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Pacific South Recap: New Contenders Emerge in Women's Divisions

Pacific Rugby Premiership:

In the rematch of last year’s PRP championship match, it was a reversal of fortune for Old Mission Beach, as they staved off Belmont Shore, 33-19. In the first half the two teams were hard to separate, with OMBAC trailing by one at the half. A try within the first minute of the second half, launched OMBAC back into the lead. The early try led to a total of 13 unanswered points, establishing an insurmountable 26-14 lead. A try in the 75th minute saw the lead narrowed to 7 points, but a converted try from OMBAC, in the twilight of the game, helped create a stronger buffer.

The other Pacific South PRP side in action over the weekend was Santa Monica, who bulldozed their way by the Glendale Merlins 44-7. Leading the charge for the Dolphins was their flyhalf, Max Rodman, who contributed 24 points to the team’s total. He already looks like he could be ready to take the PRP by storm in 2019, expect him to feature heavily in teams’ game plans.

 

Women’s Division I:

The only game in women’s division I play, saw an upset- with the Tempe Ninjas, who went undefeated in the Pacific South last year, lose to Santa Monica. Margret Lee and Nina  Poloukhine were the stand outs for the Dolphins, scoring two tries and fifteen points respectively. After a down year in 2018, it certainly looks as though the Dolphins are back in their fine form from 2017- a worrying thought for teams in their path.

 

Men’s Division II:

San Fernando Valley Rugby and Oceanside Chiefs played out an exciting match, with the Chiefs prevailing, 46-40. San Fernando took the early lead before 24 unanswered points from the Chiefs saw them take a lead they would not relinquish for the rest of the game. San Fernando got close to taking the lead back, mainly on the back of their outside center, Hawks Liva’s 20 point performance.

Other games saw the San Diego Old Aztecs claim the win over Pasadena Rugby, 53-17. The win was partly through the efforts of their two centers, Connor Mariani and Nick Cavallaro who both scored braces. LA Rugby was on the wrong side of the score line against the Ventura County Outlaws, losing 54-15.

 

Women’s Division II:

It was a close one between perennial contenders Old Pueblo Lightning and Pasadena Rugby, but ultimately the Lightning’s impressive domination over its competition came to a close when they lost 19-15. This marks the first time Pasadena has won a game against Old Pueblo since 2015. At the heart of the effort was inside center, Sonya Livingston who scored two of the teams three tries.  

 

Men’s Division III:

Men’s Division III saw plenty of close finishes over the weekend. Las Vegas Irish D3 was able to hold off the pesky Tucson Magpies 30-29; and the Santa Barbra Grunions saw off an Eagle Rock Athletic side that was a thorn in their side all day, 17-10. Huntington Beach Unicorns were able to keep San Diego Old Aztecs D3 from getting their first win of the year by holding on to a 37-32 lead. Despite the close scores there were some blow outs too, Belmont Shore D3 got the biggest win of the weekend with a 71-19 drubbing of the North County Gurkhas. San Luis Obispo also landed a fifty point win of their own, downing the Dolphins 58-7. Kern County were impressive in their 43-12 win over the Back Bay Shark. As were the Scottdale Blues as they tamed the Old Pueblo Lions 38-22.

 

Men’s Division IV:

Fullerton continued their undefeated run to open the season beating Dead Rabbits Rugby convincingly, 41-19. The other match in Division IV  saw Riverside take back the South Bay Stingrays 56-8.

Pacific North Recap: Premiership Begins Anew

Samurai Sportswear Pacific Rugby Premiership:

Santa Monica Dolphins kicked of the Premiership season at home against Glendale Merlins D1.  The Dolphins swam to a quick lead and led 22-0 at the half.  Glendale would put a converted try on the board, but Santa Monica would answer that effort by doubling their first half score 44-7 behind a 24 point game from Flyhalf Maxwell Rodman. 

Belmont Shore Rugby travelled to Old Mission Beach Athletic Club (OMBAC) for a rematch of last year’s final.  OMBAC would score first with a penalty kick at 10 minutes and hold the lead late in the first when Belmont would creep in a converted try to go ahead 13-14.  No.15 Alfonso Cornu-Labat would add ten second-half points, ensuring OMBAC would retain the statement victory, 33-19. 

