PRESS RELEASE – National Collegiate Rugby (NCR) has announced the final teams for both its Division I and Small College national playoffs.
The national playoffs feature 16 Division I teams including 10 conference champions and six at-large bids.
● In the West Region, University of North Dakota will make its first-ever playoff appearance against undefeated University of Northern Iowa. Both University of Wisconsin Eau Claire and Bowling Green University qualify as the #2 seeds from their conferences.
● The Midwest Region includes two teams with perfect records – Grand Valley State University and Marquette University. Purdue enters as the Illinois Conference winner, while Iowa State is looking to prove themselves as an at-large bid.
● Notre Dame College enters the Northeast Region as the highest ranked team following comfortable wins over the University of Cincinnati and Kent State, who also qualified for the Northeast regionals. In its first season in Division I, Colgate University qualified as the Upstate New York champions, and undefeated Roger Williams University rounds out the region.
● In the South Region, Life University is the favorite after a strong fall campaign
against some of the nation’s best teams. Despite its recent loss to Notre Dame
College, the University of Cincinnati comes ready to play SARC champions, Clemson University. Syracuse University joins the regional tournament after its second place finish in the Upstate New York Conference.
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The Small College national tournament includes 11 teams across four regions. While the Small College Nationals typically include 16 playoff teams, many teams were faced with budget and scheduling challenges following the missed season in 2020-21.
● The Northeast Region includes two teams from the Upstate New York Conference: conference champion SUNY Cortland and University of Rochester. Middlebury will represent Rugby Northeast as Bentley was unable to attend the tournament. Endicott College also looks to return to nationals in this strong region.
● In the South Region, Salve Regina takes on late-comer Loyola University (Md.) from EPRU. Lee University has a first-round bye.
● The Midwest Region will go straight to the regional championship match, with
Minnesota State University-Moorhead playing Northern Michigan University.
● As the Small College favorite, Wayne State is the lone team advancing from
the West Region.
The full match schedule appears on the NCR website.
The national tournament gets started on November 13-14 across four regional host locations, including Iowa Falls, Iowa; Elkhart, Indiana; Syracuse, New York; and Danville, Virginia. The regional weekend includes semifinal matches, followed by regional championship matches.
Regional Champions qualify for the Collegiate Rugby Championship to be held on December 4-5 at the Tennessee Rugby Park in Knoxville, Tenn.
Angelo Smarto, NCR Women’s Director, remarked, “I am so excited for some new and old
matchups coming to us this year. Division I truly is something new so we’ll be seeing a lot of teams test themselves in new environments. Even though some small college teams had difficulty advancing to playoffs after strong regular seasons, the competition will be exciting nonetheless.”