MANASSAS, Va. – James Madison Women’s Rugby Club will be making its second consecutive appearance at the College 7s National Championship after winning the NOVA Collegiate 7s.
James Madison swept through the competition, eventually beating a well-respected University of Virginia club 21-0 in the final. It was the third time on the afternoon James Madison did not allow its opponent to score after already posting shutouts against both Boston College and John Hopkins while scoring an eye-popping 79 points in the process.
The team’s defensive prowess had been an emphasis for the club leading up to the NOVA 7s.
“Going into the weekend, defense was our main focus, “said James Madison’s All-American Stephanie Goetz. “That is the area we wanted to excel at. I think having a strong defense helped create offensive opportunities for us.”
James Madison hopes to take the momentum gained from their 4-0 performance at the NOVA 7s to Nationals, where they placed fifth last year. Unfortunately, James Madison will attempt to build on last year’s successful play at Nationals without leader and 2012 All-Tournament Selection Goetz – she will be in France on a rugby tour with the USA Rugby AIG Women’s Collegiate All-Americans. Goetz downplayed the importance of her absence at Nationals, and is still very confident her teammates will make a run at a National Championship.
“I don’t think it will have too big of an impact,” said Goetz. “We are very strong and well-rounded with or without me. There were times at [the NOVA 7s] that I wasn’t playing and we were doing just fine. I still expect a really strong performance at Nationals.
“I’m really proud of how everyone played,” Goetz added. “We’d only had a couple weeks of sevens practice this year, so we were really happy with the outcome. We hope to keep improving and build from where we left off last season.”
James Madison now joins the University of Texas and UC Berkeley as the three women’s clubs that have won automatic qualifying tournaments to the 2013 USA Rugby College 7s National Championship.