Reeling from a preseason loss against 2018 MLR Champion Seattle Seawolves, San Francisco Golden Gate (SFGG) would host Life West Gladiators in a rematch of last season’s third place match.  The Gladiators would come out swinging, capitalizing on two home-team yellow cards and heading into halftime with a commanding lead 3-21.  SFGG would attempt a comeback, chopping the deficit to within ten points, but Life West would have the final say and dominated the final 20 minutes with 17 unanswered points, winning 18-45.      

Northern California Women’s Division II

San Jose Seahawks would play their second game this season at home against the Sacramento Amazons.  The Amazons were itching to get the season going, and sprinted to a 0-46 lead at halftime.  Sacramento’s No.13 Ofolangi had a remarkable 25 point, 5 try day and No.15 Kristin Shum add her own hat trick of tries as the Amazons made the statement of the season with a 0-90 grounding of the Seahawks.  Berkeley All Blues D2 travelled to San Francisco Golden Gate (SFGG).  Berkeley would begin this year with a high-powered proclamation of their own, taking advantage of an early SFGG yellow card and leading 5-31 at the half.   SFGG would not go quietly, but the effort was far from adequate as the All Blues would put on a defensive show preventing any come back in the last 20 minutes, claiming the triumph in the end 17-48.

South Recap: Florida's 2019 Spring Season Sprints into Second Weekend of Play

While the True South and Carolinas/Georgia clubs have yet to emerge from their winter hibernation, Florida’s 2019 Spring Season teams sprinted into their second weekend of play Saturday, January 19, 2019.

Women’s Division II: 

In Florida, the Jacksonville Sinners kicked off their season with a 28 to 17 win over the Tampa Bay Krewe. Jacksonville were down ten points for the majority of the game, and with 25 minutes left in the contest they found themselves down only three. The Krewe saw one of their players sent to the bin in 70th minute. From there the Sinners took full advantage- getting a penalty try from the yellow card and scoring a try of their own volition taking them into the lead and securing their first win of the season.  

Fort Miami Rugby blasted past the Indian River Raptors in a 76 to 0 shutout.  Fort Miami were led by their flyhalf Marie Zeoli, who was responsible for 21 of Fort Miami’s points. 

Men’s Division II:

In Men’s Division II action, two games took place Saturday in the Sunshine State.

The Tampa Bay, the Krewe RFC hosted the Jacksonville RFC Saturday on the Krewe’s field at Skyview Park.  In the contest,Tampa Bay scored 12 tries and eight conversions to defeat Jacksonville 76 to 0.

Just a little further south, the Naples Hammerheads handedly beat the Boca Raton Buccaneers 31 to 10.  Naples earned five tries and three conversions, holding Boca Raton to just one converted try and one penalty kick.

Men’s Division III 

Florida offered the rest of USA Rugby South with three Division III matchups Saturday.

The Sarasota Surge soundly defeated the Daytona Beach Coconuts 43 to 7.  Sarasota secured seven tries and four conversions, while Daytona was limited to just one converted try.

The Miami Tridents ran all over the Indian River Raptors Saturday, winning their matchup 79 to 23.  Miami scored 13 tries and one conversion.  Indian River was limited to three tries, one conversion, and two penalty kicks.

Finally, on Saturday, the Saint Petersburg Pelicans trampled the Tampa Bay Krewe D3 59 to 5.

Pacific North Recap: Plenty of Power on Display

Northern California Women’s Division II

San Francisco Golden Gate (SFGG) vs Sacramento Amazons was cancelled.  The reason, according to SFGG Facebook page, was “due to the rain over the past few weeks, our fields have turned to marshlands.”  The match between the two teams has been rescheduled for March 30. 

Northern California Men’s Division II:

Life West Gladiators bounced back from last week’s loss with a slashing of Vacaville Old Dogs.  The old dogs put up a fight as it remained scoreless midway through the first half.  Life West played through a yellow card late in the second half and won at home, 53-0.  San Francisco Golden Gate (SFGG) D2 vs Sacramento Capitals was postponed due to waterlogged pitch.  San Jose Seahawks travelled to Santa Rosa Rugby as both teams attempted to start the season 2-0.  The Seahawks flew into a 2-try lead 5 minutes in, and held the lead 17-20 at the half.  The second half would see 3 lead changes until Santa Rosa would take advantage of back-to-back San Jose yellow cards and walk away with the needed home win 34-27.  Bay Area Baracus hosted their first game of the season against a red-hot Olympic Club Rugby.  #8 Mark Bowers and #11 Tyler Wallace would both have a hat-trick of tries as Olympic Club would be the first team to record a triple digit point differential in the 7-67 road win.  

