The National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) contested its regional playoffs last weekend, and the field vying for the national 15s championship has narrowed down to four. The semifinalists will meet at Life University (Marietta, Ga.) on Dec. 7-8 for the final stage.
Reigning national champion Wayne State College hosted the West pool and also received a bye through the Round of 16 after several conferences declined post-season berths. Meanwhile, College of St. Scholastica (Minn.) beat Great Waters champion UW Platteville 55-44 on Saturday, and got great leadership out of captains Olivia Hull and Elizabeth Becker. The Northern Lights team, now in its fourth year as a program, couldn’t overcome a fresh Wildcats squad, and on day two, Wayne State College banked a 125-22 quarterfinal win for a trip to the December final four. Brook Hoesing was named MVP and Anna Fleecs the Heart and Soul award recipient for Wayne State College, while Mya Alberg was the Heart-and-Soul for St. Scholastica.
Wayne State College
Wayne State College will play Central regional champion MSU Moorhead, also from Northern Lights, in the national semifinals. Moorhead did not allow a point-against last weekend, defeating Ohio Valley champion Denison University 104-0 and then following with a 82-0 win against Ithaca College in Sunday’s quarterfinal. Ithaca, the Upstate New York runner-up, advanced to the quarterfinals after a 34-0 win over Gannon on Saturday. The Allegheny champ then rallied with a 29-24 win over Denison in the consolation match.
The Northeast also produced big scores during the Round of 16, as Endicott College, the Colonial Coast champion, shut out Tri-State rep Fordham University 85-0, and Upstate New York leader Colgate University beat Rugby Northeast’s Bentley University 57-7. On day two, the Gulls booked their spot in the national semifinals with a 27-12 win over Colgate, and got a leading performance out of MVP Amanda Wisbeck. Bentley also got some redemption with a 62-22 consolation win against Fordham.
Endicott will play the Mid-Atlantic champion, and that regional playoff site was the most competitive of the four. Day one was marked by a one-point decision, as Catholic University of America beat Albright College 26-25. Lee University of Tennessee then bettered MARC’s York College 35-10 for a berth to the quarterfinals. On Sunday, Bailey Grubb (2), Sabrina Childress and Sarah Crump scored tries in Lee’s 24-5 win over Catholic. Grubb, who also added the conversions, was named MVP while Sabrina Childress took home Heart and Soul Award honors. York took home a consolation win, 22-8, against fellow Pennsylvanians Albright.
The four semifinalists – Wayne State College, MSU Moorhead, Endicott College and Lee University – will have nearly a month to recuperate and ready for the final four in Georgia. Stay tuned for bigger features on all four title contenders.