The rugby and the weather were sizzling at Stanford University on day one of the Emirates Airline USA Rugby Women’s College DI & II National Championships. The finals are now set, and there is little doubt the best teams in the country will be duking it out for the title.
The action started early on Friday when National 7s Champion Norwich University took on Washington State, who won the DII Championship in 2010.
From the get go, the crowd knew this match was going to be intense. Hard hits and long runs for each team signaled a fight to the finish, but poor handling and little possession for Norwich gave Washington State the upper hand. The Cougars jumped out to a 12-0 lead in the first half, and looked to be in the drivers seat. Norwich had other ideas.
As the temperature rose and the game wore on, the fitness of the Cadets started to prove dividends. Norwich would get on the board just nine minutes into the second period when Meghan Weppner dove over the line thanks to some quick ball out of the ruck following a long run. 12-7 Washington State, but the momentum has shifted. Norwich would go on to claim the come from behind victory 28-15 in a thrilling affair.
On the other side of the DII bracket, Winona State looked strong and crisp in a 24-12 defeat of Shippensburg. The Black Katts rode the momentum from two tries from their Flyhalf Ashley Nelson, and stead attacking pressure to pull away from Ship early in the second half after leading 12-5 at the half. Winona will face Norwich for the DII title tomorrow at 1pm. The match will be web-streamed LIVE on the USA Rugby Ustream channel.
In DI, the winning teams made easier work for themselves en-route to tomorrow’s championship match. Penn State looked polished in a 46-15 dismantling of a strong Cougar Women’s Rugby (BYU) team.
The Nittany Lions used their dominant forward pack to control the Cougars, and two props: Nwakaego Onyekwere and Lauren Poole barreled over the line for tries in the first twenty minutes to set the tone of the match. The precision of the Penn St attack would ultimately be the downfall of BYU in the eight tries to three victory. Penn St will have their hands full tomorrow when they take on a Stanford outfit who also won convincingly over a strong opponent.
Stanford Coach Matt Sherman knew his team would be in for a fight against a talented Brown team. The Cardinal, however, were able to shut down the Brown attack and keep their skilled players generally at bay.
Brown Flyhalf Chelsea Garber, a skilled distributor and excellent tactical kicker, formed the core of the Brown attack, scoring the only try of the day for the Bears. Stanford’s defense proved the difference however, and the Cardinal was able to use their pace out wide to finish off several well-worked tries. Smriti Sridhar, a fleet-footed freshman wing from the Philippines burned two tries around the corner for the Cardinal. Sridhar is deceptively fast and proved too much for the Bears to contain.
Stanford will carry their home field advantage into the Championship match tomorrow when they square off against Penn State at 3pm in Steuber Rugby Stadium.
Saturday is a massive day for rugby all across America, with Stanford right in the middle of all the action. The High School Girls kick off action tomorrow as well in the Invitational Championship. Below is a full schedule of Saturday's events in Palo Alto.
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Time Activity Location
9:00 Fallbrook v Amazons Field 2
9:00 Washington St v Shippensburg Steuber
10:00 Catholic Memorial v West Carroll Field 2
11:00 DSHA v Downingtown Field 2
11:00 Women’s Cougar Rugby v Brown (Brown Forfeit) Steuber
12:00 Kent v Lakewood Field 2
1:00 HS Match 5 (SF Consol) Field 2
1:00 College Match 7 (DII Champ) Steuber
3:00 HS Match 6 (SF) Field 2
3:00 Penn St v Stanford Steuber
4:00 HS Match 7 (SF Consol) Field 2
5:00 HS Match 8 (SF) Field 2
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The entire All Blacks apparel line has been updated for 2013/14. Check out the New Zealand All Blacks polo.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Gilbert Blitz 8S rugby cleat is a great cleat at a great price of $69.99. Get a new pair of cleats today.
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The All Blacks Performance t-shirt is black with hints of blue from the training jersey. Very Cool.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.