Northern California Men’s Division III-A

San Joaquin-Stanislaus Rugby at home against Chico Mighty Oaks in a close game leaving both teams tied for first.  The Harlots would score first, which was answered immediately by Chico.  This back and forth would be the theme for the remainder of the game.  One conversion missed early in the game by San Joaquin would be the difference maker at the end allowing scrumhalf Brian Lynn to top off a gritty performance with a heroic dropgoal in extra time, flooring the Mighty Oaks 29-28.  Berkeley Rugby was at home against Olympic Rugby D3.  Berkeley let Olympic Club jump to a 12 point lead before knotting it up at 12 behind a penalty try at the half.  Olympic Club would start the second half with a quick try and capitalize on a Berkeley yellow card to push the lead 12-24.  A late try by Berkeley would be the only answer, as they lost their second game 17-24.  Google Rugby visited Fresno Rugby for their first game of the season.  Google could not benefit from a Fresno yellow card, but remained up at the half 3-7.  Fresno finished the game with 19 more points and Google failed to find an answer in their search for a first win 22-7.    

Northern California Men’s Division III-B

Mendocino Steam Donkeys hosted San Jose Seahawks D3 in a defensive battle that saw the Steam Donkeys behind 0-10 at the half.  Mendocino would kick their way to tying the game at 10.  San Jose would have the last word, scoring a try as time expired clutching victory 10-15.  Bay Area Baracus B travelled to San Francisco Fog and made a season opening statement with a 7-75 conquest behind a 20 point game by #10 Myles Fenwick.  San Francisco Golden Gate (SFGG) D3 vs Shasta Highlanders was postponed due to waterlogged pitch.  Jesters Rugby hosted Reno Zephyrs as both teams looked to bounce back from first game losses.  It was the Jesters that had the only laughs in a highly one-sided game.  Jesters ran up 70 points and a shutout was looming for Reno, until they took advantage of a late yellow card and put up a penalty kick.  3 points is not a comeback, according to Jesters Rugby, and they added to the anecdote with another try, demolishing the Zephyrs 75-3.

Pacific South Recap: Offenses on Fire Early in the Season

Men’s Division II:

The Ventura County Outlaws were left breathing a sigh of relief as they escaped with a 27-22 win over Pasadena Rugby. After opening a 17-0 lead to start the game off, Pasadena closed the gap and left the Outlaws feeling uneasy. Despite the uncomfortable nature, the Outlaws held on to win the game.  The San Diego Old Aztecs got their first win of the season, with a 34-15 win over the Tempe Old Devils. James Niblock was again instrumental in the Old Aztecs’ attack, contributing 19 points to their tally. The Red Mountain Warthogs survived a tight encounter against LA Rugby, coming out on top, 24-17. In the highest scoring game of the weekend the Las Vegas Irish and Oceanside Chiefs were locked in an absolute classic. The two teams combined for a combined 103 points, with the Irish pulling away from the Chiefs, 62-41.

Men’s Division III:

There was no shortage of scoring in the Division III competitions. Santa Barbra Grunions and the Santa Monica Dolphins D3 played an enthralling fixture, with Santa Monica prevailing 61-35. Jone Koronisigana, the Dolphins’ Outside center, managed to get things started for Santa Monica with a hattrick in the first forty minutes. Once the platform was set, the Dolphins were able to coast to victory. North County Gurkhas pulled off an upset few expected over the weekend, as they took down the Beaumont Bluehawks, 36-17. This was the Bluehawks’ first loss in their pool since April 2017. Leading the way for the Gurkhas was wig Alex Griva, who scored 17 points. In other games a late try to Las Vegas Irish wasn’t enough for the win; as they fell to Phoenix Rugby, 20-17. Kern County Rugby added a win to their record after stifling San Diego Old Aztecs D3 62-0.

