Claremont Colleges Look To Out-Fox Women's D2 Bracket

A goal for any team is to improve on its previous performance, but for Claremont College, which advanced to the USA Rugby DII College Spring Championship last year, that would mean a trophy in 2019. 

The Foxes aren’t that confident just yet, but the Pacific Desert team just wrapped up a 5-0 regular season and its post-season potential is now being considered. 

Claremont graduated 11 players last year, and it was a special group according to Director of Women’s Rugby Evan Woller indicated.

“I joked with them that they joined a team that had won one game over two years, and then their last game [the spring championship final] was on a field with a jumbotron,” Woller reflected on their influence.

Watch The Women's D2 Spring Semis And Final LIVE on FloRugby May 3-4

“The most important question we had to answer heading into this season was finding a replacement for Joey Yamada. That’s not going to happen overnight,” Woller praised the standout flyhalf, four-year starter, and leader. “We took our fullback, [junior] Ali Parker, and moved her to flyhalf and she’s been doing a great job.”

Parker’s backup, sophomore Anastasia Lavongtheung, has also been doing very well, and they’re charged with initiating that fast-moving, wide-open attack. Parker is currently leading the team in points and tries scored, so the move from the back three hasn’t affected her ability to find the try zone. 

New Blood

Players like Lindsay Mooradian and Kendal Kipper have stepped up and developed into good finishers, as well. But the back line did lose a powerhouse in Dana Alimena, who suffered an ACL injury last summer with ARTPC. She hasn’t played at all this year although Woller is hopeful the center will return in April.

“The forwards have increased in size a little—not to the level of Tulane—but we have 2-3 rookies who have come out of nowhere and do a great job,” Woller turned attention to the pack.

Twins Margaret and Vivienne Krause, as well as prop Sage Fletcher are among the newcomers who are catching on quickly. They’re also lucky as scrumhalf Rachel Sun and prop Marisa de Souza, both seniors, have returned. They’re engineering students at Harvey Mudd, which offers only one window to travel abroad – spring semester of junior year. So these two influential players missed last year’s playoff run and are eager to push their final season.

Neither Rain Nor ...

All of these elements came together during a significantly rainy and cold winter in SoCal. Woller explained that all the fields in SoCal are of the same grass, and if you play on them when they’re wet, you can ruin them for months. 

“Fields will shut down on Thursday if the forecast is for 20% rain for Saturday,” Woller described the level of protection.

Fortunately, Claremont was able to use a turf pitch and avoid that dampening cycle of late cancellations and schedule reshuffling. Instead, the Foxes outscored opponents 268-63.

“There were no easy games despite the scorelines,” Woller said. “MiraCosta got better, Occidental and Long Beach improved. There’s no bigger divide [compared to last year]. In fact, I wouldn’t say there’s a divide at all.”

Final Surge

The Foxed capped it all off with a 49-5 defeat of UC Riverside to finish 6-0 and secure a spot in the playoffs.

“We had a great run last year, advancing to the [spring] final four and losing to Tulane in the championship. We have no regrets about it and think we played a good game,” Wooler said. 

“I think we do [have potential to do well again],” the coach continued. “There are some great teams out there – Fresno State, Salisbury, Nevada, Tulane. Overall, the goal is to be better than last year.”

Claremont will also be pursuing a berth to the USA Rugby DII College 7s National Championship, which is now being held a week later and thus three weeks after the DII 15s spring final. FloRugby will be live-streaming the entire USA Rugby Spring College Championships on May 3-4. 

European Challenge Cup QFs on FloRugby

The second tier of the European Rugby Championship is set for this weekend and will be live on FloRugby in the Middle East and North Africa.

RWC Trophy Stops In Hollywood

Gerard Butler Ponders A RWC Steal

The Webb Ellis Cup received a star-studded welcome to Hollywood as it embarked on the fifteenth leg of the Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour in Los Angeles. 

Heineken Champions Cup Quarterfinals This Weekend

null

Rugby in Europe pivots to the Heineken Champions Cup quarterfinals this weekend, with eight teams still in the fight for continental glory.

Lindenwood, Life To Meet In D1 Elite Final

Lindenwood University and Life University will face off in two weeks for the 2019 USA Rugby Women's D1 Elite College Championships after both won their semifinals Sunday.

Rejiggered Lineup For USA As Hong Kong 7s Loom

null

There's no rest for the weary as the USA Men's 7s team gets ready to compete in the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens April 5-7 for Round 7 of the HSBC Sevens World Series.

Road To HS Nationals: Everyone Is Good In NorCal

One of the toughest jobs in the buildup to the Boys HS Rugby National Championships is deciding how the teams, once invited, will be seeded; Northern California isn't making it any easier.

Toulon Tumble Down Table

Toulon coach Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe said his side's 42-33 defeat by Lyon in the Top 14 on Saturday reflected their whole campaign.

PRP Insurrection As Glendale, SFGG Win

null

The Pacific Rugby Premiership season is not over by a long shot, and trailing teams are sending a very clear message that they want in on the party.

D1A Roundup: Good Day To Be Ranked Higher

Life University Rugby Visits FloSports HQ

Higher-ranked teams ruled the weekend in Men's D1A College; here's how it went down.

Saint Mary's Defense Shuts Down Navy In Annapolis

Ronan Murphy: The Big Body On Saint Mary's

Saint Mary's put in an impressive defensive effort to defeat the US Naval Academy 20-7 Saturday in Annapolis.