James Madison has secured its automatic bid to the Women’s College 7s Championship on November 23-24, having won the qualifier division of the NOVA Collegiate 7s on Sunday. JMU relinquished 10 points throughout the tournament and defeated Virginia 21-0 in the final.
The tournament fielded both championship and challenger, men’s and women’s divisions, but only the top women’s bracket held official qualifier status. Three of the teams vying for that automatic bid were local – JMU, UVA, George Washington – but since there is no Northeast qualifier, Boston College had to make the long trip to Manassas, Va., in hopes of making a third consecutive appearance at nationals.
But JMU stole the show, and Collegiate All American Stephanie Goetz deserved the spotlight.
“The tournament directors selected Steph Goetz as the tournament MVP for both her dangerous offense but also a big tackle against Virginia in the final that turned the tide of the game,” co-director Meganne Atkins said.
Unfortunately for JMU, the senior club president will be unable to attend 7s nationals, as it conflicts with the Women’s Collegiate All American tour to France, a tour for which she’s been selected.
But James Madison is not new to the College 7s Championship and hopes to improve upon its fifth place finish last year. JMU is the third women’s college to guarantee a spot at nationals thus far, joining Texas and California, also returners from the 2012 championship.
Four more women’s qualifiers will take place on Nov. 9: Big Ten (Columbus, Ohio), Stanford Invitational (Palo Alto, Calif.), South Independent (Clemson, S.C.) and Ivy League (Princeton, N.J.). At-large bids will then be used to fill the 16-team bracket.
The NOVA Collegiate 7s also held a men’s division, and little surprise, Navy took home the title. The most impressive aspect of Sunday’s play, however, was Navy’s ability to field a third side after Mary Washington pulled out of the tournament on Saturday. The Midshipmen were divided evenly (versus A, B and C sides) and met each other in the final.
The tournament also saw a handful of teams getting their first-ever tastes of 7s: GW women, led by NOVA’s Mary Anderson; Maryland women, coached by Lance Pruitt; and Lafayette men. NOVA ended the day with a free player clinic, led by USA Olympic Development staffer Dana Creager and featuring 7s Eagles Lauren Hoeck, Beth Black, CJ Hildreth and Toshi Palamo.
Virginia 27-5 Maryland
Virginia 19-5 American
Virginia 19-0 George Washington
George Washington 24-19 Maryland
George Washington 10-5 American
Maryland 22-20 American
James Madison 26-10 Collegiate Mixed
James Madison 40-0 Boston College
James Madison 39-0 John Hopkins
Boston College 34-0 John Hopkins
Boston College 31-0 Collegiate Mixed
Collegiate Mixed 32-0 John Hopkins
Navy Blue 50-0 Lynchburg
Navy Blue 45-0 James Madison B
Navy Blue 29-5 Lafayette
Lafayette 14-0 James Madison B
Lafayette 31-7 Lynchburg
James Madison B 43-0 Lynchburg
Navy Gold 56-0 Montgomery
Navy Gold def James Madison A
James Madison A 33-7 Montgomery
James Madison A 26-14 Navy White
Navy White 26-0 Montgomery
Championship winner: James Madison
Championship runner-up: Virginia
Challenge winner: Maryland
Championship winner: Navy
Challenge winner: James Madison