There were four lead changes between Raleigh (1-1) and Boston (1-1), and the teams were within one try of each other the 79th minute. That’s when the Venom prop Megan Gilmore scored the game’s final try, and Chelsea Garber’s third conversion afforded the 31-19 win. In the lead-up, outside center Shawn Gatewood dotted down three times and flanker Hannah Spencer added five points. Boston scored through Isabel Haber, Italia Ieraci and Emma Santosuosso, and Stacey Markovic added two conversions.
In the Empire GU, the Village Lions posted a 68-5 win over Monmouth, and now both are 4-1. Eight New Yorkers scored tries in the win, with No. 8 Adriana Castillo and inside center Ais Smith doubling their efforts. Colby Ruys de Perez knocked over eight conversions to lead on points. Hannah Septoff (3) and Emma Ferraro (2) scored Morris’ five tries against New Haven (1-4), winning 29-19 and improving to 4-1. Brooklyn enjoyed a 64-14 win over Uticuse, and Juliet Wade, Margaret Ewen, Jane Wade and Kathleen Mason scored multiple tries a piece.
In the New England GU DII-leading Worcester enjoyed a bye week, while the rest of the field closed in. Providence improved to 3-1 with a 29-0 win over Charles River, and Albany (2-3) held off Hartford (1-3) in a 38-27 contest. Burlington (2-2) dropped a 15-10 decision to Portland (3-2) but banked a bonus point in the close defeat.
Seacoast (1-2) got its first win of the NERFU DIII season, but only after a three-try spree in the final 10 minutes against Upper Valley (2-1). Amber Nault crossed twice and then Stacy Woodley added the game-winner. Delaney Payne’s conversion made it 37-34 to Seacoast.
Starting off the weekend in the Atlantic North, the New York City rivalry between Old Blue and NYAC was renewed again. The American Rugby Premiership matchup lived up to the hype as the teams battled to the end at Travers Island. When the final whistle sounded, it was a massive win for the Winged Foot as NYAC was victorious in a 36-34 triumph.
After dropping its first game, White Plains has been on a rampage in the Empire DII as it beat the Fairfield Yankees on the road, 35-27. The boot of Thomas Strachen, who slotted six penalties and scored 25 of his team’s points, highlighted the match where the lead changed hands five times. In the only other Empire DII game, New Haven’s Stephen Cappello scored a late try to nip the Union County Mudturtles, 40-39.
Up in New England, South Shore overcame a 15-0 deficit late in the first half against Mystic Barbarians to earn a bonus point 43-20 victory and remain undefeated in DII. The Boston Irish Wolfhounds kept pace with the frontrunners earning a bonus point themselves beating divisional contender Newport, 39-22, and Boston’s 55-18 victory over Worcester has them leapfrog both Mystic and Newport to sit at third in the standings.
NERFU DIII wrapped up the majority of the regular season pool play this weekend. MIT pulled the upset of the division as it knocked off the previously-undefeated Amoskeag, 57-32. MIT scored eight tries with Aaron West and Alex Sawyer dotting down a pair each. Boston Maccabi remains the only undefeated squad with a narrow victory over North Shore, 28-26. Down in the Empire, only one team remains with no losses as the Rochester Aardvarks beat cross-town rivals Rochester Colonials, 36-28, and are close to locking up a #1 seed for the playoffs. Morris, who had been dominating in New Jersey DIII played to a draw with Monmouth, 17-17. Lansdowne knocked Brooklyn from the ranks of the unbeaten by an impressive 45-7 score.
Lastly, Rockaway and North Jersey continued to roll over opponents in Empire DIV. Rockaway put away NYRC, 82-7, as it scored 14 tries in the victory and North Jersey crushed the Rochester Aardvarks, 49-19. In the NERFU, the Boston Ironsides bounced back from a disappointing forfeit last week to a commanding 59-27 win over Black River. In a statement match between two of the top teams in the division, Monadnock battled all 80 minutes against a balanced and proven Freedom team, but it came down to the sure-footed flyhalf Ely Thayer to split the uprights with a penalty in the 70th minute for the 13-12 victory.
