By Julius Saporito
The National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA) announced that Quinnipiac will host the tournament’s final four from Friday, Nov. 17 to Sunday, Nov. 19.
“The semifinals being at 10 a.m. on Friday is a difficult time window but we have no doubt the usual QU fan base will be on hand in addition to the the two other teams battling at 1 p.m.,” said Quinnipiac rugby head coach Rebecca Carlson.
Brown University was the host of the 2015 championship and in 2016 the championship was played at West Point at the United States Military Academy. Quinnipiac is the league’s two-time defending national champion and is looking to repeat its winning streak.
In 2015, the team got its first championship topping Army 24-19, and went in with a five-game winning streak. The team’s second championship win last season came to a 46-24 score in a win over Central Washington and was its only win in the series against Central Washington. Coming into that season, the Quinnipiac women’s rugby team was ranked No. 2 in a NIRA coaches poll.
This season the team was granted a new and improved playing surface and new scoreboard for bringing in two consecutive championship titles, a very big contribution to the school’s program exposure.
Coach Carlson talked about how having the new parts of the facility adds to the team morale going into playoff.
“Great to have the space. Honored to be at home,” Carlson said. “We still have a ways to go to be one of the top rugby facilities in the country across both genders but a will get there.”
Carlson’s team has been successful again this season as it has made it to the tournament’s semifinals for the third-straight season.
Coach Carlson also added to how tough the team’s competition would be and how the team expects to finish out the year.
“Our schedule was the most down challenging in the entire country,” Carlson said. “We played 9 NIRA games prior to playoffs while our opponents and the other side of the bracket played less than 5. Our adversity and two losses were/are more valuable than any team with a soft schedule and undefeated status, we expect to finish strong.”
Quinnipiac will face Central Washington in one of the semifinals on Friday. Dartmouth and Harvard will play against each other in the other semifinal, which is also on Friday. The winner of each game will face each other in the national championship game, which will take place on Sunday.