An annual fixture for California and surrounding teams, Scrum By The Sea kicks off this weekend in sunny San Diego. It’s the largest collective of women’s colleges from Southern California and Pacific Coast during the fall.
The tournament will give fans an early indication to the rebuilding squads’ strength. Unlike the Northeast, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic unions, which are contesting league playoffs now, this area of the country is still enjoying a friendly season.
Of the 13 teams in attendance, eight are DI and five are in DII. Host UC San Diego heads the competitive division (eight teams).
“We've been averaging around 30 girls at practice so far, which is exciting,” UCSD coach Emily Ogata said. “We graduated six starters including our No. 8 (and captain of two years), but we still have a very solid group of returners and experienced players in key positions.”
Evenlyn Ashenbrucker, who played with the Collegiate All Americans at Can Ams this summer, moves to No. 8, and third-years take over the halfback positions.
“The girls are looking good and I believe they have the potential to play as strongly as they did last year,” Ogata said. “I'm looking forward to a good season.”
It’ll also be interesting to see how Texas performs against other DI teams like UC Davis, Cal, Chico and Arizona State. UT won Texas’ division II last year, but this season, all but Texas A&M and Texas Tech left the West for the newly created Pacific Mountain Conference. So the union constructed a three-game Cup series between A&M, Tech or UT. The top finisher will receive the West's DI seed to nationals, while the second-place finisher will take DII’s. In the opening round, UT defeated Tech 31-5, so if that translates into more wins this weekend.
UCLA, UC Santa Cruz, Arizona, Claremont Colleges and USC will all compete in the social division. UCLA is the favorite in this bracket, and Claremont is the only other DI team in the group.
Stay tuned for all of the tournament action.