Houston Athletic went 1-1 on its DI doubleheader road trip to Colorado. The Texans opened against Glendale (1-0) and with 10 minutes remaining in regulation, trailed 50-26. But a massive closing effort put Carson Aslop, Bonnie Richardson and Meredith Frasier into the try zone, and Delia Nava’s conversion pulled the scoreline to 50-43, thus affording two bonus points in the loss. Caitlin Weigel, Franciny Alves Amaral, JT Wypych each scored two tries on Saturday. HARC then turned around and withstood three lead changes en route to a 34-22 win over Denver Black Ice (0-3) on Sunday. Richardson finished the weekend with five tries.
A total of seven games were played in the Frontier between Mid-America and the Rocky Mountains. In Mid-America DII, the St. Louis Royal Ramblers notched its first win of the season beating Kansas City, 15-12, while Sunday Morning continued its dominance in DIII with an 83-24 bludgeoning of the Royal Ramblers’ DIII side.
With the HSBC World Rugby Women’s USA 7s event at Infinity Park, games were limited in the Rockies. In Eastern Rockies Cup pool play, the Colorado Springs Grizzlies upset the Denver Barbarians, 29-28, for the first time in at least 12 years. With only a few weeks until the Eastern Rockies Cup final this November, spots are up for grabs in the division.
In the Rocky Mountain Men’s Championship, the Queen City Rams, last year’s Frontier DIII champions, got their first win of the season in a hard-fought 30-19 victory over the Northern Colorado Flamingos and Denver Barbarians D4 defeated Colorado Springs Grizzlies D4, 36-34, as they look to once again defend their Rocky Mountain Rugby Challenge League title.
On a side note, Springfield traveled to play a friendly match versus Little Rock. After the match, Springfield’s coach Mark Owings suffered a massive heart attack after playing 80 minutes in the heat. Thanks to some very quick thinking and response from Johanna Bade, Hanna Jo, Zach Tisdale, Brett Bibel, and David Caswell, he was able to be revived and stabilized through the use of CPR and an on-hand Automated External Defibrillator (AED) until the paramedics arrived. Owings went immediately into surgery at UAMS Medical Center and he is now stable, awake, moving, and responding. The paramedics noted that he was saved because of the AED device application, CPR, and fearless action.
NOVA (2-0) and Philadelphia (0-2) contested an equally tense game. Twenty-eight minutes in, NOVA flyhalf Emily Blease lit up the scoreboard with a try, and Stephanie Barros followed minutes after the half. Bri Kim’s first of two conversions afforded a 12-0 lead, until No. 8 Lucy Dawson scored back-to-back tries. Kate Hallinan kicked the extras and then added a penalty minutes later: 19-15 to NOVA with 15 minutes to play. Neither defense budged and NOVA held on for its second win.
The most exciting DII game of the weekend went to Doylestown and Phoenixville. White Horse built a 15-point lead in the first half, and then the Dragons slowly chipped away. In the 79th minute, fullback Sarah Ross scored to give Doylestown its only, and most important, lead of the game, and Katharine Walston’s conversion afforded the 24-20 win.
Scrumhalf Maria Romanchak and outside center Alyson McCarty helped Severn River improve to 4-0, scoring two tries apiece in the team’s 47-7 win over James River (1-2). Giulia DiSanto, Mia Akau and Shannon Hubbard led Norfolk (1-2) with two tries each in a 51-17 win over Northeast Philadelphia.
In the DIII North, York & Lancaster beat Wilmington (1-4) 38-17. Flyhalf Kayla Robison accounted for 16 points on two tries and three conversions. In the South, the Maryland Exiles (2-0) remained undefeated with a 56-0 win over Frederick (1-1). Diana Roman, Rachel Williams, Tanya Gouws and Chinasa Dike scored two tries apiece.
In the rematch of last season’s Mid-Atlantic DI final, NOVA looked to have Rocky Gorge on the ropes up 21-3 after 60 minutes of play, but Gorge awoke from its slumber to score five unanswered tries to win 38-21. In the south division, the Potomac Exiles rebounded from last week’s loss to come from behind in the last five minutes to beat Baltimore-Chesapeake, 33-29. Lastly, the Pittsburgh Harlequins nabbed their first win on the final play against the visiting Norfolk Blues, 25-24, when Joji Vakasisikakala scored the game-winner as time expired.
