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The DIAA Conferences champions for the fall championship have now all been determined. All four-conference champions have earned a spot in the playoffs and we will wait to see who gets at large bids to the tournament. It looks like the top two from each division will make the final eight but the bracket has yet to be announced.
St. Joe's ran the table for the second consecutive year, winning the conference with a 27-11 victory over Rowan.
The Hawks defeated West Chester on Saturday 24-7 and met undefeated Rowan on Sunday. The defending champs jumped out to a 20-6 halftime lead and held the Profs at bay to win the game.
“I am proud of our guys effort today especially on the defensive side of the ball. Rowan was a quality side and really made us work until the end. Going back to back in our Conference is no easy task and I give all the credit to the guys who put so much work into the program and for each other,” said St. Joe’s head coach Dan Yarusso.
The Hawks will be looking to build on a final four finish from last season. A year of experience and a talented squad could bode well for the hawks.
“We are excited for the opportunity to represent the MARC at the USA Rugby D1AA Collegiate Playoffs out in Ohio. We know there will be some quality competition out there. Going into this years event, we have to make sure we have a versatile structure that can not only adapt to our opponents style of play but to the track and weather conditions as well,” said Yarusso.
Kentucky won its first ever SCRC conference title after picking up a pair of wins this weekend. After defeating Alabama on Saturday, the Wildcats edged Tennessee 26-22 to capture the conference crown.
Tennessee made its way into the finals after beating rival South Carolina. Tennessee got the better of USC both times this season.
The Kentucky backs were able to break the line a few times in the first half and ended up with a lead at halftime. Tennessee gave the Wildcats all the could handle but a relentless Kentucky defense kept Tennessee out at key moments. A late score pushed Kentucky up by two scores and ultimately gave them the victory.
“Well you have to get up pretty early in the morning to defeat Tennessee twice in one season. Fortunately the rugby gods were shining on us Sunday. They gave us all we could handle,” said Kentucky coach Gary Anderson.
It is the first ever conference title for the Wildcats. Kentucky has watched for years as Tennessee and South Carolina traded barbs and is excited to be heading to its first ever national playoffs.
“We started building this program six years ago, it's been a long hard road. I am so glad to see if finally pay off for our guys. Particularly the seniors, as they had the misfortune of being there for the early days when USC and UT really had our number,” Anderson concluded.
Bowling Green won its unprecedented 38 consecutive MAC title with a pair of wins in the conference playoffs this weekend. Western Michigan gave BG a tough game for 60 minutes but the reigning champs scored a couple of late tries to cap off the victory.
Mary Washington has long been in control of the Chesapeake and clinched the conference last weekend. The Mothers have not had a close contest all season and will be eyeing a national championship.
The Mothers defeated Mount St. Mary’s 43-10 to cap off an undefeated season.
It looks like no independent team will make an appearance in the playoffs. AIC was informed that they did not receive a bid and Lindenwood-Belleville was forced to vacate wins. Both of these teams were considered top contenders but neither of them received an at large bid.
The bracket should be released in the near future.