Saturday May 6, 2017 - 1:00pm ET - Cougar Rugby News
MARIETTA, Ga. - 2016 National Champion Pennsylvania State University has again reached a Final following a 40-7 defeat of Brigham Young University Friday at the 2017 USA Rugby College 15s National Championships, setting up a Women's D1 Elite National Championship contest against Lindenwood University for Saturday, May 6.
In a rematch of last year's D1 Elite Final at Saint Mary's College, the Nittany Lions took the field against BYU in Georgia in defense of their title. The Cougars, who were narrowly defeated, 15-5, in Moraga, Calif., were up to the challenge Friday, striking first from a fifth-minute scrum in attacking territory. Full back Jessica Peterson made the touch-line conversion for Mackenzie Olsen's opener, and BYU held onto the lead through Women's Eagles Tess Feury's 15th-minute penalty kick until 30 minutes into the game.
Penn State moved into the ascendancy in terms of possession as the game grew, and was rewarded in the 28th minute when wing Sophia Pyrz took the ball over the line. Scrum half Carly Waters padded the lead to 15-7 leading into the break with a quick tap-turned-try on the final play.
The Nittany Lions continued to take the points on offer with Feury's boot on target in the 50th minute, and Head Coach Kate Daley began to utilize her reserves with the 18-7 advantage. Internationally-capped Eagles in both XVs and sevens Kayla Canett, Penn State's starting fly half, scored back-to-back tries in the span of two minutes before the end of the game. After grabbing her first by stripping a BYU ball-carrier in the tackle, she chased a kick from the 70th-minute restart and used the positive bounce for the 40-meter run to the corner. Feury brought the final score to 40-7 with a penalty kick on the final play.
Semifinal Final Score: Penn State 40 BYU 7
(National Championship Update, DI Elite 2017: Penn State 28 Lindenwood 25)
College 15s host Life University was kept scoreless in its Semifinal against the Lindenwood Lions from Missouri, and played the second consolation 3rd place matchup at Lupo Family Field 11am ET, Saturday May 6, 2017.
Life, which lost 19-3 to Lindenwood in the semifinals, and BYU played an equally entertaining match for third place. This was a historic encounter being the first time these two DI Elite Programs have ever met in USA Women's College Rugby. The teams traded the lead throughout the match. Life came off the block and took the early 12-3 lead in the first 15 minutes, through tries to Megan Rom, and Herriman Utah standout center Alex Sedrick. BYU's fullback Jessica Peterson Santanna handled kicking duties, sloted a penalty in the 7th minute and conversions for BYU. BYU No. 8 Grace Taito had a powerful performance and scored back to back tries in the 24th and 30th minute, while Tayloy Makowski of Life answered in the 37th minute with a try of her own. The score was locked at 17-17 at Half Time.
BYU scored 3 tries in second half through longtime Captain Nicole McCullough (44th min), Flanker Justina Grubb (54th min), and Rebekah Boaz (71st min), while Life had points from Kimberly Semiglia (57th min), Alex Sedrick (62nd Min), Madison Ohman (66th min).
With minutes on the clock, the Life University Running Eagles held a 36-34 edge. In the 79th minute, BYU fullback Jesica Peterson Santanna capped off a stellar college rugby career with a dropgoal to put BYU on top for 3rd place in Women's College DI Elite Spring Championship 2017.
3rd Place Final Score: BYU 37 Life University 36. (USA Rugby Game Stream Stats - Tale of the Tape - Below)