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The Men’s DII College final four is set after a weekend of action packed rugby. UW-Whitewater returns seeking its third straight DII title and will be joined by three teams appearing in their first ever DII final four, Queens College, Iowa Central, and NC State.
These four teams will head to Mecklenburg, NC in two weeks to play for a national title.
In a snowy Columbia, Missouri, UW-Whitewater asserted its dominance on the field, After beating Montana State 54-26 on Saturday, the Warhawks put up 72 points on an undefeated Bethel side.
Bethel edged Milwaukee on Saturday but the size and speed of Whitewater proved too much. Whitewater continues their dynastic dominance of DII. The Warhawks have reached the national championship game four straight years and have been to the final four an astounding six straight years.
Queens College emerged from this region after winning a pair of one score games. The newly minted varsity program is the last team since Salisbury in 2014 to make the final four after having to play a play in game.
Queens defeated Furman last weekend and knocked off perennial power, Norwich, 27-24 to reach the final eight.
Villanova won a shootout with Marquette 47-43 for the right to play Queens. Another high scoring game ensued with Queens winning 39-34.
Coming in as the three seed from Cardinals Conference, the game showed the strength of the division. Queens College lost to fellow final four team NC State and VMI, during the regular season. In the conference post season, Queens lost to UVA 19-17 and in a rematch with VMI came away with a 38-34 win to reach the playoffs. Queens was battle tested and it showed this weekend.
NC State and UNC-Charlotte picked up comfortable wins on Saturday over SUNY-Geneseo and William Paterson respectively. It was the first time UNC-Charlotte had ever reached the final four.
On Sunday, the game was marred with a number of yellow cards and chippy play. In the end, NC State pulled away to win 35-14 for a place in the final four.
The Wolfpack romped through conference play, beating VMI twice, Queens and UVA.
Along with Queens, Iowa Central made its way to the final four via a play in. After beating IUPUI last week, the Tritons overcame a 12-10 halftime deficit to beat last year final four participant North Dakota State 42-17.
UVA gaver Vermont everything it could handle in the other round of 16 game in the region but ultimately gave up a score at the death to fall 41-39.
Vermont had no answer to Iowa Central, however, only scoring a try at the end to fall 25-7 to Iowa Central.
The Tritons continue to be an amazing story. They have had arguably the toughest route to the playoffs. The team took a nine hour bus ride to play IUPUI at home last week and traveled a staggering 19 hours just to get to the this post season. After barnstorming though NSCRO last year, Iowa Central continues to dominate most of the teams they play.
It was not clear if Iowa Central would receive an at large bid to the post-season. Originally, Iowa Central was planning to participate in the Northern Lights conference, as they had in NSCRO last season but that ended up not occurring. The Tritons ended up playing an independent schedule against predominantly DIA and DIAA opponents. Their first game against a DII opponent came against IUPUI. Needless to say they were battle tested facing the likes of Lindenwood, Lindenwood-Belleville, Wisconsin and a slew of other tough teams.
The national championship will take place on December 1-2. UW-Whitewater will take on Queens College and NC State will play Iowa Central.