National Collegiate Rugby (NCR) has released its championship 15s brackets for the women’s Division I, Division II and Small College competitions. Forty teams have qualified for regional playoffs, which occur this Friday-Sunday, Nov. 10-12 in four locations. The teams that go 2-0 at regionals will advance to the national championships on Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 2-3 in Houston, Texas. [All images are NCR graphics]
TRB tracked the run-up to this final regular-season weekend, so the DIVISION I bracket release didn’t include any surprises. There was one looming question that revolved around the at-large seed, which had several contenders. South Atlantic runner-up Virginia Tech, however, had the strongest portfolio and was also willing to travel to St. Louis. There will be a quality Lone Star Bowl game in Houston, featuring returner Boise State Allegheny’s Kent State.
DIVISION II was waiting on several conference championships this past weekend (read more), and the 16-team bracket was further filled out with four at-large teams. Of note, Tri-State has three teams (Columbia, Vassar, Fairfield) in the Round of 16 and they’re in all but the St. Louis quadrant. The pick of the first round? Columbia vs. Coast Guard.
Additional at-larges went to Great Lakes runner-up Bowling Green State Univ. and New England Wide runner-up Univ. New Hampshire.
Remember that DII started at the quarterfinal stage last year, but the post-season has expanded with the addition of several conferences and stand-alone teams this fall. There’s new energy and intrigue in this regional championship.
SMALL COLLEGE was in the same place as Division II, in that it needed this past weekend to name the final conference champions. Great Waters, Rugby Northeast, Tri-State and Upstate New York conferences all have two representatives in the Round of 16. And East Stroudsburg has stepped in for York College, which won the EPRU. Ohio Valley not represented this year.
Round of 16 is Saturday, Nov. 11 and quarterfinals are Sunday, Nov. 12.
Three of last year’s national semifinalists are back, but the Western Regional in St. Louis will produce a new team for 2023. Stay tuned for more detailed previews this week.