Red River Recap: Teams Begin to Pull Away

Men’s Division I:

The Dallas Harlequins got their first win of the year over the weekend against San Antonio Rugby, 34-19. It was one way traffic from the opening kickoff, as the Harlequins scored 34 unanswered points. San Antonio tried to get their way back into it, through Trevor Brunet- who scored 14 points in 10 minutes; but it was too little too late. The other fixture saw the Austin Huns get their second win of the year through a comfortable 40-7 drubbing of the West Houston Lions.

Women’s Division I:

What looked like it could have been a close matchup heading into the weekend, proved to be anything but. Houston Athletic were on a mission as they bulldozed their way through the Dallas Harlequins. Delia Nava was lethal with the boot contributing 14 points to HARC’s efforts going on to win 73-0.

Men’s Division II:

Dallas Rugby D2 got an impressive 43-0 win over local rival Fort Worth Rugby. Dallas was helped by wing, Tom Hever who notched up a hattrick and hooker Jeff Robertson who matched the number on his back with two tries. The Austin Huns D2 followed their D1 team’s suit and beat Dallas Athletic by a convincing 43-17 scoreline.

In the central division Houston United took down San Marcos 45-17. Mitchell Early was the star for HURT as he bagged a double in the win.

 

Women’s Division II:

The only game to take place in the Women’s Red River Division II competition put San Antonio Riveters over Dallas Athletic, 57-12. Playing a massive role in the Riveters win for Christine Krieger who scored 17 points.

 

Men’s Division III:

Completing a perfect day for the Austin Huns were their D3 squad, who were able to beat Alamo City Rugby, 34-18. Playing their first game since their National Championship last year, were Austin Black D3. They picked up where they left off, smothering Corpus Christi 50-0. The biggest win of the day saw the Grand Prairie Mavericks leave Denton Rugby picking up the pieces, as the Mavericks went home with a 97-0 victory.

Elsewhere in a rivalry match, HURT D3 were able to keep home field advantage over Galveston Rugby, beating them 36-19. However, expect Galveston to come back guns blazing in the return fixture. Bay Area rugby came back from a 17-0 deficit to beat the Houston Arrows, 31-29. A yellow card against the Arrows was their foil; as Bay Area put up 21 points in the ten minutes they enjoyed a man advantage. The final game saw Woodlands D3 land a confidence building 22-5 win over the Kingswood Crusaders.

Mike McKenna named to USA Rugby Board of Directors

LAFAYETTE, CO – USA Rugby Congress voted in favor of Board of Directors nominee, Mike McKenna, officially starting the 45-day transitional period with the leadership group.

McKenna resides in Weybridge, Vermont and is the Founder and Managing Partner of McKenna & Partners, LLC, a strategic communications consultancy. Prior to his current role, McKenna was CEO and Chief Creative Officer with the corporate advertising agency, Marsteller, part of the global PR firm Burson Marsteller. With extensive experience in creative and brand marketing, McKenna’s inclusion with USA Rugby leadership will prove highly influential as rugby looks to grow its visibility in the American sporting landscape. McKenna will remain a transitional member on the Board over the next 45 days, at which point he will become a fully seated member pending second vote of ratification.

“As a former college and club player, I look forward to combining my passion for the sport and professional experience to help further strengthen our great game both here in the United States and within the international Rugby community,” McKenna said.

McKenna started playing rugby in 1969 with the Beacon Hill club in his native Boston. After playing for Wesleyan University in Connecticut, he founded the Old Methodist RFC, Wesleyan’s alumni side, and later played old boys for the New York Athletic Club. After moving to Vermont he has served as an Advisor to the Middlebury College Rugby Club, men’s two-time D-2 national champions in 2007-8 and finalist in 2009.

About USA Rugby

Established in 1975, USA Rugby is the governing body for the sport of rugby in America and a Full Sport Member of the United States Olympic Committee. Currently headquartered in Lafayette, Colorado, USA Rugby is charged with developing the game on all levels and has more than 120,000 active members across the youth, High School, College and Senior club level. USA Rugby oversees four national teams, multiple collegiate and High School All-American sides, and an emerging Olympic development pathway for elite athletes. It also hosts more than 30 national playoff and championship events each year as a service to its members. In 2018, USA Rugby welcomed the world for Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco, the first-ever Rugby World Cup hosted on American soil. With over 100,000 in attendance, the event broke various American records and has acted as a launching point for the game’s future growth. Visit www.usa.rugby for more information.

