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Advancement to the cup quarterfinals came down to the final pool play matches at the 2018 Penn Mutual College Rugby Championships at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pa. With scoring system in place giving three points to a win, two points for a tie, and a point for a loss and the pool winners automatically advancing, only two at large teams moved to the cup rounds. The three ties in the early action turned out to be important points for the squads involved.

In the end, Arizona, Lindenwood, Dartmouth, Life, UCLA, and Navy won their pools to earn spots in the cup quarterfinals. With a draw against Dartmouth and important wins over Temple and Kutztown, Iona secured seventh seed and Penn State was the best of the 2-1 teams to wrap up the eighth seed.

The cup quarterfinal pairings are:

  1. Life vs 8. Penn State
  2. Arizona vs 7. Iona
  3. UCLA vs 6. Dartmouth
  4. Navy vs 5. Lindenwood

Lindenwood won Pool A with a 3-0 record with victories over St. Joseph’s, Wisconsin, and Mount St. Mary’s. Led by Deion Mikesell and Wesley White with three tries apiece, the Lions are the fifth seed in the cup quarterfinals. The Hawks of St. Joseph’s took second going 1-1-1 and beat out Wisconsin on point differential. First year entrant Mount St. Mary’s put forth a valiant effort but ended going winless on the day.

One of the special moments of the day occurred prior to the start of the St. Joseph’s versus Lindenwood match when there was a moment of silence for Mark Dombroski, who tragically passed away earlier this year. In his honor, the tournament MVP award was renamed the Mark Dombroski Most Valuable Player Trophy.

Arizona ran away with Pool B scoring 96 points in dominating wins against Indiana, South Carolina, and Boston College. The Wildcats’ +82 point differential earned them the second seed and will face Iona in the quarterfinals. Hoping for a better result, Indiana’s 1-1-1 record landed it in second place slightly ahead of South Carolina. The Hoosiers’s win over Boston College and tie versus the Gamecocks got them to second. The Golden Eagles finished in third with a 0-3 record.

The closest group of the day was Pool C as Dartmouth and Iona will advance to the cup quarterfinals. The Big Green and the Gaels began the day with a 12-12 draw and won their remaining matches against Kutztown and Temple for 2-0-1 records. Dartmouth’s +31 point differential won it the pool and Iona secured the seventh seed as one of the at large bids. The disappoint of the tournament was Kutztown after it went 1-2 in the pool play following the Bears third place finish at the USA Rugby College 7s two weeks ago.

With a 38-5 win over Notre Dame, Life put the finishing touches on the day with a perfect 3-0 record and the top seed overall. Four Running Eagles scored more than 15 points in the three games with Harley Wheeler and Austin White scoring three tries each. Penn State ended its day with wins against Air Force and Notre Dame and its +36 point differential beat out Arkansas State and Central Washington for the eighth seed. Air Force’s lone victory came against the Fighting Irish to end pool play at 1-2.

Pool E was very competitive with UCLA, Arkansas State, Virginia Tech and Delaware.  The Bruins emerged to win the group. UCLA beat the Hokies by ten points, the Red Wolves by five, and then blew out the Blue Hens in the last game of Saturday. Arkansas State’s 2-1 record had it in contention for the final playoff spot but Penn State beat them on point differential. Virginia Tech was in every game it played but only came out on the winning end once. Delaware struggled all day going winless.

The victor of Pool F was decided in the second to last match between Central Washington and Navy. The teams exchanged high tackle yellow cards in the match, but Navy took advantage with two tries to end the first half then dominated possession in the second while a man down. Navy added one more try late to win 24-7 and seal the pool. The rivalry of service academies continued this year as the Midshipmen trounced Army, 26-7. The Black Knights recovered to beat Maryland in their final match of the afternoon.