Regional postseason results narrow Women’s DI, DII National Playoff field

LAFAYETTE, Colo. – Spring temperatures are rising and the number of teams in the hunt for the June 4-5 USA Rugby Club Championships in Glendale, Colo., are shrinking. Eight quarterfinalists in the Women’s Division II field have emerged from regional postseason competition, and will compete in the May 21-22 playoffs in Pittsburgh or Tucson, Ariz., while only one Women’s DI quarterfinal spot remains unclaimed.

Defending Women’s DI Club Champion Seattle is looking strong again in 2016, and will head to Arizona in two weeks’ time as the Pacific North’s representative. The Saracens are set to face the team it exited from the Playoffs last year – Santa Monica. The Dolphins claimed the Pacific South bid to the National Quarterfinals after edging Belmont Shore by a converted try over the weekend.

Austin will head into Tucson with plenty of momentum after having its way with Little Rock and Houston Athletic by a combined 81-17 to win the Red River. The Valkyries will need to continue their good form because Quarterfinal opponent Denver Black Ice is coming off of a victory over the WPL Champion Glendale Raptors’ developmental side.

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Chicago North Shore appears equipped to make a run at its first Club Finals since 2014. The rest of the Midwest Conference struggled to remain competitive with the Playoff-bound women of North Shore.

On the east coast, Boston Rugby is still alive after beating former WPL club Beantown, and the Raleigh Venom has taken the Mid-South thanks to weekend wins over Philadelphia and Northern Virginia. There is still hope for Beantown and NOVA, however. The two teams with plenty of Club Playoff experience behind them will battle for the eighth and final spot in the Women’s DI Quarterfinal bracket.

Burlington, Harrisburg, and Wisconsin were each tested, but won May 8 regional qualifying Finals to advance to the eastern portion of the Women’s DII National Quarterfinals. Burlington, bounced from last year’s Playoffs at the Quarterfinal stage by Wisconsin, has hopes for better luck May 21 against Harrisburg.

Wisconsin’s DII title defense starts with Charlotte. The South representatives will take a crack at the defending Champion after surrendering just seven points in two South Regional Playoff victories April 30 and May 1 over Fort Miami and Nashville in Montgomery, Ala.

Competing at Kino Sports Complex in Arizona are three teams returning to the Quarterfinals after playoff appearances last May. Undefeated Mid-America Champion Kansas City Jazz draw Houston Athletic. A year after winning its Red River competition and advancing to DI Playoffs, Houston settled for a second-place conference finish – equating to its spot in the 2016 DII Playoffs.

Ventura County has again reigned supreme in the Pacific South after getting the best of the Tucson Lightning, 28-18. The Lady Outlaws’ reward for their 7-2 season is a Quarterfinal date with a Life West team firing on all cylinders. The Bay Area outfit is in just its second year of existence, but quickly joining the Life West men’s program as a force to be reckoned with. The Gladiatrix’s tune-up for west regional playoffs ended in a 112-0 pounding of the Bend Lady Roughriders.

The May 21 Quarterfinals and May 22 Semifinals will be held at Founders Field in Pittsburgh, while the western playoff rounds of eight and four will be played at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson. The four teams capable of winning two games over the playoff weekend will advance to the June 4 Women’s DI and DII Club National Championship Finals at the City of Glendale’s Infinity Park.