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The bowl match-ups for the American Collegiate Rugby Championship have been set, with the crowning of several participant conference champions over the weekend. The games will take place Nov. 21-22 at the brand new Rugby Athletic Center in Charlotte, NC.
Friday the 21st will see Boston College take on Iona and Texas State face North Carolina State. Iona currently sits 2-3 in Rugby East with one more game, against Penn State Saturday, left to play. Boston College finished second in the East Coast with a 4-2 record. The Wolfpack finished 4-2 and in third place in the Atlantic Coast. Texas State finished second in the Southwest.
Saturday is reserved for the more marquee match-ups. ACRL champ Clemson awaits the champion of the Southeastern, which has its playoffs this weekend. ACRL runner-up Maryland awaits the SCRC's runner-up.
Bowling Green will pair off with American International College. The Falcons won the MAC, and the Yellowjackets won the East Coast. Both cruised through conference play undefeated.
Michigan is set to play Kutztown. KU finished second in the Rugby East, and Michigan is in the Big Ten championship game against Ohio State Saturday in Rockford, Ill.
West Virginia will play Stony Brook. The Mountaineers beat St. Joe's to claim the Keystone Saturday, and the Seawolves capped off an undefeated Empire championship run in beating Binghampton the same day.
“I know [West Virginia’s] conference has improved tremendously down there," said Stony Brook coach Jerry Mirro. "Along with that, West Virginia is the best team in the conference and they handled St. Joe’s. I’m familiar with St. Joe’s, their coaching staff, and many of their players who come from the New York area. By handling them, West Virginia must be a very good team. I hear they are very big and they are not afraid to move the ball around. So, we are looking for a good game and hope to be competitive down there.”
North Texas, the winner of the Southwest, will take on UMass. The Minutemen finished fourth in the East Coast with a 4-2 record.
The most high profile game will feature Army and Life. The Running Eagles haven't played as an undergraduate side this fall, but several players have played either for Life's DII men's club or American Rugby Premiership side. Army impressively went undefeated in the Rugby East.
“We are thrilled to be successful in a conference as tough as ours, particularly with Penn State and Kutztown in there, they are always top teams. We are very lucky that we are able to represent them as we move forward,” said Army coach Mike Mahon.
“I think Life is at a higher level of rugby. It is going to be a great experience. All year long I’ve been telling everyone how young our team is and now some of these freshmen and sophomores are going to get to see some really great rugby, I think that can do nothing but help us for the spring.”