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This Saturday the eight remaining teams will square off for a chance to play in Sundays Final Four and the final on May 31st. The games will be played at two regional sites (Dallas and Pittsburgh) along with the DI and DIII playoffs.
Wisconsin vs. Rocky Gorge
In possibly the most intriguing matchup of the weekend, defending champions Wisconsin will battle Rocky Gorge. The last time the teams met was the 2012 national title game where Rocky Gorge came out on top 36-27.
Wisconsin swept through conference play in the fall with only a tie to Bremer County keeping them from a perfect record in competitive play. With wins over Eastside and the Detroit Tradesmen, Wisconsin will look to recreate last years successful run.
Rocky Gorge came out of the Capitol conference with a perfect 8-0 record and continued its winning ways when they defeated MARFU opponents Doylestown and Wilmington.
With such a fierce contest slated for Saturday, will the winner have enough
strength to win again on Sunday? We shall see.
Wisconsin is hosting the finals weekend at Breese Stevens Field - the first time they've done so since 1984.
“That’s why the city of Madison is so excited about this opportunity, because you really cap out your interest with some of the other, smaller events,” said Wisconsin club president Max Zukowski. “Much like Glendale, we own our own facility, as well, which is about eight miles outside of town."
Zukowski credits Head Coach Adam Thimmig with getting Wisconsin this far. Thimmig was the assistant coach of the 2012-13 Division II team and head coach of the Division IV team during the same year. He is now Head Coach with longtime player Tim Leslie Director of Rugby.
“We have too much change still occurring and our coaching staff has new
expectations,” Zukowski said. “[Thimmig] is a very regimented guy who has
different expectations. You couldn’t really get into the same old, same old
we had for two years, and we have these new opportunities to play in front
of a home city for a national championship if we do well enough."
New Haven vs. Atlanta Old White
In the other half of the Pittsburgh regional, New England champions New Haven will take on the Atlanta Old White.
Atlanta Old White had bit of an up and down season but seems to be hitting its stride at the right time. Despite three losses this year, Atlanta finds itself three wins away from a national title.
Atlanta finally solved Charlotte in its third meeting of the season with them. In the first matchups, Charlotte soundly defeated Atlanta. The Old white made some adjustments, particularly at the set piece that paid huge dividends in the third contest. After winning with a penalty kick at the death, the Old White beat an undefeated Chattanooga side for a trip to Pittsburgh. It will look to carry that momentum into this weekend.
New Haven comes in with an 11-1 record. New Haven won the New England conference with a 9-1 record with its only loss coming early in the season to Albany.
New Haven defeated Portland and the Empire champions Monmouth in route to the quarterfinals.
Glendale vs. Tempe
In the west regional, traditionally strong Glendale will battle Tempe.
The Arizona team has had a tremendous season beating in state rival Red Mountain three times and thrashing SoCal champions Oceanside 62-8.
Tempe is led by a trio of brothers in the backs and a solid front row. Glendale will surely be there toughest opponent to date.
Glendale finished second in the Eastern Rockies division after receiving a thumping early in the season from the Park City Haggis. Glendale turned the tables in the playoffs, however, beating the Haggis by a similar margin in the playoffs.
Snake River vs. Little Rock
The final game of the weekend pits the Red River champs against the best of the Pacific Northwest.
Little Rock finished atop a close Red River North division despite losses against HURT, and Tulsa. Little Rock finished the season strong dispatching an up and coming Oklahoma City side to take the division title.
Little Rock defeated the D1-B Austin Blacks and avenged an early season loss to HURT to earn the right to play Snake River.
The Idaho squad comes into this weekend with a 9-2 record. The Snakes finished in second in the Pacific Northwest South but managed to upset the Axemen and ORSU on its way to a conference title.
Snake River then defeated NorCal champions the Sacramento Blackhawks
for a trip to the regional.