Eckerd put 74 points between itself and GW / FB photo
Eckerd College and Coastal Carolina won their respective Round of 16 matches to advance deeper into the USA Rugby DII College Spring Championship playoffs. The teams will now contest the Southeast pool’s quarterfinal on Sunday, and the victor will advance to spring semifinal/final event on May 3-4 in Matthews, N.C.
Coastal Carolina emerged from a frustrating spring season, one that ended with a forfeit win for the Carolinas conference title. The Conway, S.C., program channelled that eagerness to play into an immediate try from flyhalf Kylee Hill to kick off Saturday’s Round of 16 match against William & Mary. The Williamsburg, Va., team which finished third in the Capital conference, regrouped during the middle of the half and responded with tries through wing Hillary Leersnyder and scrumhalf Emily Lawson. Outside center Kathryn Zechman’s conversion put the Tribe up 12-5 after 30 minutes.
CCU did well to regain momentum before the break, sending inside center Daisy Rickett in for the try, 12-10. The battle resumed in the second half and William & Mary restored the point differential as fullback Alyssa Willis scored in the 54th minute, 17-10. Coastal immediately rallied with two quick tries near the turn of the fourth quarter – outside center Autumn Roach and Rickett – and took its first lead of the game, 20-17, which turned out to be the only lead it’d need. The entire fourth quarter evolved without another point, and Coastal held on for the three-point win and spring quarterfinal berth.
Coastal Carolina will now face Eckerd College, which defeated Capital runner-up George Washington 84-10. Annie Mullin and Allie Mennella dotted down GW’s tries, but as the score emphasizes, it was all Eckerd. The Sirens’ all-time leading try-scorer, outside center Kat Scheerer, added six tries and seven conversions to her totals. Fullback Stephanie Franz and prop Victoria Grewe scored two tries apiece, while inside center Chloe Root, flanker Nicole Vandale and No. 8 Nikolah Kershisnik also dotted down.
A big win on day one typically means bodies are less battered for day two, so that will play in Eckerd’s favor. However, the confidence and adrenaline that results from a tough win are also important influences. The Sunday spring quarterfinal kicks off at 12 p.m. ET.