Regional matchups set for Women's DI, DII Fall Championships

The play-in rounds of the 2015 USA Rugby Women's Division I and Division II College Fall Championships were hosted around the country over the weekend, highlighting a seminal few days of women's rugby in the United States.

Twenty-four teams will now head to one of three locations - Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., Founders Field in Pittsburgh, or Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. - for the Round of 16 and Quarterfinals the weekend of Nov. 21-22. Following the upcoming weekend's action, Semifinalists in both divisions will travel to Greenville, S.C., for the Dec. 5-6 Fall Championships at Furman University.

DI

Michigan traveled to Kent, Ohio, for a Sunday-night matchup against Kent State at Dix Stadium. After days of scheduling and preparing for the match, the visiting Wolverines ultimately fell, 24-14.

Michigan held a 14-0 lead after 40 minutes with what Kent State Director of Rugby Jeff Horton characterized as "extremely physical" play in the opening frame. Golden Flashes captain Sarah Giachetti got the comeback started with a try, followed by a five-pointer from lock Nicole Engwell to bring the score to 14-12.

Prop Stephanie Taccola gave Michigan fits in the set pieces and open play, using her powerful running to put Kent State ahead, 17-14, before No. 8 Shannon Hustoky's breakaway try on the last play of the game brought forth the final score.

View the full Women's Division I Fall Championship bracket

Kent State will represent the Mid-American Conference in Pittsburgh against Connecticut, while Princeton's defeat of Boston College over the weekend sets up the Ivy side and Notre Dame in the other East Regional Round of Eight matchup.

Iowa State defeated Northern Illinois to advance to the West Regional against Texas in Colorado Springs, where Air Force will defend home-field advantage against Minnesota.

DII

Davenport fell out of the 2014 Women's DII Fall Championship conversation at the Regional Semifinal stage to eventual Fall and National Champion Notre Dame College. With support from the institution and several All-Americans in tow, the Panthers redeemed themselves with a 26-12 defeat of the Falcons in October and advance to the Mid-West Regional Round of 16 in Pittsburgh thanks to a 132-3 pounding of Slippery Rock over the weekend.

Cincinnati beat University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and will face Indiana University of Pennsylvania after the Scooters squeaked out a nail-biting, 25-19, win against Ferris State.

Eastern Kentucky and Illinois State contested a physical match for the right to face Davenport at Founders Field, and the Colonels responded to the challenge with a 22-0 first-half lead and 63-5 win.

View the full Women's Division II Fall Championship bracket

Vassar College Farm will be a hotbed of rugby this weekend, as eight teams booked tickets to Poughkeepsie with play-in wins. Ithaca held off Albany in a 24-19 victory to play St. Michael's in the Round of 16, while Bloomsburg and Rutgers will meet in the other side of the Mid-Atlantic Regional.

Vassar will maintain its own home-field advantage this weekend after beating Delaware at home. Despite the 50-12 score line, Brewers Head Coach Tony Brown praised the visitors to Vassar College Farm.

"[Delaware] stole ball at the breakdown and ran hard when they did have possession, and it was a hard-fought game," Brown said. "The Blue Hens tackled and never gave up, finishing the game inside the Vassar 22 and, along the way, scored a try in each half."

Tufts refused to quit in its match against Coast Guard, scoring a try in the 77th minute despite the armed forces side's 58 points on the scoreboard. Maine did not receive a reward for its play against Bowdoin College, however, while Kutztown defeated Geneseo by two scores.

The Vassar-Coast Guard and Bowdoin-Kutztown matchups at Vassar College Farm will decide the Northeast Regional Round of Eight for play Sunday, Nov. 22.

Montana State and Colorado Mesa awaited the weekend's results for their Rockies Regional Round of 16 matchups. Winona State had no trouble in dealing with Illinois-Chicago to the tune of a 114-5 score, and will play the Mavericks of Colorado Mesa Saturday in Colorado Springs.

Mankato State coach Tyler Ranslow gave his feedback from his side's match against Wisconsin-Stevens Point:

"Overall I would say that it was Mankato's best entire team game," he said. "We started slow due to handling errors, which forced us to scrum, where the combinations we started with didn't mesh well together. Once we started to play in open play more, that's when the scoring and separation happened. We were able to dominate the breakdown along with some timely offloading [that] allowed us to put our dynamic players in space."

Fly half Kate Campbell proved instrumental in the win with a pair of touch-line conversions along with multiple tries. Mankato also played the final 15 minutes of the match with 14 players due to injuries, giving up two tries to the Pointers to bring the final score to 53-19.