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  • Victoria Whydell

UMWRFC Fall XVs Season Preview

As a new month and school term begins, the players of UMWRFC return to Michigan ready to kick off another Fall XVs season - this time, following the club's most successful 7s campaign to date! Earlier this year, the Michigan women successfully defended their home turf and title of Wolverine Sevens Champions, which qualified the team for National competition at USA College 7s in Glendale, Colorado. A 15-woman squad traveled out west to challenge a tough group, including familiar foes Penn State, Davenport, and Life University - and came home as one of the top 8 teams in the country!

But, as summer came to a close, so did the Sevens season. UMWRFC switches gear to XVs rugby for the fall season with inspiring performances from the 4th place USA Eagles and the champion Black Ferns of New Zealand at the recent Women's World Cup in Ireland in mind. The team is recruiting round the clock and practicing three times a week to make this another great season of Michigan Rugby!

The first test for a Michigan squad that graduated twelve seniors this year was to welcome them back home, as UMWRFC hosted Alumnae Weekend festivities from the 8th-10th of September! The Alumnae Game is always a calendar highlight for the current squad to catch up with old friends and for the Alumnae to pull on the Maize and Blue once more. With only 5 practice sessions to prepare for this match, the players had their work cut out for them in order to prepare for the challenge of a great Alumnae roster including USA College 7s Dream Team member Megan Loomis (’17)!

The 2017 Alumnae Game was played at 7pm on Saturday, September 9th, at Mitchell Field. The final score was UMWRFC 5 – 50 Alumnae, with UMWRFC points from Holli Page, and Alumnae scores from Megan Loomis (3), Aunnica O’Brien (2), Monica Chen, Deycha Robinson, and current UMWRFC Head Coach Shaina Warner!

UMWRFC kicks off the regular season in spectacular fashion once again with a road trip to top conference contenders Penn State. The Nittany Lions boast a strong XVs squad fresh from a 6th consecutive National Championship, brimming with talent – Senior Tess Feury and Sophomore Kayla Canett were both named to the USA Eagles roster at the recent World Cup! This opening fixture also marks the first league match of 2017 for Michigan senior and club President, Gaia Cicerchia, who returns from a year of heavy behind-the-scenes work for the team following an injury. UMWRFC dropped last year's away match to Penn State, 128-0, and are working hard to ensure a better result this year!

Penn State vs. Michigan will kick off at 2pm on Saturday, September 16th, at PSU's West Fields.

Not wasting any time, UMWRFC are straight back into action the following weekend away at Davenport. Michigan have hosted Davenport recently for 7s rugby, but this will mark the first XVs match between the two sides in a few years.

Davenport vs. Michigan will kick off at 10am on Saturday, September 23rd, at Davenport’s Turf Field.

The following weekend, Michigan's first team will get a well-earned break, as a friendly B-side roundrobin tournament has been scheduled against teams from Oakland University and Traverse City. This will be a great chance for UMWRFC's newest members to dive into the game and put their hard work to the test!

Michigan B, Oakland, Traverse City will play each other in 3 games of 20-minute halves; the first game will kick off at 11am on Saturday, September 30th, at Mitchell Field.

The month of October begins with a massive sporting weekend in Ann Arbor: the football team hosts Michigan State on the 7th, then UMWRFC hosts Grand Valley the very next day. Michigan will look to avenge a XVs loss to GVSU from earlier this year, especially since this showdown is the club’s annual Pledge-a-Point fundraising match – stay tuned for updates nearer the day!

Michigan vs. Grand Valley will kick off at 11am on Sunday, October 8th, at Mitchell Field.

The following weekend sees Michigan welcoming the Clemson women as they tour the Midwest. The South Carolina squad will bring both an A and a B side to Ann Arbor for a fun afternoon full of rugby, before moving on to play Davenport a few days later. The Tigers are celebrating their team's 40th anniversary this year, as well as a return to Division I rugby as they join the Mason-Dixon League for the 2017-2018 season.

Michigan vs. Clemson will kick off at 3pm on Saturday, October 14th, at Mitchell Field.

After a brief Fall Break from classes, Michigan then play host to the Nittany Lions for the first time in over two years (Penn State played OSU and Michigan at a round-robin fixture after the league realignment in Ohio last year). There will surely be a lot to work on in the month between Michigan's matches against Penn State, and with half a season behind them, both teams are sure to come out stronger for this match.

Michigan vs. Penn State will kick off at 11am on Sunday, October 22nd, at Mitchell Field.

The next two weekends are a home-and-home series with Rutgers, as the Scarlet Knights first travel to Michigan to play an early-morning match before their football team takes on the Wolverines as well. UMWRFC split the series with Rutgers last year, but will be looking to avenge a decisive home defeat this time around. Recent alumna Sam Cooley, who spent her undergraduate years with Rutgers but joined UMWRFC last year during her post-graduate studies, is looking forward to catching up with both sides in New Jersey, where Michigan hopes to defend last season's road victory in the last regular season match of the year.

Michigan vs. Rutgers will kick off at 9am on Saturday, October 28th, at Mitchell Field.

Rutgers vs. Michigan will kick off at 11am on Sunday, November 5th, at Rutgers.

Once the regular season wraps up, Michigan will wait to find out the opposition for the final XVs match of the year at the B1G Playoffs, hosted by the University of Notre Dame on November 11th.

Follow UMWRFC’s season here on our website, or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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