2018 Penn Mutual CRC Day One Recap and Results - Collegiate Rugby Championship
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Day 1 of the 2018 Collegiate Rugby Championship was the start of the women’s competition. Split into four pools, the top two teams from each pool would advance to the cup quarterfinal on Day 2, with the bottom two each left to compete in the consolation bracket. Each pool started the day with a clear-cut favorite. In Pool A, the favorite was the two-time defending champion Life University. Playing with the pressure of a possible third title in as many years, Life the Running Eagles refused to look anything other than a strong contender for the crown. A somewhat tight win over Virginia Tech (22–0) proved the only difficulty for Life. The other two matches against Bloomsburg and Drexel saw Life win by a combined 129–0. Virginia Tech would also prove it belonged by dominating the remaining teams in the pool, beating Drexel 47–0 and Bloomsburg 24–0.

Despite Life’s dominance, the Running Eagles did not end up the top seed. The 74–0 win over Drexel appeared to give Life a strong chance at the top seed. With Life’s coaching staff watching both Lindenwood’s and Penn State’s last matches, it was a matter of points to determine who would snag the top seed. In Pool B, Lindenwood devoured the competition, besting Virginia (41–0), Boston (34–0), and Delaware (51–0) for a perfect Day 1. Lindenwood’s combined points total, however, was not enough to edge out Life. That honor went to the Pool C champion Nittany Lions.

Champions in 2013, 2014, and 2015, along with runner-up in 2011, few if any can boast a prouder tradition than Penn State. Despite settling for third the past two years behind Life and Lindenwood, Penn State proved ready to reclaim its place at the top with a jaw-dropping 167–0 margin of victory through three matches. That margin bested Life by more than a dozen points for the top seed.

Navy claimed the second seed out of Pool C, shaking off a first-match loss to Penn State (29–0). Victories over Clemson (33–12) and Kutztown (27–0) were enough to secure the seventh seed in the quarterfinals for Navy, booking a date with Life.

Pool D had a strong favorite in NSCRO but proved a difficult pool to call. NSCRO easily won its last two matches over East Stroudsburg (42–0) and Temple (27–0). It was the first match for NSCRO, however, that showed vulnerability. A converted try in the second half put Notre Dame in front of NSCRO 7–5 before NSCRO managed two unconverted tries to fend off the Irish (15–7). Notre Dame continued to play well and earned the second seed in the pool and fifth seed overall.

NSCRO certainly looks more vulnerable than the other top seeds. Most notably NSCRO struggled with goal kicking. Numerous conversions from in front of the post clanked off the crossbar and several more failed to threaten for points. Oddly, the best shots at goal came from NSCRO’s Dana Alimena. But following a miss off the upright, Alimena was relieved called off by the coaching staff on the next conversion attempt. If NSCRO is to put together an improbable run to Sunday’s final, better performances from the boot are necessary.

The final quarterfinal spot was claimed in one of the most exciting and seemingly improbable matches of the day. Heading into the final round of play, Boston stood winless with a tough, late loss to Delaware (12–10) and sound defeat to Lindenwood (34–0). Following Virginia’s strong showing over Delaware in the second round of games (32–19), the Cavaliers were expected to win the match. Not only did Boston win (20–15), overcoming an initial 10–0 deficit, but Boston’s victory was enough to force a three-way tie at 1–2, taking the second seed with a two-point better point differential than UVA.
The women’s quarterfinals along with the start of the men’s competition get under way Saturday morning (6/2).

2018 Penn Mutual Women's CRC

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