East Coast Top 20

Written By Ad-minion 002

Let's start with a disclaimer - in the world of the ad-minions, those magical creatures who tend to the gears of the EGRL machine, good is the enemy of great but so is perfect...so while we work toward great, we never wait until it's perfect and so the following isn't; if you can just accept this fact read on!

Caveat 1 - Subjective/Objective

In this ad-minion's opinion, Girls HS rugby in the US is neither organized well enough, nor consistent enough year over year to do a completely objective Top 20. So, while we recognize the uphill battle faced by the popular voices in the space such as GRR (who recently profiled our opener at RSS) and TRB who has been a big supporter of EGRL  in capturing the landscape of the Girls HS game, a recent request from a tourney director gave us a crazy idea:  we can add value to the conversation of where teams stack up and in-so-doing, take another step in our mission of creating a premier platform for the Girls HS game...so we did.

Caveat 2 - "Only" The East Coast

To be clear, we have decided to stay in our lane., which geographically is currently the East Coast. So while we might speculate where our best stack up against the best in other strong regions like the Mountain States or the West Coast, until we have a footprint there and can make an honest assessment, we'll leave those squads out of our rankings. It is important to note however, that even though not all East Coast power teams play within the EGRL, we still want those who are playing high level to be seen and ultimately succeed, so we've tried to be balanced in what we know of those teams and include them when we feel they've earned it. 

Last, although we see a lot of what's going on up and down the EC, we fully recognize the possibility that we've missed a great team ENTIRELY. With that, we invite all readers to get any hidden gems on our radar with a comment or an email (we'd love to watch their film and know a few teams who ALWAYS welcome friendlies in hopes to push the bar higher). Until then, we will work from what we know and try to make it clear when we are going on limited information.

We hope to publish this at least quarterly....we'll do our best.

Rankings - Q1 2024

1 - Aspetuck Valley, CT

Aspetuck Valley ended 2023 on the upswing, peaking at just the right time. Not only did they make noise at nationals, they also won the EGRL championship knocking off 2 tough teams in the process. The have added a few key players, made some positional changes that compliment players' natural talents and lost only a handful to graduation. That means, with a core group of seniors that can punish opponents combining with a few VERY promising youngsters and they've got a strong and balanced lineup with just enough depth to be resilient against the ebbs and flows of player availability, something that has been a bit of a vulnerability in the past. We are expecting big things from them and have given them the initial number 1 ranking because of it. Of course, they'll have to get through Charlotte and others at the Gonzaga tourney to prove unlike Sports Illustrated, the EGRL #1 ranking doesn't come with a "curse".

1 - Charlotte Cardinals, NC

Perennially strong with talent to spare, Cardinals could EASILY have been given the sole number 1 ranking. Team Tice (coaches) have lots of talent to work with in a core group of seniors who form the base of size, strength, skill and physicality that most teams dream of building on. Coming off a solid showing at Nationals in 2023 they've already showed at both Ruggerfest NC and Rugby Showcase South (Guilford) that they can run with just about anyone again this year. We will know in a few weeks who is the sole number 1 on the East Coast, and this team could be it.

3 - Clayton/RRH, NC

Every once in a while you catch lightning in a bottle...and that might be what is happening at Clayton-Raleigh. The long and short of it is Raleigh had some very talented players but a real numbers problem. Clayton on the other hand was young but growing stronger all year last year. With that, it made total sense to combine for a season, allowing everyone to win...and they are. In fact, our records show it's about the only thing they're doing. If they've lost a game this year, we don't know about it and they are putting up big points in the process. After a strong showing in Ruggerfest NC, they breezed into RSS Guilford and right past some strong competition with a win against West Carroll and a blank-sheet W against Morris, securing them the 3 spot in our rankings.

