Women's College recaps: Gophers move on, Life sends Lindenwood home with loss

Minnesota clinched a spot in the upcoming Women's Division I Regionals as the Midwest champion with a win over the weekend, while a big clash between Division I Elite programs rivaled the Rugby World Cup 2015 Final for best match played Saturday, Oct. 31.

USA Rugby received match reports from a handful of the past weekend's matches across the country.

University of Minnesota 15-5 Iowa State University

DI

If winter is coming, it is being felt most in places like Minnesota, where Saturday's rugby day was cold and wet. Neither team was able to play with the fluid attack one would expect from the top teams out of the Midwest region, though four tries were scored.

The Gophers pounded their way to a win via the forwards, who Head Coach Rebecca Radtke pointed to as the team's "stars."

"We haven't had to play that way all season, but the forwards responded and carried the team to a win," she said.

Minnesota will travel to Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., for the Nov. 21-22 regional round of the 2015 USA Rugby Women's Division I College Fall Championships as the No. 1 seed out of the Midwest.

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire 17-10 University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

DII

Stevens Point led the Great Waters-North Conference with an unblemished record heading into the weekend, but suffered its first loss Saturday at the hands of Eau Claire, which moves to .500 on the season.

Eau Claire kicked off the scoring in the first half with a neat switch between fly half Holly Stenz and her outside center, and added one more try in keeping Stevens Point shut out in the first frame.

The Blugolds added an insurance try and received key contributions from flanker Janee Kutz, inside center Courtney McKasey, and scrum half Winter Nielson on both sides of the ball to shut down the Pointers, who could not capitalize on a 10-minute offensive inside Eau Claire's 22.

As it is Stevens Point's first loss of the season, the Pointers are still on track to finish atop the Great Waters-North Conference - necessary for remaining in contention for a spot in the DII Fall Championships Regionals.

Life University 25-14 Lindenwood University

DI

Read match preview >>

Both Life and Lindenwood took to the pitch in Marietta, Ga., Saturday with just one loss on the fall season - the Running Eagles were defeated by Quinnipiac and the Lions fell to reigning Division I National Champion Penn State. Though Lindenwood has had a busier schedule over the course of two months, Life was able to mesh its defensive and offensive game plans at home to put one over on future DI Elite competition.

The match was not the cleanest in the early goings, with several scrums being awarded for knock-ons and forward passes. Anchored by captain Nicole Strasko, the Life pack held the advantage in the set piece and was able to create turnover ball in advantageous territory.

Lindenwood broke the deadlock after 17 minutes, with the platform for the five-pointer provided by the forwards, but the momentum did not necessarily favor the visitors. Life responded with a lengthy possession on the try line and, after being held up once, was able to get over to level the match at 7-7.

Life would take the lead with a penalty goal in the 34th minute and threatened with a few more hard-charging runs, but the 10-7 score line remained intact at the half-time whistle.

It only took eight minutes for the Running Eagles to turn possession into points for a 15-7 lead, but the Lions turned around and scored five minutes later with sustained pressure along the try line. With its lead dwindled to a single point at 15-14, Life attempted a penalty goal, only to see the kick miss its target.

An odd series of events led to a misunderstanding in Lindenwood's in-goal area and a try for Strasko to extend the home side's lead to 20-14 with 15 minutes remaining. A final try by Life was enough for a two-score lead, but the Running Eagles sealed the win with their game management in the dying minutes.

The Lions returned to St. Charles, Mo., without the 'W' for which they were searching, but a final fall match against Iowa State is likely to end 2015 on a positive note. The Running Eagles will remain at home for the final two matches of the fall campaign, a Nov. 7 matchup against last year's DII National Champion, Notre Dame College, and a select side.