In less than two weeks, a matchup on Sept. 22 between Lovett College and Sid Richardson College will kick off the opening weekend of Rice Powderpuff.
Only South colleges will play in the Saturday games due to a scheduling change which eliminated interdivisional games between North and South colleges during the regular season. The north colleges and GSA will play their first games this Sunday.
As a result of the scheduling adjustment, the Powderpuff regular season now consists of only five games instead of seven. The top three teams in each division then qualify for a three-round single-elimination playoff where the top-seeded teams receive a quarterfinal bye. Last year’s champion, McMurtry College, is a two-time defending Powderpuff title winner.
Hanszen College, which will open its season against Wiess College Sept. 22, finished as the runner-up last season after defeating Lovett in its semifinal game, then falling short in a 12-0 championship loss to McMurtry.
Hanszen coach Frank Frankovsky said he has complete confidence in his college’s squad this season.
“Hanszen’s team is easily the best in the league, and we expect to play McMurtry again in the finals,” Frankovsky, a junior, said.
Last year’s playoff qualifiers included the aforementioned finalists McMurtry and Hanszen in addition to Lovett, Will Rice College, Martel College and Duncan College.
According to Lovett junior running back Kayla Cherry, advancing to the championship this year will require early preparation.
“We’re starting off pretty organized already, and I noticed lots of positive vibes at our preseason game,” Cherry said. “Our coaches were super helpful and our teammates cheered each other on, so I imagine the rest of the games will be the same combo of really wanting to win and supporting each other.”
Will Rice coach Asad Lalani said he is looking forward to weighing his team against the competition.
“I’m excited about the intense competition between the colleges,” Lalani, a senior, said. “Powderpuff is always exciting and new rivalries are born [each year]. However, I enjoyed the cross-college matchups between the North and South colleges [in previous years] and am sad that they won’t be happening this year.”
Will Rice’s junior captain and safety Ellen McMullen said she is uncertain about the consequence of eliminating interdivisional games during the regular season.
“It will be interesting to see how removing cross-divisional games will impact the postseason,” McMullen said.
According to McMurtry coach Davis Nelson, all of last year’s playoff teams have an excellent chance of qualifying for this year’s playoffs.
“Lots of teams are coming off of strong improvements from last season and could become real contenders,” Nelson, a junior, said. “I expect many of the historically powerful teams to continue to be relevant, but most importantly, I am excited to get after it and enjoy this season with a great group of players and coaches.”
Baker College, which narrowly missed out on making the playoffs last season, would likely have to unseat Hanszen, Lovett or Will Rice this year as a top-three team in the South division. According to Baker junior quarterback Taylor Scott, reaching the playoffs this year is a real possibility.
“I think we look the best we’ve ever been,” Scott said. “We have a strong core group of girls returning, as well as several very talented new additions.”
According to Nelson, the field is still wide open for potential champions.
“It’s way too early to call one team a clear favorite,” Nelson said.
- Will Rice
- Sid Rich