STANFORD, Calif. – Penn State University won its third consecutive Women’s Division I National Championship Saturday with a 38-0 defeat of Stanford University at the Cardinal’s home field of Steuber Rugby Stadium.
The two teams played well in their respective Semifinal Friday, but the Final was all Penn State from the beginning. Capped Eagle Meya Bizer set up a lineout after a Stanford penalty with a perfectly-placed kick to touch in the 13th minute. The Nittany Lions won the lineout and set up a maul, which pushed the Cardinal backwards until Elizabeth Cairns was able to dot down for the opening try.
Minutes later, Kate Flanagan made a game-breaking run from her own half to get the Nittany Lions to Stanford’s 22. After a scrum, Bizer broke the gain line for a try between the uprights to extend the lead to 12-0.
Bizer was not just a force on the scoreboard; the fullback also delivered a crushing tackle on an unsuspecting Cardinal to turn the ball over to the Nittany Lions.
Kelsey Harris dazzled the crowd in the 38th minute with a spin-o-rama move to get Penn State to Stanford’s 22 once again. The Nittany Lions continued to push on the attack and Laura Lucas delivered the try for a 19-0 Penn State lead at halftime.
It did not get much better for Stanford, who struggled to do much with the ball at all. Penn State Head Coach Pete Steinberg said after the match his team’s focus was to be strong defensively, and it was.
Hope Rogers began her Women’s Division I MVP campaign with a try in the 43rd minute. Penn State had been knocking on the door within 10 meters of the try line and the Women’s Eagles prop dove over the line for her first try. Lauren Schissler kicked the conversion for a 26-0 lead.
The Penn State forwards punished the Cardinal throughout the remainder of the match, and Rogers scored her second try in the 54th minute by plowing through a defender into the in-goal. Schissler converted again and the Nittany Lions secured the 38-0 win following BrieiAnna Barto’s try in the 59th minute.
Penn State conceded 15 points in four matches during the Women’s Division I playoffs, all in its Round of 16 and Quarterfinal matchups against East Carolina and Army on its home pitch in State College, Pa. The Nittany Lions outscored East Carolina, Army, West Chester, and Stanford by a combined score of 293-15.
With the added incentive of playing in front of its home fans, Stanford defeated Texas A&M and Brigham Young University at Steuber Rugby Stadium the last weekend of April before winning a hard-fought match against American International in the Semifinal Friday. Matt Sherman’s squad may have been shut out in the Final, but it gave the home crowd reason to cheer with its performances throughout the 2014 Emirates Airline USA Rugby Women’s Division I National Championship.
American International College staved off a hungry West Chester University side Sunday in the Women’s Division I Third-Place Match thanks to a hat trick of tries from capped Eagle Jessica Davis.
American International’s Sophia Schwab kept her team in the match, and a late surge saw a 37-14 deficit closed to 37-31, but the Yellow Jackets ran out of time.