Winona State, Davenport to play for Women’s DII Fall Championship

The Women's DII Fall College Finals are being played at Furman University with matches being aired LIVE on USA Rugby TV. Read more on today's semi-final matchups:

Women's DII Final Four: Davenport v. Bloomsburg

In a great matchup between two very talented teams, Davenport made a stunning comeback thanks to a fantastic performance from their powerful pack and outside center Danielle Ordway.

After some early physicality from both sides, Bloomsburg struck first with a 4th minute blistering try by inside center Nicole Snyder. Snyder showed great pace and a strong fend to run around the Davenport defense and the try was successfully converted by number 10 Kelly Mason.

Bloomsburg dominated possession early, but Davenport's physicality gave them problems on the gainline, and this was a theme that continued throughout the match. Davenport were able to find some gaps in the Bloomsburg defense, and outside center Danielle Ordway found herself on the end of a massive overload, dotting down for a simple try.

Davenport struggled in the first half, with simple errors costing them. With the Panthers struggling to keep any sort of possession, Nicole Snyder broke through the defense, busting through tackles and stepping her way to a second score. Her power and pace was proving to be a major issue for the Panthers, as she continued to be a thorn in their side. Kelly Mason was unable to convert on this occasion, and the score stood at 12- 5.

Davenport struggled to bring their pack into the game with Bloomsburg winning turnovers at the breakdown, allowing them to control possession throughout the first half. Nicole Snyder scored a third try, running a great support line and taking a beautiful offload. This meant she had recorded a hat trick within 20 minutes. Kelly Mason had no problems with the conversion, and the score was 19-5.

When Davenport were able to control possession they got great carries from their forwards, particularly No.8 Hunter Moreland, but they were unable to turn these carries into points as the cold weather seemed to affect handling.

Great running from the Bloomsburg No.1 saw her side deep inside DU territory, and No.8 Emily Eshelman was able to get over for a very good try. Kelly Mason put the conversion over the bar to put her side ahead 26-5.

DU used good skills to keep their forwards involved in attack, and this enabled them to drive deep into the Bloomsburg half. However, they were not allowed to score, with No.8 Moreland held up under the posts to end the half.

The second half began and Bloomsbury picked up where they left off, playing with great width, and their defense in the wide channels was solid as ever. Davenport continued to have their way in the scrum, but discipline again let down the Panthers.

Davenport made great ground with an excellent set-piece move, but some never say die chasing prevented a sure try. The scrum went to Davenport who dominated the smaller Bloomsburg pack and eventually found themselves over the try line with a strong carry from no. 8 Hunter Moreland. The conversion fell just short in a tough wind.

Davenport continued to give away penalties in their own half, but after a good shove Hunter Moreland broke through the defense and gave a great pass to Danielle Ordway who crossed for a simple try.

This marked a huge momentum shift, and Davenport attacked with renewed vigor. Both sides exchanged bug hits and Danielle Ordway recorded hat trick of her own in the in the 58th minute to bring the scoreline within 5. With her was inside center Hannah Tennant, who also recorded 4 tries.

A phenomenal offload from Davenport's Jori Smith saw Ordway over for her fourth try of the match. The conversion was good, putting Davenport ahead 31-26 with 20 minutes to go.

DU held off some big pressure from Bloomsburg, and won a crucial turnover before finding touch just outside their won 22.

Bloomsburg seemed to have lost their clinical edge, and Davenport dominated both possession and territory, and finally in the 70th minute Caren Brown punished Bloomsburg, punching over the line for a crucial try. Ordway wasn't able to convert the try, and the score remained 36-26.

Davenport were able to negate Nicole Snyder's impact in the second half, and Bloomsburg really struggled to control the gainline. This allowed Davenport win turnovers with ease, and another good play saw Danielle Ordway over the line again with a little over a minute to play.

