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Kutztown against James Madison. Jeff Uleau/Kutztown University photo

In the second stop on the ACRL 7s tour, Kutztown swept through the field in Raleigh, N.C. this weekend. Although the field was a little thin due to the absence of Maryland, Notre Dame and Clemson, Kutztown continues to impress in their quest to return to the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship final.

The field consisted of eight teams this weekend, with two groups of pool play. Unlike most tournaments, however, there were no semifinals for the Cup. The tops teams from both pools advanced directly to the Cup Final. Kutztown easily handled Wake Forest, Northeastern and James Madison, only yielding five points in the group stages.

Virginia Tech came out of its group with a 2-1 record. Despite losing to Virginia in their final game of pool play, the Hokies dismantled Ohio State and North Carolina State, and with a superior point differential earned a berth in the Cup Final.

Kutztown stormed out of the game with four tries in the first half and ran away with a 42-7 victory in the Cup Final. Using tremendous defensive pressure, most of the Bears scores came from defensive turnovers.

“Our defense has been playing so well,” Kutztown head coach Greg Jones told Rugby Today. “LC [Larry Chester] my associate head coach and I are firm believers that defense wins championships, so we really put a lot of time into that.”

Part of the Bears success lies in their incredible depth. Jones indicated that the Bears have three 7s sides and 1-12 on the A side are all extremely talented. “We have 12 athletes that from 1-12 does not drop off in talent,” Jones added. “When we put in substitutions we really don’t miss a beat.”

For the ACRL teams, it will be a fight to earn the qualifier berth to the CRC. Notre Dame and Kutztown have already received invitations, as has Virginia Tech, so it will be a battle between the remaining ACRL member teams for the conference's automatic bid to Philadelphia. There is one more tune-up in the ACRL 7s Series, next weekend at Notre Dame, before the conference championship tournament April 18-19 in Charlotte, N.C.

Pool AVirginia Tech22-14NC State
Pool AOhio State7-0Virginia
Pool BKutztown28-0Wake Forest
Pool BJames Madison26-10Northeastern
Pool ANC State 28-7Virginia
Pool AVirginia Tech34-5Ohio State
Pool BJames Madison19-17Wake Forest
Pool BKutztown28-5Northeastern
Pool AOhio State19-12NC State
Pool AVirginia 20-0Virginia Tech
Pool BNortheastern12-10Wake Forest
Pool BKutztown42-0James Madison
7th/8thVirginia17-10Wake Forest
5th/6thNortheastern19-0NC State
3rd/4thJames Madison22-14Ohio State
ChampionshipKutztown41-7Virginia Tech