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Merlins Men and Women Enter Spring Season Playoffs
The Glendale Merlins Division I Men and Women have completed their regular season matches and are moving into the playoffs this weekend. Playing their first season in the Texas-based Red River Conference, the Men’s D1 team found their stride against unfamiliar opponents, mounting an impressive showing and completing the regular season third in conference standings. The Women’s side has also performed admirably this season under the leadership of head coach Angie Cranmore.
Photo by Justin Purdy
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The Merlins Men will travel to Austin, Texas to decide their postseason, taking on the Dallas Rugby Reds Friday evening at 7:30 MT. Head Coach Luke Gross knows the competition will be stiff, but believes his team can win: “The Reds beat us pretty badly early in the season, but we’re a different team now. The boys are playing for each other and they’re playing well.” The Merlins D1 Men have faced the Reds twice already this season, the Dallas side handily defeating Glendale’s squad in February and then squeaking out a single-point victory in the final minute of an April rematch. Gross’s game plan for Friday night is straightforward: “If we can match their physicality in the forwards, I think our backs can do some major damage.”
Glendale’s Women will enjoy home field advantage during their Saturday semifinal match, taking on Denver Black Ice on Infinity Park’s turf field at 10am MT. Having both defeated and lost to the Black Ice during the regular season, the match promises high level competition. The winner of Saturday’s game will progress to the conference final against the Utah Vipers, played Sunday at 2pm MT in Cook Park.
With Glendale’s amateur rugby season winding down, the Glendale Raptors professional team’s inaugural season in Major League Rugby is in full swing. Defeating the Seattle Seawolves on Saturday, the Raptors record remains unblemished, and the team sits atop the league standings. The Raptors travel to Salt Lake City this weekend to face the Utah Warriors. The match kicks off Saturday at 1:30pm MT, and can be watched live on AT&T Sports Net. The Raptors next home match is Sunday, May 13 at 6pm MT, when the team will host San Diego Legion.
The Red River Conference playoffs can be watched live on YouTube.