The Women of Penn State regained their title as National Champions, and Norwich earned that title for the second time in 6 months in a thrilling day of Women's Collegiate rugby.
Penn State produced a dominant second half to retain the title they lost last year to Army. Sadie Anderson was electric for the Nittany Lions scoring two tries to pull away from Stanford for the 32-12 win in the Emirates Airline USA Rugby DI Women’s College National Championship.
The game was more closely contended than the score line suggests. The first half resembled two heavyweight fighters exchanging blows as Penn State and Stanford attacked each other with nothing to lose. Stanford got on the board first in the 24th minute with a sensational try by Olabisi Ibrahim, who displayed fantastic footwork and power to open the scoring. Anderson and Penn State answered back with a try to make it even just three minutes later. Stanford struck after five more minutes with a converted try from Fly-half Jamie Lawrence. Going into the break, Stanford held on to a 12-10 lead and it was anyone’s game.
The championship match was a tale of two halves however, and Penn State’s power and tenacity would prove to be the difference. Stanford had trouble putting together consistent phases due to State’s smothering defense. The Nittany Lions attack became relentless, and Stanford couldn’t keep the pace. Fly-half Kasey Ferlic put in a performance worthy of her MVP award, controlling Penn State’s pattern of play, leading to five unanswered second half tries. Final score Penn State 32 – Stanford 12.
Penn State has now won the DI National Championship five times since 2004, and are the team with the most National Championships since the event started in 1991 with seven titles to their name.
The DII Championship match was a different story all together. From the opening kickoff Norwich dominated every aspect of play over a strong, but out-matched Winona State in an 82-12 thrashing.
Rebekah Bernheim, Emily Oor, and Emily Baugus were outstanding for the Norwich Cadets, scoring a brace of tries between them. Orr produced quick ball at Scrum Half all day for Baugus to distribute at 10. The Cadet’s pace and precision in the backs would prove too much to handle for Winona’s defense.
Winona St got on the board in the 22nd minute through their scrappy Scrum Half Georgia Porter. The Black Katts were actually quite effective on offense and defense, but Norwich was excellent in support and offloads in the tackle.
For all Winona’s efforts, it was not enough to contain the 13 try onslaught the Cadets produced. Norwich was clinical in the way they controlled the game, in large part due to the leadership and tenacity of Cadet captain Katie Hathaway who took home the MVP honors.
The DII Championship concludes a dream season for Norwich, who won the inaugural Women’s College Sevens National Championship just 6 months ago in College Station, Tex.
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Women’s DI College National Championship
Penn State 32
Tries: Anderson (2), Ferlic (2), Pheil,
Tries: Ibrahim, Lawrence
Women’s DII College National Championship
Tries: Bushey, Clark(2), Annis (2) Vogt, Oor (2), Bernheim(2), Dwyer, Champagne (2)
Cons: Baugus (5), Clark
Drop Goal: Baugus
Winona State 12
Tries: Porter, Zimmer
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