Salisbury and Fresno State advance at Spring College Championship Day One

Women's D2 Spring Final set after first two matches in 2019 tournament.

A total of eight teams descend on Charlotte North Carolina this weekend for the 2019 USA Rugby Spring College Championships at the Mecklenburg Country Sportsplex, with two match ups to open the tournament on day one. The Women’s D2 bracket would own opening day as Eckard Scions paired up with Salisbury Seagulls in game one and Tulane Green Wave vs Fresno State Bulldogs in game two. When the day came to close, Salisbury and Fresno State will move on to the championship match tomorrow afternoon at 4pm ET live on FloRugby.

Salisbury, having just missed the Championship match in 2018, got things going early with a kick off to Eckerd, Scion reeled in the high ball but the Seagulls earned it right back. Much of the first 10 minutes would remain deep in the Scion end as Salisbury wouldn’t let up. Offense looked to score the first try in the left corner, but Eckard was able to keep it held up. Despite a few clearing kicks to touch and some impressive goal line defense, Salisbury kept the ball in their opponents end with consistency and eventually found points from Kirby Given at the 13-minute mark.

After the restart, Eckard was able to clear from their defending try line and get their feet on solid ground. With space they pieced together a number of breakaways, but Salisbury held on to the possession game and collected much needed turnovers. Tally on two more tries from Maggie Moore and Haley Sheldon, Seagulls go into halftime with a 17-0 lead.

Halftime was a good refresher for Eckard as they came out of the break running. Two quick tries from Anastasia Babicki and Katherine Scheerer brought Scion right back into the game. Missing corner conversion attempts, the lead was cut to 7 points with 20 minutes left.

Each team would trade turnovers and tries through the end of the match. Given added another crucial try for Salisbury that would keep the score just out of reach when Scheerer and Hannah Friedman notched two rally tries in the last two minutes. Too little too late as the whistle blew, 29-20 in favor of Salisbury.


SALISBURY VS ECKARD STAT SHEET 


Who the Seagulls play in the Championship tomorrow was on deck with the Tulane Green Wave and Fresno State Bulldogs clashing in game two. Tulane returning to the tournament as reigning champions in 2018 brought with it a target from the high-flying Fresno State. Each team traded tries in the first 10 minutes of a fast-paced game. Meaghan Gallagher put the Bulldogs on the board first while Caroline LaGow followed suit for Tulane. Gallagher wasn’t even close to done as she carried two more tries over the line and collected a hat-trick in only the first 20 minutes of the game.

Proving to be well-matched teams, Emily Monaco kept the Green Wave in arms reach with a try before halftime. Fresno State reclaimed momentum out of the break, in particular Chetna Kumar-Naicker who raced away from tackles with two pitch-length tries for the Bulldogs. The speedy Freshman Wing was seamless in finding space and was nearly impossible to get a hold of.

The closing minutes of the half were held firmly in Fresno State’s hands with three late tries that eventually lead to a 57-17 victory in Charlotte. As day one comes to a close, we look ahead to what should be a high scoring Championship affair between Salisbury and Fresno State. A rematch of last year’s third-place playoff, both teams are happy to reach the final match but ready to play for it. 


FRESNO STATE VS TULANE STAT SHEET 


Catch that match at 4pm EST tomorrow, along with the Women’s D1 and Men’s D1AA Spring Championship finals all LIVE on FloRugby.