4 - Downingtown, PA

We weren't sure what to expect from Downingtown in 2024. They lost a few key players to graduation but, on the flipside, had a very promising group of players who were starting to shine and looked ready to step into leadership roles near the end of 2023. They play a physical brand ,but also have the skill to see, create and exploit space. They may have had the toughest schedule of the weekend at RSS-Guilford and didn't back down for a second. So even though they left 1-2 on the weekend, they faced and pushed BOTH Aspetuck and Charlotte and gained our respect in the process. Their lineup is a little light in numbers for the long and grueling road that is the 15s season of a dual PA and EGRL squad, so they'll have to manage training loads to stay healthy, but if they do, they're going to give opponents everything they can handle.

5 - West Carroll, MD

West Carroll may have some of the top individual talent on the East Coast. They have players who play with a ferocity that is legendary and still a continuity that leaves opponents reeling. In plain English, when they are healthy and have a full lineup, they can compete with anyone. However, therein lies the other side of the coin -- with a light lineup in terms of numbers and against the backdrop of a full contact sport, losing a key player or two comes with real risk for the outcome. It's possible this was a factor at RSS-Guilford where they too went 1-2 on the weekend. However, since no one really cares who wins the beginning of a race, we've got them at 5 making the bet that they will get healthy, pick up a player or two and see a few of the next 11 fill-in to support their "fearsome foursome".

6 - Morris, NJ

Morris is a bit of a tough-call when it comes to ranking their 2024 squad. They lost a big and strong senior class, but they gained a talented group of freshman. On experience it's a net-loss, but effort and teamwork can close gaps FAST. Morris also has something many other teams don't...numbers. With a lineup pushing close to 40 in number, depth is pretty handy week in and week out. However, as is the case with any young team, we expect them to have to work very hard for every "W". With wins against a couple Southern US teams as well as a recent win against the reigning state champions of PA (Knightmares) it's clear that they have what it takes to win however it won't be a straight line to the top...it never is. The Gonzaga tourney will tell us a lot about how this team can come together.

7 - Belmont, MA (non-EGRL)

We've heard a fair amount about this team and know they've put some talented players onto solid collegiate rosters. HOWEVER, we haven't seen them play outside of state competition and so can't in good conscience rank them above other teams who are traveling and playing with success year over year. We could be WAY off here, were excited to see them listed for the Gonzaga tourney and can't wait to eat our words if they walk in and blow up the competition. With that, we've got them at 7 as a hat tip to their success in previous years, but they are still a wild card at the moment.

8 - Hough Huskies, NC (non-EGRL)

Not unlike Belmont, we've got scores from Ruggerfest that look solid and therefore can't ignore this squad...however we also know that a tourney many teams use to knock off the rust, it never tells the whole story. For example, it's possible that they, like several others, had a stacked lineup of guest players or had the benefit of playing near home. We don't really know here, but think they deserve the benefit of the doubt after notching 3 wins, 2 against teams we know.

9 - Doylestown, PA

We are anxious to see how this team comes together in 2024. They travelled light to RSS-Guilford and it showed in a few setbacks but if there is anything we've learned over the years it's that you should NEVER count them out. We were expecting to learn a lot about last weekend but unfortunately the frozen tundra of Corning, NY meant it would've been unsafe and so the weekend was a scratch. Our take is that the combination of a few top-notch seniors and stand out sophs, Doylestown only needs one or two things to go their way for them to click like they did as a "2023 EGRL Top 4". We know what committed players, coaches and families can do once the wheels start turning...and they've got all 3...and a cool trailer...and a blow up dragon.

10 - North Bay, MD

North Bay rounds out the top 10 in round 1 of our rankings because they've got a lot of the right boxes checked. A solid group of seniors in key positions that can change a game. We saw them in an early season scrimmage against Morris and although the result didn't go their way, the "big rocks" were in place. With a little polish, experience and the bonds of teamwork - all things they are getting right now while doing a little preseason in Ireland - we expect them to surprise some people.


Vote Getters 11-20*

Corning (NY), Orchard Park (NY), Knightmares (PA), Play Rugby USA (NY),  Raleigh Cobras (NC), Vienna (VA), Wando, (SC), ATL Valkyries (GA), New Hampshire All Stars, Moon Area (PA)

*Not in Ranked Order - More Game Results needed

Teams on the Watch list 

Lady Rebels (GA), Charlotte Tigress (NC)