Penn State wasn’t saving anything today as the Nittany Lions dispatched Women’s Cougar Rugby (BYU) 46-15. Wing Margaret Leonard led all scorers with three tries and was truly electric to watch.
Both teams are jam-packed with talent, but Penn State has the depth to contour its lineup to fit the style of rugby they want to play on any given day. The lineup today was particularly physical and did a good job of keeping the ball out of WCR’s hands.
And like PSU has demonstrated all post-season, their scrum was devastating. But the front row’s influence was felt beyond the set piece. Props Lauren Poole and Nwakaego ONyekwere accounted for their team’s first two tries, running in five-pointers in the 12th and 19th minutes.
Leonard followed with the first of three tries in minute 33, when a poor clearing kick fell right into the wing’s lap. Near the 50 meter in the middle of the field, she broke for the left side, stiff-armed three defenders for the try. Scrumhalf Elena Cantorna scored five minutes later after a long pick-and-go series at the try line.
But Penn State wasn’t perfect, and WCR was able to take advantage of some miscues. WCR sent a deep clearing kick into Penn State’s end, and fullback Sadie Anderson tried to run it out, while inside center Kayla Richardson had other plans. Richardson tied up the Eagle player and flyhalf Kasey Ferlic, who was there for support, sent a hurried kick into the middle of the pitch. WCR wing Rebekah Siebach gathered the kick and took off for the corner to go in untouched, 22-5.
Penn State added another four tries in the second half, while WCR responded with two. In addition to Leonard’s two tries, Ferlic and substitute front row Kelly Sager also dotted down. WCR got a try from lock Sam Wright, who took it in off a penalty, and speedy wing Keelia Harker, who is in the USA age grade pool.
Penn State will face Stanford in the final tomorrow. The Cardinal won 46-5 over Brown in their semifinal.
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