Chicago, and Annapolis played host to the Women’s D1 Quarter-finals and Semi-finals over the weekend. Notably this weekend saw the two finalists from last year, Air Force and UConn, trying to gain a place in the final once again. In Annapolis the first game of the weekend saw last year’s runner-up UConn defeat the hosts, Navy, in a tightly contested match, winning 12-7.
UConn’s semi-final opponents would be the winner of Notre Dame and Boston University. Notre Dame was able to handle Boston handedly running them all over the park to advance via a score of 40-17.
UConn and Notre Dame then faced off in a classic on Sunday, where Notre Dame found themselves down by eight points late in the second half, but on the back of a game a hat-trick to Sophie Asah they were able to complete the comeback and beat UConn 26-20.
Up in Chicago it was a stacked bracket with not only last year’s D1 National Champion, Air Force, but the 2016 National Champion from D2, Davenport, experiencing their first taste of the D1 playoffs.
It was Davenport that was up first against Minnesota, who had been enjoying an excellent season having handled their competition with relative ease throughout the year; however, they knew their first-round opponent would be a lot more competitive than previous teams that they had encountered. Davenport just proved to be strong for them on the day, running in nine tries against Minnesota and finishing on top 49-5.
Their opponent would be Air Force or Texas A&M. The game was a close one with the two teams unable to separate themselves in the first half going into the break locked 12-12. However, Air Force scored a point a minute for the first 15 minutes of the second half and secured their spot in the semi-final on Sunday.
Davenport Air Force was a low scoring affair and a close battle all the way through. After 23 minutes Davenport opened the scoring with a try, and then followed it up 10 minutes later with a second to enter the half time break up 10-0. The second half opened with Davenport scoring another unconverted try to sit on a 15-0 lead. The score did not change until the 77th minute when Air Force crossed the line to score a consolation try and finish the game at 15-5. Credit must go to Air Force, as this was the first time that Davenport had been held to under 30 points all season, and this was the first time since September that they had been held to less than 45 points.
Notre Dame and Davenport will face off on December 3rd at Furman University, South Carolina.
The women’s D2 round of 16 was not a tightly contested round, with the lowest margin of victory being 10, and three games with a margin of victory of 45 or higher. The biggest upset of the round was, number one seed, Grand Valley State bowing out to the four seed Indiana of Pennsylvania. In other results Cincinnati beat UW Oshkosh 65-10. Last year’s runner up, Winona State, defeated Sam Houston State 59-0, Colorado School of Mines won against UW Lacrosse 27-0, Vassar College handled Colby 25-5, Buffalo State handled business against Bryant 25-15, Bloomsburg was soundly beat by Marist 57-10, and the Coast Guard disposed of Cortland 50-13.
The quarter finals weren’t too different to the round of 16, with the tightest contest being between Winona State and Colorado School of mines, with Winona State advancing to the tune of a 37-26 win. Winona State’s opponent would be the victor of Cincinnati and Indiana Pennsylvania. Cincinnati looking to take advantage of not having to play Davenport in the playoffs for the first time in two years cruised to victory 57-12. On the opposite side of the bracket Vassar ran in eight tries against Buffalo State to advance to their second semi-final in as many years. The game between Marist and Coast Guard was a dominant display of defensive prowess as Marist were shut out 22-0. Joining Vassar in their second semi-final appearance in two years.
At the end of the weekend, there were three of the four teams from last year’s semi-finals returning to this year’s edition. The one team who did not make it last year, Cincinnati, were kicked out in the opening round last year by the eventual champions Davenport. The semi-finals will take place on December 2nd, with the Championship being played on December 3rd at Furman University, South Carolina.