USA RUGBY BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Barbara O’Brien – Chair
Paul Santinelli – Vice Chair
Julie Lau – Director
Jim Brown – Director
Mike McKenna – Transitional Director
Jeremiah Johnson – USA Rugby Congress Representative
Agustín Pichot – World Rugby Representative
Phaidra Knight – International Athlete
Todd Clever – International Athlete

Pacific North Recap: New Year Brings Great Rugby

Northern California Women’s Division II

San Jose Seahawks hosted Berkeley All Blues D2 in the kick-off for Women’s Club Rugby in Northern California.  The All Blues put on quite a show as they grounded the Seahawks 14-85 behind a 26 point day by flyhalf Olivia Bernadel Huey.    

Northern California Men’s Division II

Santa Rosa Rugby travelled to San Francisco Golden Gate (SFGG) D2 hoping to start 2019 off with an important road win.  The frost was still present for both teams for fifteen minutes until Jerome Loiti broke the zeros with a penalty kick and a try that opened the flood gates for Santa Rosa.  Down 0-22 at the half, SFGG D2 came out and scored a try at 51 minutes in a feeble attempt at a comeback.  Santa Rosa would not allow any sort of comeback holding SFGG D2 to 2 tries and ran away with the victory 12-39.  Sacramento Capitals hosted Life West Gladiators D2 and jumped ahead quickly with a try from scrum-half Jacob Wright.  Life West got their first points at 31 minutes, but were slapped with a yellow card to finish out the half with the Capitals holding a 13-5 lead.  Life West quickly scored to open the second half, but were again penalized with a yellow card.  This time, Sacramento took full advantage of the man advantage adding 10 points to their differential.  The Gladiators would fight back hard, but ultimately fall to the Capitals 35-31.  Vacaville Old Dogs were still in a winter hibernation as Olympic Club Rugby visited the dog house.  Knotted at 7 in under 10 minutes, Olympic Club chained the Old Dogs and scored 52 unanswered points.  Hooker Donald Deaile and #8 Mark Bowers both had 2 tries apiece in a comprehensive 7-59 win.   San Jose Seahawks welcomed the Diablo Old Gaels and both teams put on quite the match.  The first half saw the lead exchanged 3 times, and knotted up once.  Only a conversion broke the tie at the half, with the Seahawks up 24-22.  The first 10 minutes of the second half saw a defensive battle until a penalty kick by San Jose’s Michael Mitchell.  To keep up with the spirit of the match, Diablo came firing back into the lead with a converted try.  The Seahawks flew ahead by a point once again thanks to another penalty kick from Mitchell.  Midway through the second half, both teams saw a yellow card and played with 14.  San Jose would lengthen their lead, and Diablo would fight hard to get it back, but fall short in the end 44-36. 

Northern California Men’s Division III-A

Silicon Valley Rugby fell behind early to San Joaquin-Stanislaus Rugby and remained behind 7-26 at the half.  The home team would make a winter comeback going ahead at 70 minutes.  San Joaquin would do the best they could to prevent the comeback, tying it at 311 with under 10 minutes in the game.  Silicon Valley would get the last points and prevail 38-31.  Napa Valley Rugby was at home against Redwood Empire Rugby.  The visitors were behind at the half 19-7.  Napa Valley would prove too strong, felling Redwood Empire 43-19.  Olympic Club Rugby D3 travelled to Fresno Rugby and quickly got ahead of the home team.  Down 8-12 at the half, Fresno would jump ahead at 46 minutes with a try from flyhalf Mark Miranda.  Fresno would remain in control and collect the win, 30-17.  Chico Mighty Oaks hosted Berkeley Rugby in a close game that saw Berkeley chipping away at the roots of the Mighty Oaks the entire game.  Capitalizing on a Chico yellow card late in the first half, Berkeley would take the lead at the restart 19-22.  Chico would not let Berkeley maintain the lead long, gathering in two consecutive tries.  Berkeley would score several minutes into extra time, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit.  Chico wins, 38-32

