2019 Penn Mutual CRC Day 1 Women's Recap - Collegiate Rugby Championship
By on

As the first day of the 2019 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship came to a close, two things were clear: First, the three powerhouses of Penn State, Life, and Lindenwood were in as good of form in 2019 as each has been for the last three years. And, second, they have some company in the form of the 2011 CRC champion, Army. The Black Knights return to the CRC for the first time since 2014. In 2011, the cadets of West Point marched undefeated through the contest and bested Penn State in the final to claim both the fifteens and sevens national titles. 2014, however, proved considerably less fruitful, finishing ninth.

This year, Army entered the CRC having won two sevens tournaments and finishing third in two others. That experience proved invaluable as the Black Knights stunned the NSCRO Select Side in their first match of the day. That Army won is not a huge surprise. That Army won 38–0, however, is. From there, it was a powerful run through Pool D and into the fourth seed in the quarterfinal for Army as neither Kutztown (38–0) nor Northeastern (34–0) could muster a point in opposition. NSCRO managed to right the ship after the loss to the academy, dropping both Northeastern (24–0) and Kutztown (47–0) without conceding a point in defense. The results were good enough to see the 2018 semifinalists through to the quarterfinals as the sixth seed. The third seed in Pool D was decided by the result of the opening match between Northeastern and Kutztown, in which the Huskies defeated the Golden Bears (34–5). Northeastern enters challenge trophy competition as the top seed. Kutztown, on the other hand, is the sixth seed in the trophy competition.

As impressive as Army’s shutout run in pool play was, the Black Knights were not the only side to keep its opponents scoreless. The three-time runner-up and 2018 champion Lindenwood Lions cruised through Virginia Tech (34–0), Queens University (53–0), and St. Joseph’s (62–0) to post a +149 points differential and top Pool A. The Lions head into the quarterfinal as the second overall seed and will face a rematch with the Hokies after Virginia Tech crushed St. Joseph’s (42–0) and got by Queens University (19–10). Queens claimed the third seed in the challenge trophy competition by besting St. Joseph’s (29–5) and will take on Kutztown. The Hawks end up the seventh seed for the trophy and will have to get by a dangerous Delaware squad that is sorely disappointed to not be in the quarterfinal.

The reason Delaware was unable to reach the top eight was that it could not overcome the stiff competition in Pool C. At the top of the pool was 2016 & 2017 champion Life. The Running Eagles secured the third overall seed with a 31–10 victory over the University of Notre Dame, followed by shutout wins over Delaware (40–0) and Temple (71–0). Life’s reward for its hard work is maybe the toughest quarterfinal draw, which pits Life against NSCRO. The Fighting Irish, who also advanced out of Pool C into the quarterfinals, will shed no tears for the Running Eagles, as Notre Dame looks up from the eighth seed at the top-seeded Nittany Lions of Penn State for a quarterfinal opponent. The women from South Bend booked their quarterfinal birth through victories over Temple (31–10) and Delaware (25–12). The Fighting Irish advance to the quarterfinal for the second consecutive season, having finished fifth a year ago. The Fightin Blue Hens’ win over the Temple Owls (29–7) to start pool play proved the decider for the third-place spot in the pool. The Owls will face the fourth-seed Drexel in the first match on Saturday to kick off the challenge trophy competition. Delaware gets St. Joseph’s in the afternoon as the challenge trophy second seed.

As impressive as Army, Life, and Lindenwood were on Day 1, none came close to putting up the numbers that the three-time champion (2013, 2014 & 2015) Nittany Lions posted. To say Penn State plowed through the competition would be an understatement. Last year, Penn State cruised through pool play with a combined scoreline of 167–0. While they only posted one shutout this year, the Nittany Lions came within two points of tying the all-time record for most points in pool play, which was set by Life in 2017 at 189. Penn State went 187–17, defeating Navy in a close contest (24–10) before blowing the doors off Bloomsburg (79–0) and Drexel (84–7). The Middies also advanced to the quarterfinals by shutting out Drexel (41–0) and Bloomsburg (32–0). The Naval Academy claimed the fifth overall seed and will square off against the bitter rivals from West Point in the quarterfinals.

With the top four seeds having each won at least one CRC championship, the race to the 2019 championship will be breathtaking. The action gets underway inside Talen Energy Stadium on Saturday morning at 8:00 am. The Drexel vs. Temple match along with all of the cup quarterfinal matches will stream live on ESPN+.

Recommended for you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *