University Park, Pa. – The USA Sevens Collegiate Rugby Championship Invitational turned out to be very successful for both squads. The men finished second in Pool A through two wins, besting Louisiana State and Ohio State, eventually falling to the tournament champion Dartmouth in a nail-biting finish. The Lady Ruggers captured four victories to earn its spot in the final, losing in an exciting battle against Army.
Advancement to the men’s championship bracket quarterfinals, through two wins, was much improved from last year’s event. Beating the Golden Tigers 14-7 was the first win in the tournament for the program; the 2010 Invitational sent the Ruggers home winless. Next, a come-from-behind, 12-10 victory over the Buckeye’s pushed the team through pool play and assuring its spot in the championship rounds.
The squad fell to Cal 26-7 in its final pool play game. The Lions were the first team to score on the Golden Bears for the tournament. Cal was able to shutout both Ohio State and LSU for its first contests.
Dartmouth eliminated the Ruggers 12-7 in the quarterfinal match. The Big Green went on to claim the CRC Invitational crown, subsequently beating Central Washington and Army.
Penn State was able to score in each of its contests with only Mike Erickson having multiple tries in the tournament. Erickson and Mike Cadau claimed tries against LSU while Joe Baker and Ben Janssen crossed the try-line to help best Ohio State. Captain Chris Saint tallied Penn State’s only score against Cal, as Erickson posted the lone try against Dartmouth.
Janssen’s try proved to be the most exciting play of the tournament, with his effort coming with no time left on the clock against Ohio State. The junior dove across the try-line following a breakdown one meter from the goal to put the Lions ahead as the final whistle sounded. The call was delayed to add to the thrill of the play as Ohio State’s Nate Ebner was close to holding-up Janssen. The score was subsequently confirmed by the touch-judge.
Baker had a successful tournament through his conversion kicks, slotting five of an attempted six.
On the women’s side, victories over Virginia and North Carolina, as well as two over Temple, allowed the Lions to compete for the championship. Wins over the Owls and Cavaliers ensured the top seed out of pool play, which set up for the teams other two victories over the Tar Heels and Owls again.
113 points were amassed in the 6 games played by the Lady Ruggers. Lisa Henneman contributed the most to the scoreboard, posting 38 points. The senior notched 6 tries to her credit, while making 4 conversion kicks.
Eight different Lady Ruggers crossed the try-line in the tournament. Henneman added the most with six tries, followed by Lauren Barber with four, Sadie Anderson with three, and Deven Owsiany with two. Kyle Armstrong, Bianca Dalal, and Christiane Pheil each scored once for the Lions.
Playing in the championship contest was the third title match the Lions have earned the right to compete for over a four week period (May 14 – June 5).
Penn State was also able to record two shutouts in the tournament. The Lady Ruggers blanked its first opponent on both Friday and Sunday – Temple 34-0 and North Carolina 12-0.
For more information: Jonathan Swart/Sports Information Director of Rugby/JSwart85@gmail.com