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PHILADELPHIA — After dropping a Varsity Cup quarterfinal in fifteens to Cal, UCLA hit a lull in its schedule.
The Bruins didnt' play a single sevens match between that contest on April 19 and their arrival at the Collegiate Rugby Championship. It's not exactly the backstory you'd expect from a team that has gone 3-0 in pool play, outscoring their opponents 73-12.
"Our defense was staunch the past few games, no one has really scored on us," UCLA's Jackson Welch said. "(In the first game), we didn't really have our flow on offense. We didn't have our pattern. We were bringing the ball to the deck. (Against Northeastern), our offloads were on. That's all it takes for us to put a lot of points on the board."
In its tournament-opening game, UCLA topped Penn State 7-0 before beating Northeastern 33-12 and South Carolina 33-0.
"(Penn State and UCLA are) two group winners from last year playing against each other in the first game," UCLA's Ben Francis said. "There's always nerves. It's always a bit weird with the stadium empty. I think both sides were a bit a little bit rocky on offense and both sides defended really well. I think that was a good game of sevens and it allow us both to hit our stride. I think you'll see Penn State do pretty well today."