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Cal v Lindenwood Highlights R2 7s

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Cal v Lindenwood Highlights R2 7s

Lindenwood likely to win pool.

(additional reporting by Owen Goff) Some good 7s has been played through the first two rounds of the Women's College 7s National Championship, but the best game thus far has been between California and Lindenwood. The pair were the favorites in Pool D, but the Lady Lions laid early claim to the top spot with a 15-10 victory.



POOL D: Cal used the opening kickoff to test Lindenwood’s defense deep in the Lady Lions' end, and after a few minutes of spreading the field, CJ Whiteside dove into the corner. She paired nicely with playmaker Stacey Wong, and the speedy duo were always a danger when working together.

Joyce Taufa was Lindenwood’s answer. After a couple of long breaks from Ariana Lewis and Amanda Divich, the Lady Lions took over a five-meter scrum in Cal’s end. Taufa used her power to push off one defender and bullied over for the tying points.

Cal knocked-on in the tackle – a recurring theme – following the restart, and then sent an uneven defense into Lindenwood’s backline. Gio Cruz spotted the gap and ran 30 meters for the score, 10-5.

Wong put a well placed grubber down the sideline, but a nice return from Lindenwood saw the team back in scoring position.There was a turnover at the tryline but a not-releasing penalty allowed Crystal Borrow to dot down, 15-5.

Cal answered back directly, as Jess Lewis pinned the defense perfectly for Whiteside to race down the line for the score, 15-10.

The game so nearly went Cal’s way during the final minute of play. A knock-on on the wing handed possession to Cal at the 50 meter. The ball worked wide to Wong and Whiteside, who was pushed into touch at the one meter. For some unknown reason, Lindenwood went for a quick lineout – with little time on the clock in a vulnerable area – and Wong came flying through for the pickoff try. But the referee called it back for a proper lineout, and Wong was visibly frustrated. And then, Jess Lewis nearly smothered the clearing kick – which came out of the try zone – but the ball trickled out the back and that was game.

“I was happy we came away with that win,” Lindenwood coach Billy Nicholas confessed. “We made a few mistakes that we'd like back but the girls did a fine job of finishing the match. The girls came in as a very young team and a bit of a ‘let's earn this’ chip on our shoulders and it's working well. They are hungry for the next match.”

“We will look to continue to play disciplined and force the opponent into making mistakes under pressure and see how they handle it,” Nicholas looked ahead to James Madison, which is now 0-2 after losing 17-14 to Texas (1-1).

POOL A: UC Davis had some momentum heading into Round II, but Rutgers was hungrier for a win. The New Jersey side, which dropped its opener to Penn State, saw Anchi Numfor and Ashley Allen put their team ahead in the first half, and the team never let up en route to a 31-14 win.

“Yeah, we were happy with what we did against Montana State [in Round I] and we were looking to build on that,” UC Davis coach Gary Gordon told Goff Rugby Report. “Unfortunately in this second game, the ball didn’t go our way. We couldn’t maintain possession, and they took advantage of their possession when they had it.

“We have a game plan, and we try to stick to it,” Gordon said of his young team. “I guess it’s a lot of pressure on your fitness and sometimes the mental aspect gets to them, so we’re focusing on that a lot - staying mentally strong.”

With their toughest opponents behind them, Rutgers rounds out pool play against 0-2 Montana State. Multiple tries from Meya Bizer and Kyla Chipman helped Penn State to a 39-0 win over the new team.

“I felt like it was a really good starting performance, but there are definitely things we can improve on,” Bizer said of the team’s 2-0 record. “Over the past few weeks we’ve been focusing on getting better every game. I just want our intensity to be there and our focus to be on right at the beginning.”

The Nittany Lions will finish the day against 1-1 UC Davis. Unless the California side can upset the pool favorite in Round III, then it’ll finish third in the group and be relegated to the Bowl competition tomorrow.

“We’re looking forward to playing Penn State,” Gordon confirmed. “The girls are looking forward to the challenge, and I’m sure they’ll leave it on the field. They don’t shy away from any challenge."

POOL B: The game of the day will occur in Round III as 2-0 teams UVA and Stanford look to break each other’s undefeated record. UVA got a little more push-back from Air Force, which matched the physicality in tight but couldn’t bring down try-scorers Joy Jefferson and Liz Anderson when they took the corner at high speed. The Virginia team answered on defense as well and produced a 27-0 win.

Stanford overwhelmed Texas Tech, making good use of its subs to keep the pace high. Dani McDonald, Lai Turner, and Chelsea Harris, among others, contributed scores in the 40-7 win. The Cardinal did a particularly good job of working the defense, forcing its opponents to commit to the ballcarrier and passing into the space that followed.

Both UVA and Stanford will advance to the Cup quarterfinals tomorrow, and their game against each other will be a nice warm-up for the uptick in competition that awaits in playoffs.

POOL C: Central Washington and Princeton outscored Round II opponents 80-12. The Wildcats overworked Humboldt in a 38-0 victory. Sisters Reiney and Cassidy Meyers proved to be a wicked little pair and sport identical running styles, while Ros Pena used her scrappy scrumhalf skills to strip possession and get in the passing lanes. The scores came from everywhere, including Asinate Serevi, Queen Fina Toetu’u, and Mele Halahuni, in addition to Reiney and Pena.

The Tigers beat UNC 42-12, although the Tar Heels – who are without three important players due to academic commitments – finished strongly and accounted for the final two scores. Jessica Lu, Jochebed Muflam, Gabe Armstrong, and Allie Eakes scored tries, while Cat Lambert hit all six conversions. UNC got its scores from Lindsey Oliver on a long-range breakaway and Gina Diehl.

Penn State 2 0 0 81 7 74 6
UC Davis 1 1 0 42 31 11 4
Rutgers 1 1 0 38 56 -18 4
Montana St 0 2 0 0 67 -67 2
Virginia 2 0 0 69 7 62 6
Stanford 2 0 0 69 14 55 6
Air Force 0 2 0 7 56 -49 2
Texas Tech 0 2 0 14 82 -68 2
Central Washington 2 0 0 64 19 45 6
Princeton 1 1 0 61 38 23 4
North Carolina 1 1 0 36 49 -13 4
Humboldt 0 2 0 7 62 -55 2
Lindenwood 2 0 0 56 17 39 6
Cal 1 1 0 39 15 24 4
Texas 1 1 0 24 55 -31 4
James Madison 0 2 0 14 46 -32 2