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Day one at the Penn Mutual College Rugby Championships in Chester, Pa. started out overcast but by the afternoon, the sun came out to shine brightly on Penn State, Life, Lindenwood, and the NSCRO Select Side. Each team swept their respective pool in the women’s division and advanced to the cup quarterfinals Saturday morning.
The cup quarterfinal pairings are:
- Penn State vs 8. Boston University
- Life vs 7. Navy
- Lindenwood vs 6. Virginia Tech
- NSCRO vs 5. Notre Dame
Pool A saw Life go 3-0 racking up a +152 point differential to take the second seed in the cup round. The Running Eagles beat Virginia Tech and Bloomsburg by a total of 77-0 and then crushed Drexel 75-0 in the final game hoping to secure enough points for the #1 seed. After an opening game loss to Life, Virginia Tech recovered to knock off Drexel and Bloomsburg to advance as the sixth seed.
"It was another very challenging first day and it started with our toughest opponent," Life head coach Rosalind Chou said. "We were very impressed with Virginia Tech's ability to catch, pass, make their tackles, and put defensive pressure on us to contain us. It was a great match to start out to get us in the groove and make sure we are here and tuned in to play." Life plays Navy in the cup quarterfinals.
Fresh off its USA College 7s championship, Lindenwood dispatched each opponent in Pool B by a combined score of 126-0. The point differential slotted the Lions in the third position and will face Navy in the cup quarterfinals. Boston University, Virginia, and Delaware each finished Friday with 1-2 records with tiebreaker coming down to the differential. Boston beat Virginia 20-15 in its last match to finish ahead of the Cavaliers by two points to advance as the eighth seed.
Speaking on pool play, Lindenwood head coach Billy Nicholas said, "We came out, took one match at a time, looked to go out in each match and make some improvements. We are happy with how day one went and how we executed. We have to just keep getting better every match and focus on one match at a time."
After finishing second at the USA College 7s, Penn State put a hurting on Pool C dominating Navy 29-0, Kutztown 64-0, and Clemson 74-0. The Nittany Lions’ amazing +167 differential earned them the top overall seed in the cup quarterfinals. Navy grabbed the seventh seed with wins over Kutztown and Clemson and it will play Life in quarterfinals.
Describing her team's day, Navy head coach Kate Daley said, "I thought we came out kind of slow against Navy and we definitely almost let them get on the board. We continually improved and tried to push the pace of the games. I feel good about what we've done today, but obviously, everything is going to be harder from here on out... Tomorrow, we need to play simply, move the ball, and make our tackles. I don't think we have to anything special, just play good fundamental rugby."
With only a few practices under its belt, the NSCRO Select Side started with a 15-7 win over Notre Dame and steadily got better throughout the day. It beat Temple next by the score of 27-0 and then laid into East Stroudsburg in its last test, 42-0, to take the fourth seed. Notre Dame rebounded from its loss to NSCRO to not surrender another point and beat Temple and ESU by a combined score of 68-0. By how the seeding worked out, Notre Dame will get a rematch against NSCRO in the cup quarterfinals.
The cup rounds start early Saturday morning in Talen Energy Stadium at 8:20 am. The quarterfinals will be broadcasted on ESPN 2 and ESPN+.