August 31, 2017
NIRA Preseason Rankings
NAtional Intercollegiate Rugby Association Release
MARSHFIELD, Mass. – The National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA) announced the 2017 preseason coaches poll as voted on by the league’s head coaches. The Bobcats from Quinnipiac University were selected as the preseason favorites to defend their 2016 NIRA crown.
The Bobcats were unanimous favorites in the number-one position and return seven All-American selections to the squad, including 2017 MA Sorensen Award Winner, Ilona Maher. The squad begins their quest to defend their back-to-back titles as they open their 2017 campaign on Saturday against Army.
Last year’s National runner-ups Central Washington University were picked to finish second this fall. The Wildcats will play host to Quinnipiac on the first weekend of October in a rematch of last year’s national championship. Just two weeks after that, the team will head east to face Quinnipiac again and also take on a talented Army team.
Coming in at the number three position are the Black Knights of Army West Point. The Black Knights return several key players including sophomore Bayleigh Gable who earned All-American honors in her freshman campaign. The Black Knights have a tough schedule this fall with ten of their 11 contests coming against nationally ranked programs.
Dartmouth College was selected to finish fourth overall after finishing the 2016 campaign in the five slot. The Big Green has won the Ivy 15s Championship in consecutive seasons and eye a return to the NIRA postseason in 2017. The group is slated to take on Quinnipiac in their home opener on September 9.
Rounding out the top five is American International College (AIC). The Yellow Jackets will look to captains Bridget Kahele, Allyson Pothier and Kayla Clark to lead the program this fall. AIC takes on Army to open the season on September 8 and will welcome the Quinnipiac Bobcats to Springfield, Mass. on Saturday, September 30.
The full NIRA preseason rankings can be found below.
Central Washington University
Army West Point
American International College
Notre Dame College
West Chester University
University of New England
Sacred Heart University
Mount St. Mary’s University
Long Island University, Post
About the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association
The National Intercollegiate Rugby Association is comprised of 17 member institutions. Each of these institutions sponsor NCAA rugby at their respective divisional levels and are committed to the expansion of women’s rugby at the highest level with eventual full sponsorship by the NCAA as a championship sport.
For more information on NIRA please visit ncaacollegerugby.org