Penn State returns to Stanford to defend Women's Division I title

Penn State returns to Stanford to defend Women's Division I title

BOULDER, Colo. – As part of USA Rugby’s National Championship Series, the Women’s Division I Semifinals and Finals will be played at Stanford University May 9-10.

Returning to the National Round of Four are 2013 Champion Penn State University and 2013 Semifinalist Stanford University. Up-and-coming programs American International College and West Chester University join the two perennial college rugby powers to round out the Semifinals.

Stanford vs. American International – Friday May 9 5pm PST

Coming out of the West Regional at Stanford University, the Cardinal did not have to travel far to earn its place in the Semifinals, but that is not to say Stanford’s road to the national round of four was not a difficult one – having beat two tough teams in Texas A&M and Women’s Cougar Rugby. The Cardinal put away Texas A&M rather handedly, as Madeline Wilson, Sarah Houamed and Sara Maurer each scored hat tricks to pace Stanford’s 78-5 win. Women’s Cougar Rugby presented Stanford a far greater challenge in the National Quarterfinal, but Stanford’s experience won out to the tune of 26-17. The competition will only stiffen at the National Championship Series, and Stanford will need stellar performances from AIG Women’s Collegiate All-American Aly Gleason and AIG Women’s Junior All-American Maxine Fonua.

American International’s first season playing in the Division I competition has been a successful one. AIC earned a place in the Midwest Regional at Bowling Green University, where the Yellow Jackets beat a talented Indiana University side in the round of 16. In the Midwest Final, American International nearly double-upped North Carolina. Number eight Megan Pinson scored four tries, while Rosalind Pena and Darian Lovelace each added two tries. Capped Women’s Eagles prop Jessica Davis, who scored three tries during the Regional Playoffs, is one of the best front rowers in college rugby.

Penn State vs. West Chester – Friday May 9 7pm PST

Reigning Division I Champions Penn State are two wins away from winning its ninth National Championship. Excluding its Ireland Tour, Penn State is undefeated this season heading into the Semifinals. The Nittany Lions dominated its host Regional Playoff, beating East Carolina and Army by a combined 197-15. Women’s Eagles Head Coach Pete Steinberg leads a roster with limitless talent which includes capped Women’s Eagles Meya Bizer and Hope Rogers, AIG All-Americans Brie Barto and Elena Cantorna, and AIG Junior All-Americans Elizabeth Cairns, Gabriella Cantorna, Danielle Ciocco and Kelsey Harris.

After winning the Mason-Dixon Conference, West Chester, a varsity rugby program, took the Southeast Regional by storm. The Golden Rams had their way with Georgia Tech, winning 63-26 on day one. In the National Quarterfinal, West Chester received multi-try performances from Arielle Gantt and Erin Gallagher, while flyhalf Katharine Walston totaled 18 points in the Golden Ram’s 48-14 win over New Mexico. West Chester’s Semifinal match against Penn State is a rematch from last year’s round of 16 when Penn State came away with a 58-5 victory.

The Women’s Division I Semifinals will be available to view for free on USA Rugby TV. The Final, which will kick off May 10 at 5:00 P.M. PT, and consolation match, which will kick off May 11 at 8:00 A.M. PT, will also be steamed live and seen on USA Rugby TV.

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