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No. 2 Bonnies headed to Virginia for regional round of women’s rugby national playoffs

Nov 10, 2023

Meredith PykeMeredith Pyke doesn’t know what to expect when her Bonnies face East Stroudsburg in the South Region semifinals of the Collegiate Rugby Championship national small-college playoffs.

St. Bonaventure (7-0) faces ESU (4-1) at 2 p.m. Saturday at Culpeper, Virginia. The teams didn’t have any common opponents and there isn’t much game film to study. Truth is, that makes preparing a little easier.

“All you can do is stick to your plan and control what you can control,” Pyke, the Bonnies’ second-year coach, said. “You don’t worry about the playing conditions or what the other team might do.”

Ranked No. 2 in the National Collegiate Rugby small-college poll, the Bonnies will get a chance on Sunday to avenge last fall’s 31-10 regional semifinal loss to Lee University should they defeat East Stroudsburg. Lee (4-1), the 2022 national 15s runner-up, plays Hofstra in the other semifinal.

The title game is scheduled for 10 a.m. Sunday. The winner of each of the four regional pods will advance to the final four in Houston Dec. 2-3.

The Bonnies laid waste to their regular-season opponents, but a hard-fought road win over Cortland in the Upstate New York Collegiate Rugby Conference title game Oct. 29 was important to prep the team for tougher competition ahead, Pyke said.

“I think that can be a difference maker for us, knowing we can hold our own in an evenly matched game,” Pyke said. “And having the experience of being at regionals last year will help, too. It’s not new this time. The girls are very excited and feel confident. Not cocky, just confident in their ability.”

The regional games will be livestreamed through the Veo Live app. Viewers need to download the Veo Live app through their mobile app store and then follow “Veo US Partnerships” to get notified once a stream has started. The app must be downloaded on a mobile device but once the video begins it can be casted onto a TV or computer.

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About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. Out of 167 regional universities in the North, St. Bonaventure was ranked #6 for value and #14 for innovation by U.S. News and World Report (2024).