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It was the fall championship weekend as men's and women's clubs from collegiate D1, D1AA, and DII gathered in Matthews, N.C. to crown this season's top teams. D1A also got into the act with three games and the MLR exhibition season began with two matches.
The first match of the championship Sunday was the D1AA final between St. Joseph’s and Bowling Green State. The Falcons jumped out to a 14-0 halftime lead and looked to extend the advantage with a yellow card against the Hawks.
The St. Joe’s defense had other ideas with an intercept try but BGSU stomped back with a forwards try for the 19-7 lead. Discipline for the Hawks failed late for St. Joe’s as the referee handed out a red card. BGSU used the man advantage to exert its will and put in another try to win the D1AA title, 26-7.
In the D1 Women’s final, Air Force’s continual assault wore down Davenport for the 40-27 victory. Through a pair of penalties and three tries, Air Force used its momentum to mount a 23-0 lead early, however, the Panthers clawed back to score two tries before the half to cut the tally to 23-10.
The second half belonged to Air Force’s Adrienne Yoder who notched a hat trick in the period. The Davenport offense was able to score twice, but the Air Force defense limited its opportunities. Each club displayed the excellence of women’s elite college rugby but Air Force will take home the D1 trophy to Colorado.
The rematch of last season’s Women’s DII Fall Championship looked to be an epic back and forth battle but it turned into a 50-13 blowout as Vassar College beat Winona State for the hardware. The lead changed hands six times in the first half as Vassar was up 17-13 at intermission.
The second half was all Vassar as it got better and more confident as the game unfolded. The Brewers ripped off five straight tries to end the game and defense pitched a shutout. When the final whistle blew, Vassar celebrated a hard-fought victory avenging last season’s loss to take the title home to New York.
Looking for its third consecutive DII National Championship, UW-Whitewater faced a formidable opponent in North Carolina State. Much like the D1 Women’s final, the game was tight in the first half and exploded in the second. The teams exchanged the lead five times in the first with NC State holding the 19-12 advantage at the break.
The Wolfpack picked where they left off in the second half by running all over UW-W. NC State scored five unanswered tries as seven players found pay dirt in the match. With the 57-13 win, NC State claims its first DII championship.
In other collegiate action, Arkansas State takes the inaugural Soileau-Noel Memorial Cup with a 58-15 win over Texas Tech, North Texas beat Texas State 66-34, and Texas A&M powered to a 38-5 victory against Baylor in the Red River.
The MLR preseason began on Saturday as Rugby United New York fended off the New England Free Jacks, 38-35, in South Weymouth, Mass. The teams were knotted at 35-35 late and RUNY flyhalf Cathal Marsh kicked the game-winner. For the Houston SaberCats opener, they opted for DI Red River power, the Austin Blacks, as their opponent. The match turned into a blowout as the SaberCats won 78-12.
Lastly, club rugby in the Red River began its 2018-2019 campaign as the Dallas Reds welcomed rookie San Antonio to DI with an 83-3 demolishing.
|Texas Tech||15||Arkansas State||58||Men's D1A - Non-Conference|
|North Texas||66||Texas State||34||Men's D1A - Non-Conference|
|Texas A&M||38||Baylor||5||Men's D1A - Red River|
|Bowling Green||26||St. Joseph's||7||Men's D1AA Fall Championship|
|UW-Whitewater||12||North Carolina State||57||Men's DII Fall National Championship|
|Iowa Central||34||Queens College||22||Men's DII 3rd Place|
|UW-Whitewater||45||Queens College||36||Men's DII National Semifinal|
|North Carolina State||33||Iowa Central||17||Men's DII National Semifinal|
|Davenport||27||Air Force||40||Women's D1 Fall Championship|
|Winona State||13||Vassar College||50||Women's DII Fall Championship|
|Coast Guard||29||Cincinnati||10||Women's DII 3rd Place|
|Winona State||34||Cincinnati||7||Women's DII National Semifinal|
|Vassar College||43||Coast Guard||26||Women's DII National Semifinal|
|New England Free Jacks||35||Rugby United New York||38||MLR - Exhibition|
|Austin Blacks||12||Houston SaberCats||78||MLR - Exhibition|
|Dallas Reds||83||San Antonio Rugby||3||Men's DI Club - Red River|