 

Northern California Men’s Division III-B

San Jose Seahawks D3 stood their ground at home against a more than capable Diablo Old Gaels D3 56-3.  Diablo was down a man via a red card early in the first half, and San Jose took full advantage.  San Francisco Fog had a slow start at home against Central Coast Beach Dogs.  Down 8-19 at the half, the Fog crept in and fully engulfed the Beach Dogs late in the game behind tries by #114 Sean de la O and #13 Bryce Lampe.  Jesters Rugby meandered over to Marin Reds and failed to amuse the home team, falling 22-14.  San Francisco Golden Gate (SFGG) D3 had a spectacular home stand against Mendocino Steam Donkeys.  Hat tricks by loosehead Nino Tamburello and #14 Aaron Rambo helped secure the win for SFGG D3 62-12.  Division 3-B saw all home teams win on Saturday, as Shasta Highlanders blew away the Zephyrs 41-14, behind a hat trick of tries by eight-man Urriolagoitia Miner.

Mid-Atlantic Ends with a Three-Game Flurry

The final fall weekend in the Mid-Atlantic featured an intense trio of matches to conclude 2019.  The conference will take a three-month winter break and resume play on March 2nd.

After a brutal three-game stretch on the road, Division I’s Pittsburgh Harlequins returned home to vanquish a solid Northern Virginia (NOVA) club, 38-36. The Harlequins never trailed but NOVA challenged them every step of the way. The match came down to who could make their kicks as Pittsburgh scored five tries and made all their kicks while NOVA dotted down six, but made only three conversions.

“In the beginning, we knew we had to come away with a win on Saturday after three road losses to salvage the season and put us back into contention for a playoff spot,” Pittsburgh coach Eric Jerpe said. “We were home today and there were no excuses…

NOVA came back toward the end and we played very undisciplined in the last 15 minutes to allow them back into the game.”

Jerpe summed up the season by saying the fall was full of missed opportunities. “We started off very strong, but we let our road games get away from us. We have the capability and the personnel to compete with anybody in the league, but on the road, it’s more of a mental game right now.”

The Potomac Exiles picked up their third Division I win of the season beating the Washington Irish, 28-21. It was the Exiles’ second win over the Irish in three weeks and it wasn’t easy. Potomac was shut out in the first half but Owen Lentz, Brendan Porter, Matt Flynn, and Kevin Kimble scored tries after the break. Flyhalf William Taylor connected on all four conversions in the victory.

“The Irish came out firing,” Potomac coach Owen Lentz said. “Playing uphill was a challenge for both teams. The Irish closed our wide game down and we adjusted to pick and goes. It was pretty ugly and to win by just doing that was pleasing.”

After postponing the match last week, the top two clubs in the Division II South faced off against each other and James River took one step closer to the divisional lead with a 42-25 victory over the Richmond Lions. James River survived three cards in the first half to explode for 30 points in the second. The lead exchanged hands six times before James River took the advantage for good in the 55th minute. Outside center Evan Fowler earned the game ball with 22 points from his boot nearly outscoring the Lions off the tee.

“We started gaining the upper hand in the second half when we started playing with a bit more patience and went through the phases,” coach Mark Fowler stated. “We were far more accurate in our execution and kept the scoreboard ticking over with our territorial advantage.”

After being the runner-up in Division III last season, the jump to Division II has been a big step up for James River, but the club has embraced the challenge. “Our fall season has been a learning curve for a lot of players,” Fowler said. “We have had to overcome a lot of injuries and have probably played 30 players in starting roles. We have a lot of athleticism but are still very raw. A lot of the lads need game time, but the talent pool is deep and if everyone stays together we will improve. We are all looking forward to the spring season and just trying to improve and grow as a unit.”

The final match of the weekend ended before it began. The Virginia Griffins forfeited to the Washington Irish’s Division III side. The Irish improve to 3-3 with the win, while the rookie Griffins are still searching for their first victory.

