- Life University looks to defend back to back titles with play kicking off Spring 2020
- Seven matches throughout Liberty, East and Independent Conference jump-start the new season
- Conference movement, coaching changes and Mary Washington’s addition to D1A headline the 2019/20 cycle
LAFAYETTE, CO – The Fall 2019 season will officially begin this weekend September 7-8, with a few teams who have recently played few matchups against other divisional conferences and schools. D1A Rugby has quite a number of notable club and coaching shake-ups, additions and departures within the league.
Congratulations again, to the 2019 D1A Champions Life University, and Runner-Ups, University of California Berkeley, on making it to the championship game and providing one of the most exhilarating overall matches and finishes in D1A history. There are high hopes that this upcoming year proves to be as special as the last. With a new season gleaming, the drawing board is fresh with every club, along with the ever-alluring increasing standard of high expectations and results.
Kevin Battle, the D1A Rugby commissioner, weighs-in on the anticipated upcoming season and success of previous years, “Each year, the D1A competition continues to grow in both quality and strength. Thanks to the tremendous growth in youth and high school game, student-athletes are flooding college campuses in greater numbers and even better prepared. The result is more parity and higher quality rugby, we’ve been able to see in the D1A semi-finals and finals these past few years. I expect 2020 to be even better!”
From last year’s end of season rankings, there are some shake-ups regarding the new preseason poll, with a new feature of Top 5 Teams On The Bubble of an earshot cracking the Top 20. The Top 7 remains untouched from last year, with a bit of musical chair performance between the 8th, 9th and 10th placed spots. Iona & Notre Dame College have the biggest movement from the end of last season, with both clubs moving up 2 spots, respectively. The new feature of the Top 5 Bubble Teams will be sure to keep things interesting and competitive down the stretch, but also with the intention of showcasing deserving teams of honorable mention. The first five clubs to begin their campaign just outside the Top 20 are: Ohio State, Notre Dame, Mary Washington, Utah Valley & Indiana.
This new season highlights some club and coaching movements that have materialized since the end of last year. D1A Rugby would also like to welcome Mary Washington University to the East Conference. The former D1AA Champions have decided to advance their upward trending progress, and join the league for the 2019/20 season and beyond. Utah Valley State have decided to join the Rocky Mountain Conference, moving from the pool of Independent Clubs last year. Along with the University of Buffalo moving the herd to the Liberty (Empire) Conference from the East Conference, previously. Some notable club departures from the D1A Rugby division are: University of Arkansas, Wheeling Jesuit University, University of Delaware and Arizona State. Good luck to those aforementioned clubs on your prospective seasons.
This past summer was a very busy one if you were a head coach, with many notable movements across the nation.
Confirmed New Head-Coaches across the division:
- San Diego State (Jason Merrill)
- Grand Canyon (Sean O’Leary)
- Michigan (Matt Trenary – New this year, but former club HC)
- Utah Valley State (Eric Swapp)
- Colorado State (Mose Timoteo)
- Wisconsin (Kurtis Shepherd)
The D1A schedule has been consistently jam-packed year over year, with each conference gaining strength in numbers, experience and competition. With a breakdown of each conference’s schedule, please visit the d1arugby.com website under Schedule. From there, the page is an easy scroll to see which conferences bolster specific matches on certain weekends. And with that note, a great segway into the previous matchups that have already played out this fall season, certainly have not disappointed at the beginning of the 2019/20 D1A campaign.
Stony Brook had defeated Albany 24-12 at home for the inaugural kickoff matchup of the season. This close score certainly marks two evenly matched teams that will have their hands full during their entire fall conference play. The other match of the previous weekend was a startling victory with Iona beating Indiana 33-5, at Bloomington, IN. A close game in the first half only had Iona leading 7-0 by halftime, but a few strategy adjustments and pep talks sent them soaring past Indiana 26-5 in the second half.
This upcoming weekend consists of a multitude of premium and heavy-hitting matchups across the conferences:
Saturday, September 7th
- #5 Navy at #18 St. Bonaventure – 1:00PM EDT
- #21 Ohio State at #22 Notre Dame – 1:00PM EDT
- #12 Kutztown at #23 Mary Washington – 1:00PM EDT
- Buffalo at Albany – 1:00PM EDT
- Syracuse at Brockport – 1:00PM EDT
- Stony Brook at Rhode Island – 1:00PM EDT
Sunday, September 8th
- #17 Notre Dame College at #19 Wisconsin – 11:00AM CDT