Written by RUGBYMag Staff    Wednesday, 07 March 2012 17:10    PDF Print Write e-mail
Women DII College Top 25 - March 7, 2012
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Months have passed since the last women’s DII college rankings, including territorial championships the onset of fall-dormant leagues. With the inclusion of five previously unranked teams, we saw a bid adieu to an equal amount of teams.

Hilary Pletta has been a major force in Winona's rise to the top of the Midwest.

Making the biggest leap on the rankings is Winona. The Black Katts won the Midwest Championship by first defeating former DI Grand Valley State 32-26 in the semifinals, then topping Pittsburgh 31-10 in the final. The Panthers are still ranked ahead of Pittsburgh, and the two teams will have the opportunity to prove the rankings right or wrong at nationals when they see each other in the round of 16.

Unranked Vassar also breached the top 10 after finishing second at the Northeast Championship. They edged Rutgers 20-19 in the semifinals before dropping to Norwich (1) in the title match.

Texas A&M also joins the rankings after finishing second in Texas. Former DII Texas won the region, but not before ending their season with a 32-29 loss to A&M. The Aggies secured the DII bid to the West Championship with a 39-0 over Texas Tech. Wyoming is also the frontrunner for the Eastern Rockies bid to territorial playoffs, although they’ll have to first defeat Colorado College to make it official. But it’s looking good for Wyoming, which defeated Colorado-Mesa 22-0, a team that beat Colorado College 24-0 earlier in the season.

The South’s Appalachian State returns to the rankings after a lengthy sabbatical. They crushed league opponents 188-5, and knocked UNC Charlotte off the list with a 14-0 win. But should ASU meet Lee University in the South final, they’ll have their hands full. The only thing that might slow down Lee is the fact that their season has been riddled with bad weather and forfeits.

So who’s looking good? It’s hard not to favor Norwich to win it all this year. Aside from winning the Northeast Championship – again – the Cadets won the first-ever College 7s Championship in the fall, and looked really good in the process. Their fitness and physicality are the makings of a championship team, and our bets are on the New Hampshire squad.

We’re really looking forward to the Mid-Atlantic Championship. The EPRU was tight as always, and Shippensburg and Temple finished particularly strongly. George Washington is a perennial threat for a title grab and allowed 18 points all league season. GW did however lose 69-0 to Pittsburgh at the VWIT, and while nothing should be taken away from Pitt and their hefty pre-season build-up to nationals, we’re reluctant to overly punish GW for the tournament loss.

American International College could be a dark horse at nationals, as well. They won Rugby Northeast, but encountered some eligibility issues, so it’s unsure what kind of squad will be showing up at the first round. They haven’t been tested outside the small college sphere, but they have the talent to produce some upsets.

Out west, Humboldt and Arizona have put in solid seasons thus far. Humboldt defeated opponents 232-42 and have SF Bats left on the schedule. Although the latter are playing in a full league schedule, they aren’t yet eligible for playoffs, so Humboldt have sealed their berth to playoffs. They’ll come up against in the Pacific Coast semifinals when they see Western Washington, who second place finish in the Pacific Northwest was essentially determined in the fall when they lost to Washington State 17-12.

Arizona is one of three teams in Southern California with a 4-1 record, with CSU Fullerton and Cal State Northridge in close proximity. The Wildcats defeated CSUN 43-24 earlier in the season, and their 17-0 defeat to CSUF came during a double-header weekend when they were without their star and USA 7s player Amy Naber. With a full roster, we think Arizona will beat anyone in So Cal.

Stay tuned as the playoff picture works out in half the nation, while more pre-season play gives a better idea at how squads are shaping up.

Women DII College Top 25 - March 7, 2012
1 (1) Norwich (8-0). #1 in Northeast; won first USA Rugby College 7s Championship

2 (3) Shippensburg (9-0). Won the EPRU championship.

3 (4) Washington State (5-0). Defeated Western Washington 17-12.

4 (5) Western Washington (4-1). Lost to Washington State 17-12.

5 (unr) Winona (10-1). Won Midwest Championship by first defeating Grand Valley 32-26 in semis then Pittsburgh 31-10 in final.

6 (6) George Washington (5-0). Won MARFU’s Potomac region

7 (2) Grand Valley (10-1). Lost to Midwest champion Winona 32-26 in Midwest semis; defeated UW La Crosse for third. Defeated Notre Dame 68-7 in preseason friendly.

8 (unr) Vassar (6-3). Finished 2nd in Northeast, defeated Rutgers 20-19 in semis, lost to Norwich 46-0.

9 (7) Rutgers (8-1).Finished third in NRU after losing to Vassar 20-19 in semis and defeating Bowdoin 20-12 for 3rd.

10 (15) Temple (6-2). Lost 17-7 to Shippensburg in EPRU final.

11 (9) AIC (6-0-1). Won Rugby Northeast with a 47-0 win over St. Michael’s.

12 (10) Pittsburgh (9-1).Finished 2nd in Midwest after defeating UW La Crosse 27-10 in semis then losing 31-10 to Winona. Played at VWIT and defeated George Washington 69-0, tied UVA 12-12, lost to Navy 43-0

13 (unr) Texas A&M (2-2). Finished 2nd in Texas; defeated Texas 32-29 and Texas Tech 39-0 in last two rounds.

14 (19) Lee University (4-0). Defeated South Iris conference opponents 147-7, but actually bigger PD considering a couple of games were recorded as forfeit wins.

15 (17) Mary Washington (5-1). Taking 2nd VRU seed to MARFUs; played four friendlies in 2012, including wins over William & Mary (26-0) and Salisbury (39-25) and losses to DI James Madison (36-10) and George Washington (36-0)

16 (14) Delaware (6-2). Finished third at EPRU championship.

17 (22) Humboldt (4-0). Defeated league opponents 232-42 with one more game against also undefeated SF Bats.

18 (18) Bowdoin (7-3).Finished fourth in NRU after losses to Norwich in the semis and Rutgers (20-12) in the consolation match.

19 (8) UW La Crosse (7-2). Finished fourth in Midwest, losing to Pittsburgh and Grand Valley State

20 (25) Arizona (4-1). One of three teams at 4-1 in So Cal; earned first loss against CSU Fullerton 17-0 in a double header weekend.

21 (24) William & Mary (4-1). Top seed in MARFU’s VRU. No state championship so seeds determined on head-to-head, and not overall point differential during league.

22 (12) St. Michael's (5-2). Lost to AIC 47-0 in RNE final.

23 (unr) Appalachian State (4-0). Defeated UNC Charlotte 14-0 to win South's Dogwood conference.

24 (unr) Wyoming (4-0). Currently leading Eastern Rockies; defeated Colorado - Mesa (22-0), which defeated Colorado College (23) 24-0.

25 (20) Stonehill (3-2). Finished third in RNE but still a solid team.