In the DII South, James River claimed the first round in its cross-town derby against Richmond, 41-19, and Washington narrowly edged Virginia, 31-29, for its first W of the season. As for the North, South Jersey attempted a late second-half comeback against Old Gaelic, but the Devils fell short, 39-24, and Wilmington doubled up the Roses, 40-14.
In the crowded DIII, a few teams have separated themselves from the pack. In the Central, Rocky Gorge and the Washington Irish are undefeated and Severn River and the Washington Renegades trail close behind at 3-1. With the Northeast Philadelphia Irish and Reading on a bye, Media matched the Irish’s record at 3-0-1 by beating Delmarva, 27-5, Brandywine is in third after a 55-26 defeat of the Hibernians, and Harrisburg slipped into second of the Red division with a 49-0 shutout against Blackthorn. Only one game was played in the South this weekend as Rappahannock continued to impress with a 47-24 demolition of Newport News. Jacques Keet was a man on fire with four tries and six conversions to lead his team to its third win.
When the DI Chicago Lions (4-0-1) and Metropolis (3-1-1) first met, they finished with a tie, 12-12. The rematch, contested in Minnesota, went to the Lions 33-12, while Katie Lohaus led as Player of the Match. Meanwhile, Chicago (4-2) and Detroit (2-4) exchanged the lead three times in the first half, but the second half saw Chicago pull away 41-27. Flyhalf Sarah Anderson accounted for 16 points on a try, penalty and four conversions.
All of the DII victors held their opponents to two tries or fewer. West-leading Palmer College (4-0) moved the ball around in its 76-7 victory over the winless County Will Morrigans, and wing Jessica Hernandez accounted for three of the 12 tries scored. Milwaukee Scylla (3-1) shut out the Minneapolis Menagerie (0-3) 67-0, and inside center Abigail Williams contributed 27 points on three tries and six conversions. Wing Mariah Lundstrum scored a hat trick in Twin Cities 44-10 win over Chicago Sirens (2-2) to improve to 3-1.
Buffalo and Pittsburgh Forge remain undefeated in East Gold, but that will change this Saturday when they face each other. Buffalo spent last weekend beating Cleveland (1-1) 31-5 and got its points from Emma McAndrew (2T), Jenna Hutzler (T, 2C), Nicole Faulise (2C, P) and Trisha John (T). Meanwhile,
North Buffalo (2-2) ran away with a 55-5 contest against Akron (0-4). Eight players scored the nine tries, and outside center Grace DeSanto (2T) and flyhalf Christina Killourhy (4C) led on points scored.
Fort Wayne (2-1) halfbacks Kara Fultz and Megan Ahnen do a lot of damage for Fort Wayne, which is now 2-1 after an 86-point performance against Louisville (0-4). Also in East Green, Columbus (4-0) beat Grand Rapids (2-3) 69-5 and finished all of its tries against Grand Rapids (2-3) through the backs, with Brittany Latham and wing Madeline Kohr ending the day with hat tricks.
In the Midwest Rugby Premiership, home teams ruled on Saturday as the hosts won by a combined score of 176-54. Cincinnati and Metropolis blew out their opponents, while Detroit and Palmer had to work for their wins. Detroit’s 35-24 victory over the Chicago Griffins increases its win total to 5-0 and the Tradesmen will be tested again this weekend as they travel to the second-place Lions.
The Pittsburgh Forge and Wisconsin remained on the top of the table of the East and West divisions in DII with big wins over Indianapolis and the Eastside Banshees. The Green Bay Celtics are looking over Wisconsin’s shoulder at 4-1 after dispatching Metropolis, 36-17, and the Chicago Lions secured its second win in a row after dropping its first three.
Through the first month and a half of the season, only nine of the 47 DIII teams are left on undefeated island: the Fox Valley Maoris, Akron, the Bremer County Bucks, the St, Cloud Bottom Feeders, the St. Paul Jazz Pigs, Fort Wayne, the Grand Rapid Gazelles, Queen City, Oconomowoc, and the Oshkosh Pigs.
One of the closest matches of the weekend was between St. Cloud and the Rochester Rogues in the cold and wet of DIII Minnesota. In the battle of #2 versus #3, St. Cloud’s Luke Morgan scored a try 15 minutes in and fullback Marc Severson tacked the conversion for the 7-0 lead. The defenses took over and it wasn’t until the end of the game that either team would influence the scoreboard. In the 75th minute, the Rogues’ Michael Schatz crossed the whitewash, but Rochester was unable to convert and the final was 7-5 in favor of the home team.
