2016 Women’s Penn Mutual CRC Day 1 Recap
By: Cutler Klein and Connor McCollum
The first day of Women’s Collegiate Rugby Championship action in the shadows of Talen Energy Stadium was full of hard hits, some familiar dominant teams and some surprisingly skilled teams.
The defending champions Penn State got the day started with a 32-5 defeat of the NSCRO Select side. Amanda Berta got the Nittany Lions on the board in an instant,, scoring the first two tries en route to the victory. Berta did the same thing again in their second match against Rutgers, notching the first two tries and starting a scoring onslaught that ended in a 49-0 rout. Penn State finished the day with a 38-0 victory over Delaware, outscoring their opponents 119 to 5 in total.
Another strong team that got their game going early was Life, winners of the 2015 Challenge Cup. Life hit their stride early in their opening match versus Michigan. The Running Eagles scored early and often as they opened the scoring a minute into the match after a few nifty steps and some swift play down the wing. Michigan were constantly on the defensive as Life continued to press down the pitch. Life held a comfortable 21-0 lead at the half and cruised in the second half, winning it 38-7. They followed that up with a 43-0 win over Temple and a 40-0 win over Notre Dame. Look out for the Running Eagles to take a shot at the title.
Both Lindenwood and Navy had strong days as well, despite not having the completely lopsided point differentials of Penn State and Life. Each went 3-0 in their pools, and played phenomenal rugby, handily winning each of their games. Navy only found a slight challenge from Princeton in their opening match, but they won that one 14-5. It took a couple matches for Lindenwood to hit their stride, but they finished the day strong, defeating Arizona 32-0.
A team that came out and surprised the crowd was the Ohio State Buckeyes. Their only loss came against pool winner Lindenwood, but they dominated their other matches, winning 12-5 over Arizona and beating Kutztown 29-12. Kutztown had another disappointing run in pool play, finishing third in their pool and once again competing in the Challenge over the weekend instead of for the Cup.
Now, the top eight teams set their sights on the Cup knockout rounds. Based on tiebreakers, Life claimed the top seed and a date with Michigan in the Women’s Cup Quarterfinals. Penn State got the second seed and will play Ohio State. The Nittany Lions will be the obvious favorites, but the if the Buckeyes can get on a roll, it could be an interesting match. Lindenwood had a strong finish to the first day, and so did NSCRO Selects, so their matchup will be one to watch as well. Finally, Navy taking on Princeton will pit two Pool C foes against each other. Navy took their first meeting, but don’t expect Princeton to keel over easily in this one.
The Women’s Challenge Quarterfinals will get underway at 9 AM inside Talen Energy Stadium, and continue at 11:20 on Academy Field Two, while the Quarterfinals will be played on Field Two at 11:40 and 2:20 on Field One.