkyries (2-1) vs. Chicago (0-3). The teams have played a couple of friendlies so far: Detroit played a round robin against Cincinnati and DII college Davenport (24-15 loss), while the Valkyries lost 62-37 to DII Wisconsin. The Midwest seed to nationals will be determined on league standings, and while there’s still room for movement, North Shore is the favorite to represent the region.
Beantown and Boston are still building toward their May 7 showdown, which affords the Northeast berth to national playoffs. Beantown began the spring with a 21-15 win over DII Providence and heads to D.C. Ruggerfest for some elite East Coast competition. Beantown’s first tournament game is against MAC front-runner Raleigh and should be interesting. Boston has been pretty quiet since winning the Four Leaf 15s and is staying put this weekend to host Portland, which is heading DII league playoffs.
The long-awaited Austin vs. HARC match occurs Saturday. The teams are both undefeated and lead their respective pools. The Valkyries put in an excellent performance last weekend when they hosted and beat the Glendale Raptors 36-22. The Colorado squad brought a mixed team that included Eagles Joanna Kitlinski and Laura Miller, and other WPL players like Chinyere Isaac-Heslop and Denali Graham.
The top four teams will participate in the May 7-8 conference final four, and Saturday’s game could be a preview of the final. Remember that the winner will head to the DI national playoffs and the runner-up will move onto the DII national quarterfinals.
Belmont Shore (4-1) posted a second win over reigning league champ Santa Monica (3-2) last weekend for first place in the standings. However, the Dolphins trail by only one standings point, as the team banked two bonus points in each of their losses. Tempe (2-2) could throw a wrench into things as well, as the Arizona squad finishes out against Las Vegas and Belmont Shore.
SoCal will determine its seed to nationals with a #1 vs. #2 final game on May 7. The higher seed will host.