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The DII college rugby season got under way last weekend, albeit a very abbreviated schedule. The Gateway conference was the only one to officially kick off as the rest of the country starts in earnest this weekend.

Last year’s conference champions, Pitt State, got off to a tough start in the defense of their conference title. Despite only having 15 eligible players, Saint Louis University edged the Gorillaheads 30-29 in a game that came down to the last seconds.

The other game in the conference saw Washington-St. Louis thump Maryville 50-19. The rest of the conference starts next week.

Some intriguing games highlight the upcoming weekend.  Eight conferences and independents start their campaigns this weekend.

Iowa Central, who elected to move to DII this season, starts their very difficult independent schedule. They are currently slated to play a host of DIA and DIAA teams and are light on the DII teams. This week, the Tritons face Mid-South foes Davenport. A win against the Panthers could boost Iowa CC to the top of the DII rankings.

Perhaps the biggest game of the weekend is in the Cardinals Conference. Last year’s runner up VMI will begin its quest to get back to the national championship against the only team outside of UW-Whitewater to beat the Keydets last season, NC State. The tandem split matches against each other last year, with the Wolfpack winning early in the season and VMI taking the conference championship game later in the fall.

In the Tri-State, RPI will defend its conference championship against the USMMA. The Merchant Marine Academy is always competitive and the Engineers will have to be ready to go to get out unscathed.

Rugby Northeast, Northern Lights, New England Wide, and Upstate NY will start the following week.