Going into then last round of games for their pool, three women’s college 7s teams had aspirations of winning the pool – James Madison, Princeton, and Oregon State – and most knew it would come down to points difference.
Boy, did it.
At 2-0 Oregon State was in the driver’s seat. All they needed to do was win or tie, and they would win the pool. They faced 1-1 Princeton, who some said had underperformed on the day. Meanwhile James Madison sat at 1-1, but played Texas Tech,[ which had been beaten badly by Princeton and OSU earlier in the day.
Dogged and determined, Princeton pinned Oregon State back in their 22 and pulled out [a 21-0 victory over the Beavers. That left the Tigers with a 2-1 record and a +44 points difference, and Oregon State at 2-1, +7.
Going into the Texas Tech match, JMU was +7. They would need to win by 37 or more to win the pool.
“We knew that points were probably going to matter,” said JMU flyhalf Laura Dominick. “Then halfway through the game we realized we were going to need more. We needed to step it up.”
The James Madison coaches were doing the math throughout the game, and made sure their players knew it. In the end, they knew with time up that they didn’t have enough.
“That last play did it for us,” said Dominick. “We knew we had to score on the last play.”
The flyhalf did the job, breaking through an exhausted Tech defense to score under the posts. Stephanie Goetz hit the conversion and JMU had won 47-5, enough for a +49 and first place.
“It was pretty exciting,” said Dominick, who scored four tries and converted one for 22 points, while Goetz scored three and kicked five for 25 points.
“We watched the other teams play and tried to see where we could beat them,” added Dominick of her team’s adjustments. “We made some defensive adjustments, but we basically stuck with our plan.
It was pretty exciting.”