Other impact scores were Fox Valley’s 35-12 defeat of Rockford, Akron’s 41-39 win over the Cleveland Crusaders, Bremer County’s 48-15 victory against Des Moines, Grand Rapids’ 59-0 and Fort Wayne’s 78-0 shutouts to finish their seasons, the Columbus Castaways’ 74-0 and Louisville’s 28-0 domination in the South, and Oconomowoc’s 45-10 drubbing of Milwaukee and Oshkosh’s 34-29 edging of Fond du Lac to stay perfect in Wisconsin.
In DIV, the Westside Outcasts extended their unbeaten streak to four games with a 38-26 win over Dayton, Fort Wayne improved its record to 5-1 with a 27-0 triumph over the Jackson Fenians, and a penalty from John Matthews in the 79th minute broke a tie between the Kenosha Mammoths and Chicago Silverbacks to send Kenosha to a 27-24 victory.
The Seattle Saracens were three-time winners on Saturday as their men’s and women’s premier and men’s premier reserve sides all won. Playing Meraloma at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila, Wash., the Sarries’ men’s premier won its second game in a row, 38-28, and the women put on a clinic to surpass the century mark, 143-0. The men’s premier reserve survived a late scare to win 27-22.
In the DII Pacific Northwest, Tacoma bested Boise United 71-10, and Emerald City kept its undefeated record intact with a tough 32-12 win over Bend. South Sound got a second win in its first-ever league season, defeating ORSU 54-10.
“What I have noticed over the past few games is that some of our newer players have a lot more confidence in their ability to move the ball up the field, go into contact, and trust their teammates to support them,” South Sound head coach Cassie Bordelon explained. “When that happens we play super solid, patient rugby, and we see it pay off with tries. It’s very exciting to think of how we can continue to build off that going into our friendly with Mudhens B this weekend, and into the start of our spring season in March.”
In men’s DII, Tacoma notched its first ever win over the Boise United, the defending PNRFU DII champion. A late surge by Tacoma gave the Nomads enough of a boost to dot down a try in the ending minutes to win, 32-31. In the other two matches, the Portland Pigs’ pack dominated ORSU en route to a 45-24 victory and the Eastside Tsunami ran roughshod over the Valley Kangaroos, 90-7, in a fast-paced, good-spirited game.
Noteworthy results in DIII include the Eugene Stags and the Clark County Chiefs defeating the Boise United on two-day road trip, the Eastside Axemen beating Tacoma, 24-20, Chuckanut Bay tripling up Seattle, 60-17, and Portland winning on the road against ORSU, 24-19.
After taking a forfeit win against Camp Lejeune, Savannah ran out to a 73-32 victory against Charleston (1-2). Shamrocks Katherine Smith, Amanda Fernandez and Riketa Granville put in multi-try performances. Augusta, which beat Charleston 33-27, is also 2-0 in DII Carolinas-Georgia.
The DII True South held its first matrix match of the season, Knoxville beat Nashville 34-0. Wing Elizabeth Terry-Emert and scrumhalf Regina Durkan scored two tries apiece.
The much-anticipated match between two of the best DI clubs in the nation didn’t disappoint as Life hosted 404 Rugby Atlanta in Marietta, Ga. With many of the players on both teams going to play for the MLR’s Rugby ATL this spring, the game was sneak peek for what’s in store next year. What transpired was a hard-nosed, physical battle where the lead was exchanged six times, ultimately on the last play of the game. Down 21-17 for most of the second half, 404 scored the game-winner in the 80th minute to win 22-21 and push its ARP record to 4-0.
The Clarksville Headhunters started their DII True South fall season with a 50-17 win over Huntsville and in the Carolinas, Greenville traveled to Southern Pines in the only DII match of the weekend and fell 67-7. This sets up a matchup of the undefeated next week as Asheville hosts Southern Pines.
Lastly, in the lone DIII match, the Clayton Bootleggers cruised past Camp Lejeune, 66-35, in a likely preview of the Carolina Union DIII Championship in the spring.