Lindenwood, Chico State, Tulane Women – Mary Washington Men secure 2018 Championships

2017-18 Collegiate rugby season comes to an end with new champions in Women's D1-Elite, D1 and D2, along with Men's D1AA.

Women's D1-Elite National Championship

Life v Lindenwood

The scripts leading these two teams to the pitch at Cal State - Fullerton were of a different storyline. Life narrowly defeated two-time defending champion Penn State by a late penalty kick, while the Lindenwood Lions raced past BYU with a 35-7 victory.

Neither team cared, this was the match that mattered. Lindenwood would strike first as Hooker Destiny Arena dotted down and Life elected to kick for poles to notch an early score of 10-3. The physicality was clearly on display between the two top teams, eager to bring home a championship.

Lindenwood did well to carry possession through the middle portion of the match, keeping Life out of the end zone through the 65' when Fullback Kaitlyn Broughton ripped the ball from Lindenwood and brought it back herself to complete the impressive play. Teresa Bueso Gomez and Alia Ah Far both added tries of their own for the Lions, creating a comfortable lead and space to watch the clock. Both teams would substitute through the final minutes until referee Amelia Luciano blew the final whistle of the 2018 USA Rugby College National Championships. Lindenwood wins, 36-9. After the match, Women's Eagles Sevens Head Coach, Richie Walker, presented the MVP award to inside center, Veteronnica Tafito.

Head Coach Billy Nicholas reflected after his team's championship victory...

Men's D1AA National Championship

Mary Washington v Dartmouth

The final match of the Men's D1AA season has some length to it, with Mary Washington qualifying for their spot back in December during the Fall College Championships in South Carolina. Opponent Dartmouth played their season this spring and earned a chance for the title after a 60-20 victory over Nevada two week ago.

Both teams however took the pitch in Southern California with fresh legs and Dartmouth held the early advantage putting a pair of tries and penalty kicks on the Eagles before the mid-half water break. Kicker Patrick Sheehy was 3 for 3 on PKs and conversions in that stretch. Mary Washington #5 Philip Harrison was handed a yellow card in the 27' allowing Sheehy to pick up another three points between the posts. Dartmouth enters halftime with a 16-7 lead.

Playing well out of set pieces but struggling in the open space early, the Mary Washington offense began to click in the second half. Jordan Sacks came out to complete a hat trick 10 minutes in, and Harry Masters added his first of two tries. Sacks would however collect a yellow card in the 63' and Dartmouth saw their opening with the man advantage.

Big Green's Mason Koch used his big frame to dive over the line, followed up by a gazelle like try from Oliver Engelhart, suddenly the Mary Washington lead had shrunk to 10 points. The Eagles buckled down and ran the clock however, giving them the 38-30 win and 2018 Men's D1AA National title.

Head Coach Min Sae Chae breaks down the championship win...

Women's D1 Spring Championship

Chico State v Central Florida

The Chico State Wildcats wasted no time in setting the pace for the Women's D1 Spring Championship at Titan Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Stefani Bergerhouse worked with some brilliant offloading and barreled in for the first try. It wouldn't be her last, as she finished the match with an astounding five scores.

Chico State put the pressure on early and never looked back. Launching out to a 35-0 lead in just the first half, Captain Darby McFall tallied two tries along with a score from inside center Hannah Westfall in the 21st minute.

Cortney Kuehl made sure to keep spirts high before the halftime whistle with a try off the penalty. She would convert her own points and lead her team into the break down 35-7.

The second half saw a more balanced competition with both squads trading scores. UCF was able to stage and attack with tries from Donneisha Smith and Laurell Cuza, but it wouldn't be enough as Chico State held out for a 2018 title. Wildcats win it, 54-26.

Women's D2 Spring Championship

Claremont v Tulane

It was a tale of two half's this afternoon in Fullerton as the Tulane Green Wave took on the Foxes of Claremont Colleges in the Women's D2 Spring Championship. Claremont, having beat Salisbury University 44-27 during the opening match yesterday, fired off to a quick start with two consecutive tries from Autumn Herness and day-one star, Alexandra Parker.

Parker's try would come off some great passing from line to line, finding a gap under the posts, she dots down for a 14-0 lead. From there, the match shifted fully into Tulane's favor. Number 8 Madeline Brenner, coming out of a hat trick performance in yesterday's victory, powered through from short yardage to give the Green Wave their first points. Brenner wasn't done as she found the pay dirt for another five points only minutes later.

Claremont found some momentum in the 65' when inside center, Rohen Turner, picked up a yellow card and gave the Foxes a player advantage. Tulane kept possession however after robbing a lineout and feeding Lily Wissinger for a break away try. Green Wave pull ahead with a 19-14 lead.

Committing a high-tackle, Clare Sullivan was sidelined for 10 minutes, offering another advantage to Claremont, but Tulane prop Alexandra Clarke proved too hard to stop and gave her team the short-handed score. The remaining 13 minutes would tick away and Tulane claimed championship victory.

Having lost in the final in 2017, Head Coach Jessica Mallindine was ecstatic to see her squad win the last game of the season...