UCLA is looking for a spring Round of 8 berth against Washington State tonight. /// Photo: Jackie Finlan
This weekend has it all: Post-season deciders, rivalry games, crossovers and high-level friendlies. Here’s a sampling of what’s at stake starting tonight:
Today, Friday, will decide the fourth West Coast team to compete in next weekend’s DI spring Round of 8. UCLA, after initially dropping out of the competition because of a date conflict, has rejoined with for the rescheduled match against Washington State. The Bruins are heading up to Pullman, Wash., for a 5:30 p.m. match, and the winner will report to UC Davis to face the host in the spring quarterfinals.
The east portion of the spring Round of 8 will also be solidified this weekend. The Mason Dixon will receive three berths to the spring quarterfinals and those seeds will be determined through the conference championships. It was supposed to be a final four, but a play-in match between Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech will precede the semifinals Saturday, and the winner will play UVA, also on Saturday. James Madison and North Carolina face off in the other semifinal. Placing matches occur Sunday.
There’s also a strange set-up in the DII Gold Coast. The conference was supposed to hold a final four, but instead the teams agreed to just one game each. UC Irvine and USC, numbers two and three respectively in the standings, played last weekend, and USC won 60-31 for a berth to DII spring Round of 16. Undefeated UC Riverside faces Long Beach State on Sunday in the second semifinal. According to Highlanders coach Ivan Pacewiczh, the teams agreed that if UC Riverside won its semifinal, then it would take the top seed out of the conference and the final would not be played. (Update: Long Beach forfeited game vs. UCR)
The DII South Independent Rugby Conference is hosting its final four this weekend, as teams from each of the three pools face off in Atlanta. UGA plays UT-Chattanooga, and Tulane takes on Kennesaw State, with finals Sunday. The Atlanta Old White pitch will also serve as one of the spring Round of 16 sites.
Originally, the Carolinas were to name its champion in a South Carolina vs. UNC Charlotte match, but instead the Gamecocks get the automatic berth and the Mean Green will face College of Charleston for a potential berth to the spring Round of 16. The DII seeds and berths per conference have not been publicized.
The clubs aren’t into post-season yet, but there’s plenty to watch as season’s end nears. In DI, the Mid-Atlantic kicks off the second half of its season with a Raleigh vs. NOVA rematch. Another important rematch is Santa Monica vs. Tempe in SoCal as the second round of league games starts. Also eager to see three crossover games in the Red River, like Austin vs. Dallas.
In DII, there are seven leagues in motion this weekend. Choice games to watch include Tucson vs. San Fernando Valley in SoCal and the Fort Miami vs. Orlando rematch, but every region except the Northeast and Midwest has something worth following.
There are a ton of high school games to follow as well, and here are a few that top the list:
NorCal power Danville will play United in Utah tonight and then follow with a match against Herriman on Saturday. United and Herriman are the favorites for the Utah state championship, and the games against the currently number one-ranked Lady Oaks will lend good perspective into the relative strength of the Utah competition.
There is a trio of rivalry matches occurring, starting with tonight’s game between Oregon state finalists Grant and Lady Barbarians. The pair compete in the new club division, while single-schools compete in the new varsity division. In SoCal, the eagerly awaited Fallbrook vs. South Bay game goes down. Both are heading to club nationals in May and present each other with the best local competition. Pennsylvania is one of several leagues that opens up this weekend, and it starts with the a rivalry in Doylestown vs. Downingtown.
Stay tuned for loads of coverage.