Women’s DII Fall Championship Final set after wins by Notre Dame and Winona State

PALM COAST, FL--Notre Dame College will square off against Winona State Sunday Dec. 7 for the USA Rugby Women’s Division II College Fall Championship hosted by ACRA, after defeating Kutztown and Bowdoin, respectively.

Just 15 minutes into the match, Notre Dame dotted down five tries against Kutztown, including two from flanker Stephanie Kroneberger. The Golden Bears would get on the board midway through the half when number eight Faith Hughes broke though the Falcons defense for Kutztown’s first points.

Kutztown’s momentum would be short-lived as centers Danielle Walko-Siua and Hannah Gauthreaux added their second tries of the half for Notre Dame College.The Flacons would cruise to a 65-14 win.

Like Notre Dame College, Winona State raced out to an early lead in its Semifinal contest with back to back tries from outside center Lanoria Duhart. Bowdoin would strike back with two tries of its own from Addison Carvajal and Le’Shauna Phinazee to take a 12-10 advantage.

It didn’t take long for the Warriors to respond, as Duhart completed her hat trick just four minutes after Phinazee’s score to regain the lead, and Winona State would eventually go into intermission leading 22-15.

A converted try from prop Kathryn Zahn and a successful penalty kick by Georgia Porter increased Winona State’s lead to 32-15 eleven minutes into the second frame. Bowdoin earned a penalty try at the 65th minute, but didn’t have enough in the tank in the gas to put much of a scare into its opponent. A converted try just before the final whistle capped a solid performance by Winona State, and gave the DII powerhouse a 39-20 victory.

Sunday’s Fall Championship Final will be a classic match between one team who is familiar with the national stage versus a team getting its first sniff at championship rugby. Winona State were runners up at the USA Rugby DII National Championship in 2012 and 2013, while upstart varsity program Notre Dame College is in just its third year of existence.

Bowdoin and Kutztown will play in a consolation match starting at 10 a.m. ET, and the USA Rugby Women’s DII College Fall Championship will follow with a kickoff scheduled for 12 p.m. ET. Both Women’s DII contests will be aired live at USA Rugby TV.