In the last two weeks, some interesting outcomes have shifted the women's DI college rankings. The West Coast's league seasons are winding to an end, with Northern California and Eastern Rockies producing exciting lead shifts.
Well, sort of exciting. The battle for top honors in their LAUs is played with the knowledge that all of the top teams are heading toward territorial playoffs. NorCal gets two automatic byes and another two seeds to playins; and ERRFU sends three of its four teams to West playoffs.
In NorCal, Chico can consider itself the most heartbroken. After playing Stanford to an impressive 17-5 loss - the closest outcome compared to its competitors' games against the DI national finalist - CSU let a 24-5 third-quarter lead evaporate into a 24-all tie against California. A flurry of yellow cards in the last 20 minutes allowed Cal to run in three tries from Carla Banks and Laci Patiga, and Jen Seder's conversions sealed the tie. For Chico, that means finishing third in Nor Cal (assuming a win against UC Santa Cruz this weekend) behind Davis, which CSU tied earlier in the season. The difference between second and third is an additional trip to Utah for playins, where Chico and Cal will be joined by BYU and Oregon.
In the Eastern Rockies, Colorado State looked to have a grasp on the #1 spot after holding onto the 20-17 win against a much improved New Mexico. But the team faltered a week later when it played then-winless Air Force and lost 10-5. CSU was missing U20 captain Jozy Gessner, who was attending the nationals camp in Florida, and was handicapped by inexperience in the forwards as well as lackluster backline movement. The loss opened up opportunity for UNM and Colorado, who are both 3-2 in league, with a final game against each other this Sunday in UNM's football stadium.
On the East Coast, UVA held its annual Virgnia Women's Invitational, which drew 10 quality DI sides - and DII Pittsburgh, which upset Indiana and Ohio State - from as far as the Midwest, to local powerhouses Navy and North Carolina. Virginia hadn't won its own tournament since 2003, but that all ended with a final victory over UNC, 41-0. UVA didn't allow a single point-against during the two-day tournament.
But the game of most interest occured during the VWIT semifinals, when UNC upset Navy 10-0. The midshipmen have welcomed back Sue Parker as head coach, and the former USA Women's 7s coach is implementing new game strategies that the team is rushing to master. Kimber Rozier, who later left the final with an ankle injury, accounted for both UNC's converted try and penalty, and led a team that simply wanted the win more.
A few friendlies highlighted the NRU/MARFU region, with Army crushing Beantown 43-7 and West Chester bettering DII's Temple 63-0, but like their Midwest counterparts, many teams are waiting another week before launching into their seasons.
Women DI College Top 25 - March 9, 2011
1 (1) Penn State (5-0) (8-2). On tour in Italy, 0-2
2 (2) Army (8-0) (9-0). Defeated Beantown 43-7
3 (3) Brown (6-2) (7-3). Idle
4 (4) BYU (12-0). Defeated Weber State 27-7
5 (5) Stanford (5-0) (8-4). Defeated Chico State 17-5
6 (7) Virginia (4-0) (15-2). Defeated Norfolk Women 20-8; won VWIT (4-0) over UNC 41-0 in final
7 (6) Navy (1-0) (6-4). 2-1 at VWIT; lost to UNC 10-0 in semis
8 (9) UC San Diego (4-1) (8-3). Defeated Arizona State 42-10, Won Champagne Classic v Utah State
9 (10) UCLA (4-1) (8-3). Defeated UC Santa Barbara 31-7
10 (11) UC Davis (3-1-1) (7-2-1). Defeated Santa Cruz 61-5
11 (12) Texas A&M (2-1) (12-2). Defeated Tech 22-12
12 (8) Colorado State (4-2) (6-2). Defeated UNM 20-17, lost to Air Force 10-5
13 (13) Chico State (1-1-2) (4-6-2). Tied Cal 24-24
14 (15) Colorado (3-2) (8-3). Defeated Air Force 27-3
15 (14) New Mexico (3-2) (4-1). Lost to Colorado State 20-17
16 (16) East Carolina (4-0) (12-1). Defeated NC State 63-7
17 (18) North Carolina (3-1) (7-2). Defeated South Carolina 71-0; Went 3-1 at VWIT, lost UVA 41-0 in final
18 (17) Michigan (7-1) (8-1-3). Idle
19 (19) California (2-2-1) (4-5-1). Tied Chico State 24-24
20 (20) Northern Iowa (6-2) (7-3-1). Idle
21 (21) Eastern Illinois (9-1). Idle
22 (22) Texas Tech (1-2) (4-4). Lost to Texas A&M 22-12
23 (24) West Chester (3-2) (5-3). Defeated Temple 63-0
24 (23) Grand Valley State (6-2) (8-2). Idle
25 (25) Dartmouth (6-5) (6-6). Idle