DENVER – After six matches and four lightning delays, Penn State clinched the 2015 USA Rugby College 7s Women’s Division I National Championship at University of Denver Sunday.
In a rematch of the 2015 USA Rugby College 15s Women’s Division I National Championship at Fifth Third Bank Stadium at Kennesaw State University earlier this month, the Nittany Lions met Central Washington in the Cup Final. Cassidy Meyers scored more than 40 points on the weekend and accounted for 11 in the losing effort to Penn State to earn Most Valuable Player honors.
“For me, personally, a game is a game,” the MVP said. “On any day, any team is beatable. It just so happens that [Penn State’s] been playing sevens a little bit longer than we have; they’ve been playing all season.
“I’m really proud of where our team was. I can’t complain because it was a long weekend. We weren’t as fit as we wanted to be, but we’ll be back next year.”
Penn State got the ball rolling in the first minute of the match when Kyla Chipman broke the gain line deep in her own half and did not stop until she put the ball down in-goal on the other side of the pitch.
Though Central Washington responded within two minutes, the Nittany Lions controlled the first half to lead, 28-7, at the break. Capped Eagle Meya Bizer added on to her first-half try with 13th- and 16th-minute scores, while Girls High School All-American presented by Serevi standout Tess Feury delighted the crowd at full back. After Feury was substituted, Meyers, Ashley Rolsma, and Asinate Serevi dotted down to bring the final score to 46-27.
“The way a team plays 15s and the way a team plays sevens is completely different,” Bizer said. “We didn’t see it as a rematch or anything; we just saw it as an opportunity to play [Central Washington].”
Penn State missed out on the 2013 College 7s Cup Final, instead placing third with an impressive, come-from-behind victory against Cal in that year’s Third-Place Match. Though the Nittany Lions played the majority of their sevens in the fall, Kate Daley’s young women put their heads down in the spring to sweep the 2015 Women’s Division I National Championships.
“It feels really amazing,” Bizer said post-match. “Penn State’s never won a sevens national championship before, so this is a first for our program and we’re trying to set a standard.”
Cal, Stanford, and Virginia were each considered contenders for the DI title after pool play, though Cup Quarterfinal matchups with Penn State and Central Washington for the Cardinal and Golden Bears, respectively, knocked two out of the tournament.
Meyers saved the Wildcats from playing in the Third-Place Match with a last-second try in the Cup Semifinal against the Cavaliers, who ended up losing to Princeton to finish fourth.
Rutgers was shut out by Virginia in the Cup Quarterfinal, but Ken Pape’s team responded with an inspired victory against Cal in the Plate Semifinal before losing the Stanford in the Final.
Air Force followed a 1-2 pool play campaign with the Bowl, defeating North Carolina and UC Davis in the process. Humboldt State also went undefeated on day two to claim the Shield.
Penn State’s Cup Final triumph, originally broadcast live from Ciber Field on ESPN3, will be replayed on ESPNU at 9 p.m. MT Monday, May 25.