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Pacific Mountain Confirms DI Playoff Match-ups

  • 11 Mar 2024
Western Washington rugby

The Division I Pacific Mountain Rugby Conference (PMRC) has confirmed its playoff matches, which will take place on Saturday, April 6 at Western Washington University in Bellingham. The conference receives three seeds to the College Rugby Association of America (CRAA) regional playoffs, which occur Friday, April 19 and Sunday, April 21 in Phoenix. Two victors will emerge from regionals and advance to the CRAA DI Spring 15s Championship on May 4 in Houston, Texas.

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The conference includes two separate competitions: “North,” which is the four-team league in Pacific Northwest; and “West,” which is a five-team league in Northern California. Both pools play home-and-away schedules and then use standings to send their top-two teams to the post-season. The league as a whole played its final regular-season matches last weekend.

The conference has often experimented with its playoff set-up and 2024 continues that trend. Instead of teams playing double-header weekends and potentially a same-pool team for a third time this spring, this year’s PMRC playoffs is a one-day affair for seeds into regionals. The No. 1 teams in the West and North will play each other for the first and second seeds to regionals, and the No. 2 teams will play for the third seed to Phoenix.

The PMRC West was straight-forward in that Stanford (8-0) and Cal (6-2) were the clear leaders. The two played their toughest games against each other, and beat the rest of the field convincingly. Stanford played its final regular-season match on Feb. 24 (Chico State forfeited its Stanford/Cal doubleheader last weekend) and beat Cal 20-7. Princeton University is touring to the West Coast and will play the Cardinal on March 15. The Bears played its final game on March 2 (47-0 win vs. Fresno State) and have a month before the trip to Washington.

The PMRC North was less predictable than its West counterpart, but in the best possible way. No one exited the regular season with a perfect record, but Western Washington was closest at 4-0-2. The 25-7 bonus-point win against Oregon State last Saturday secured the North No. 1 seed to playoffs.

The Vikings’ regular-season tie occurred against the Univ. Washington, and the Huskies’ post-season fate rested on last Saturday’s game against Univ. Oregon. Whoever won would move onto the PMRC playoffs, and the Ducks triumphed 27-14. Oregon advances with the North #2 seed and will face Cal on April 6. Stay tuned for team interviews.


Stanford Univ. (West #1) vs. Western Washington (North #1)

Cal Berkeley (West #2) vs. Univ. Oregon (North #2)

So Stanford and Western Washington are guaranteed berths to CRAA regionals, while it’s win-or-go-home for Cal and Oregon. These games won’t occur for another month, which has its pros and cons in terms of rest and recuperation, but impacts the sharpness of play. We might see a smattering of friendlies or intra-squad friendlies, but all the teams are dealing with this awkward spring break block.


It’s worth noting that CRAA regionals are also taking a different shape this year. All eight teams — PMRC (3), Pacific Desert (3), Blue Ridge (1), Florida (1) — will meet in Phoenix, Ariz., for regionals, and there is a rest day built in on Saturday, April 20. Typically, there are western and eastern regionals held in two separate locations, and they produce the spring finalists, but there have been some hiccups in that East pathway the last two years. Additionally, some teams have moved from CRAA to NCR, and that has deepened the concentration of teams in the West.

Whatever the reasons for the regionals shift, it will be exciting to see these East vs. West matches earlier in the playoffs. Univ. Central Florida has clinched the DI Florida berth, and it was quite the battle this spring. The Blue Ridge has matrix games through March 30, so it’s too early to call. Virginia, however, is undefeated so far.

Then the CRAA championship finale is the weekend of May 4-5 in Houston, Texas. CRAA has not released the full lineup up games, but there will be a range of seasonal and national games being contested. Stay tuned.

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  • I’m sure there could be a reshuffling between divisions in Northern California next season. Is Fresno State and Chico State going to D2? Is Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and San Jose State promoted to D1, and would they want to go up? Another note: overall, attendance at the California State Universities is down. It’s going to take a lot of on-campus recruiting to get numbers back to where they were five or six seasons ago. I’d say the same of some of the Catholic schools, of which one is combined with the nearby state school (USF/San Francisco State).
    LD Freitas
    Northern California Rugby Referee Society

    lfreitas March 11, 2024 1:55 pm

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