HOME SCORE AWAY SCORE DIVISION
Washington Irish 21 Potomac Exiles 28 Men – DI
Pittsburgh Harlequins 38 Northern Virginia Rugby 36 Men – DI
James River 42 Richmond Lions 25 Men – DII-South
Virginia Griffins Forfeit Washington Irish D3 Win Men – DIII-Central

 

Midwest Finds Champions Amidst Mud and Snow

Women’s Division I:

The Minnesota Valkyries looked to protect their perfect season and book their spot in the National playoffs when they went up against Detroit Rugby, a team they had already beaten twice this year. Despite having beaten them twice, the Valkyries would have been wary of the threat Detroit posed early on, as between their first and second encounter Minnesota’s margin of victory shrunk from 34 points to two. Detroit contrarily would have felt confident, especially considering they hadn’t lost any other games this season.

It was an arm wrestle from start to finish, with the two teams being inseparable at the half; scores locked 5-5. In the second half not much changed both teams struggled to sustain any threating attacking play due to the muddy conditions. However, Detroit was able to hang around long enough and using the conditions in their favor  to cross the line and score the lone points of the second half. Detroit crowned champions of the Midwest Women’s Division I for the 2018-19 season.

 

Men’s Division II:

When the Cleveland Crusaders and Wisconsin Rugby went toe to toe this weekend, each team was putting an unbeaten record against Midwestern teams on the line. It was the Crusaders getting on the board first, with a penalty to flyhalf Nicholas Viviani. However, Wisconsin responded shortly after, with a try, to take a two-point lead. Scoring lay dormant for the rest of the half.

In the second half, it was Joseph Brown diving over to put the Crusaders in the lead once again. However, Wisconsin snatched the lead right back bringing it to 10-8. The Crusaders didn’t hang their heads, and through Preston Lowden answered Wisconsin’s challenge. They were able to sustain their lead and grow it further with tries in the 70th and 80th minute to garnish the score. The Cleveland Crusaders crowned champions, 23-10.

 

Women’s Division II:

2017 National Champion, Milwaukee Scylla, rolled hot into the Midwest Championships, after launching a convincing 91-0 win over the Chicago Sirens in their semifinal. Their opponent was Buffalo, who made it in after avenging a regular season loss against the Pittsburgh Forge. In the early stages, it looked as if the Scylla were on their way to booking their spot back into the national circuit, when Abigail Williams crossed to create an early 5-point lead. However, two tries in five minutes to the women from Buffalo and a penalty gave them a solid 15-5 lead as the first half concluded. The second half was a scoreless affair for the first 25 minutes, until the Scylla scored another try; narrowing the margin to five. While they brought the score closer, they couldn’t add to their tally. With a scoreless final quarter of an hour, Buffalo won the Women’s Midwest Division II competition and the spot in the playoffs, 15-10.


Men’s Division III:

A battle of the undefeateds unfolded over in the Men’s Division III championship game, as the Bremer County Bucks matched up against the Grand Rapids Gazelles. With the less than ideal conditions it would be a forward orientated battle upfront, a style of play that may have suited the Bucks more than the Gazelles. However, it was the Gazelles, in the 4th minute, that got up on the board first via the trusty boot of Zebb Dewes-Taylor. The Bucks responded in the 16th with a try and the score now 5-3. It stayed there until the 40th minute, when Jake Sochanek crossed the line,and with Dewes-Taylor adding to give Grand Rapids the halftime lead, 10-5. The second half was uneventful on the scoreboard until the 69th minute when the Bucks crossed and drew level. The tie was broken only five minutes later when Dewes-Taylor’s boot added 3 points and sent the Gazelles to the playoffs and the Bucks back to Iowa.

 

Men’s Division IV:

The Indianapolis Impalas D4 squad capped off an impressive fall campaign handing the Findlay Scars a 23-12 loss. With no national championship for Men’s Division IV, the Impalas D4 finished their season off on the highest point possible.


Midwest Premiership:

The Chicago Lions finished the regular season at 6-2 after beating Columbus Rugby and claiming a bonus point, 39-14. Metropolis Rugby concluded an undefeated campaign in the Western Division after they took down the Kansas City Blues 29-13. Palmer College finished at 5-3 after seeing off the St. Louis Bombers, 31-21. The Griffins finished an impressive season off at 6-2, as they took down the Detroit Tradesmen 46-24. Despite the impressive accomplishment, due to the Lions’ bonus point win, the Griffins came second in their division by one competition point. the Premiership Champion will be determined on May 4th in a Championship game.