Week 24 Preview: Playoff Pushes Continue

D1A Rugby: Week 24 Preview: Playoff Pushes Continue
Photo Credit: Karen Drinkwater

With only three rounds left in the D1A Regular Season, teams are busily putting the finishing touches on their spring seasons, and their resumes as a whole. With plenty of excitement coming from the last couple or rounds, this weekend promises to deliver some equally enticing fixtures.

The round kicks off with #3 Cal taking on Santa Clara, in a cross over match on Friday night. Santa Clara has been through a myriad of ups and downs this season, and will hope they can turn their fortunes around on Friday.

In a battle of ranked independents, #17 Utah Valley will travel out to Ellensburg, Washington to take on the #11 Central Washington Wildcats. This game has massive playoff implications for both teams. The Wildcats are in a close race with Arizona to claim the fourth home game for the first round of the playoffs. A big win here could help boost their case, while a loss here could signal the end of their chances of reaching that fourth seed. For Utah Valley, they need a win here to stay within the playoff picture. If the playoffs started today they would be in the 7th seed, but with teams surging late in the season, a slip up here could see their playoff chances disappear. Both teams will have a lot on the line when they take the pitch this weekend, expect it to be a match played with a lot of intensity.

In the Mid-South, #1 Life will play #19 Davenport. Life has been forced to work hard for their wins this year, as the competition in their conference continues to grow, and they won’t expect Saturday’s fixture to be any easier. Davenport has proven to be a difficult outing in the past, and while this will be the Panthers’ first game of the Spring and there could be some rust, Life will know better than to take them for granted.

#3 Cal welcomes Utah to town for their homecoming game this weekend. Cal’s impressive streak of games, where they scored more than 100 points in every match, came to a close last weekend against #15 UCLA. While it was still a strong 81-0 victory for Cal, they’re still hungry to continue pushing through their opposition. For Utah, they’ve struggled this season going 0-2 in conference play. They have a massive task ahead of them this weekend, if they don’t want to drop to 0-3 in PAC play.

#3 Saint Mary’s will secure the California Conference this weekend with a win against Cal Poly. Boasting an impressive 9-0 record (5-0 in conference) the Gaels have been in impressive form all season; however, they’ll know they cannot discount Cal Poly. Last year, Cal Poly gave the Gaels a run for their money and will be looking for a similar, if not, improved result, from last year.

The final game of the weekend sees a crossover between San Diego State and #15 UCLA. It’s been a tough year for San Diego State, but a strong showing here could be the launchpad they are looking for to build next season’s campaign from. For UCLA, a hot start to the Spring, cooled off a bit last weekend, as they were no match for Cal. A big win here will undoubtedly get their confidence back before the playoffs.