The final score was 43-26 with the Davenport pack proving to be the difference. Their mobility and skills will prove a major asset in the final, as their offloading and support lines saw them run the Bloomsbury defense ragged. They will play in the final tomorrow at 11am against Winona State or Vassar. Bloomsbury will play in the consolation tomorrow at 9 am.

Women's DII Final Four: Winona State v. Vassar

Winona kicked off to start the match, and wasted no time regaining possession. They attacked down the left wing and got inside the Vassar 5-meter mark, but lost the ball and Vassar were able to clear their lines. Vassar clearly looked to play with pace, but lacked structure to their game early.

A barnstorming carry from their tighthead prop saw Winona back inside the Vassar 22 as she ran through three tackles before being dragged down at the last minute. A knock on gave Vassar a chance to escape their 22 as Winona simply failed to turn territory and possession into points.

Winona played all the rugby for the first 10 minutes, as they looked to move the ball into space, and after a Vassar penalty at the scrum, their blindside flanker Lindsey Bucki crashed over for a simple try, which was converted to put Winona ahead 7-0.

Vassar fought inside the Winona 22, but a good turnover allowed Winona to clear their lines with a good clearance kick. Another turnover saw Kourtney Kavjecz burst down the right hand touchline for a great try, and the score was 14-0.

After some penalties, Vassar's number 12 Cierra Thomas found some space, but the ball was turned over, and again Winona kicked clear. Penalties continued to blight Winona, and with 18 minutes gone Darianne Jones crashed over the line. The conversion fell just short and Winona remained ahead 14-5.

Continued infringements from Winona saw them receive a talking from the ref, but Vassar could not take advantage thanks to some huge defense close to their own line. Winona were pinned in their own half, but Vassar could not win the gainline or the breakdown. After sustained possession and penalties Winona lost a player to a yellow card and, Vassar were again able to force their way over with Mariah Ghant the scorer.

Winona's mobile pack gave Vassar trouble in defense, and with three minutes to play in the half Lindsey Bucki crashed over for her second try, and the conversion was good to put Winona ahead 21-12, and that was the score when the ref blew for halftime.

Winona came flying out of the gates, with their outside center Lachen Esters crashing before three good offloads put Cassandra Schultz through for a score. The touchline conversion was perfect, putting Winona ahead 28-12.

Winona seemed to have made some good adjustments at the half, playing with more width and using fantastic set piece plays to open the Vassar side. Vassar's scramble defense kept them in the game, but their lack of width in attack and defense continued to be an issue.

Winona moved the ball effectively, and in the 53rd minute the pressure told, with Bailee Jerger breaking off a maul and running 40 meters to score. This made the scoreline 33-12 after the conversion hit the crossbar and bounced out. This was short lived however, as inside center Cierra Thomas broke away a minute later for Vassar, to make the score 33-19. It was a fitting reward for Thomas, who had looked dangerous with ball in hand all day.

This seemed to inspire Vassar, and moments later a big carry from their No.8 gave them a scrum inside the Winona 22. A botched clearance gave Vassar an offsides penalty inches from the Winona line, but they were held up. After continued phases of attack failed to yield any progress, Vassar kicked to the corner and set a maul, however they could not use the ball and ref awarded a scrum to Winona. After a Winona penalty, Darian Jones took the quick tap and dove over for a try. The conversion was good, and with 15 minutes to go, the score was Winona State 33, Vassar 26.

Vassar found themselves deep in their territory once again, and after they knocked on, Winona put the ball through their hands and Emily Krahn scored. They failed to convert, keeping the score at 38-26. Moments later a break from the scrumhalf got Winona on the front foot, and they didn't look back, with Lacher Esters stepping inside to score under the posts. With 10 minutes to go, the score stood at 44-26.

Neither team was able to build from there, and the final score was 44-26. Winona will face Davenport in the final and Vassar will play Bloomsburg in the consolation match. Winona's better organization in attack and defense proved key, and they were able to move the ball wide at will. They have the look of a team ready to win a title, and if they can overcome a dominant Davenport pack they will have a very good chance of doing just that.