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Northeastern Impressive in Taking CRAA D1 7s

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Northeastern Impressive in Taking CRAA D1 7s

Trophy time. Alex Goff photo.

Northeastern punished Air Force turnovers and won the CRAA Women’s D1 7s Sunday in Dallas.

In a competitive tournament of just seven teams, this event crowned yet another 7s champion, and one that played a strong team game and showcased several players with the ability to score from long range. 

Day One saw Air Force take the bye to the semifinals. With only seven teams, Pool A had just the three teams. Northeastern won that pool and the plan then was to funnel every team into some sort of playoff.

Air Force, winner of Pool B, took a bye to the semis and the remaining six teams played off in Saturday’s quarterfinals to fill out the semifinal round.

Northeastern, UConn, and UMass all won their quarterfinals to set up Sunday’s action.

Meanwhile, the top-seeded losing quarterfinalist (Virginia Tech) took a bye to the Bowl Final, and the other two, Wyoming and BU, played off to meet them.

Air Force, Northeastern, UConn, Mass Leads CRAA 7s


Northeastern vs UConn

These two rivals knew each other pretty well and so it was very much a chess match. Scrumhalf Hannah Wilker ran weak when Northeastern stole a scrum put-in and she was over for the opening try.

Despite the hard work of Shayla Baker and Keisha Durden for UConn, Northeastern had too many weapons. Anastasia Hudak was a good distributor and quick to punish mistakes, while Torry Izsa put in a ton of work linking the pieces together and making tackles. With Ray Dauby and Emily Minkler able to finish off movements, NU pulled away 29-5.

Air Force vs UMass

UMass used their size to push a relatively young AFA team back. But Air Force’s defense was just good enough. UMass scored early and has the weapon of Erin Bergeron to test Air Force on the outside. But a good team approach seemed to work for the Zoomies. 

With Isabella Mulally finding inroads while Emily Reeves and Sara Scrapchansky were winning rucks and making key connection plays, Air Force toughed it out 17-12. Julianna Romano scored a key try to seal it.

3rd Place

Bergeron torched UConn for an early try but a break by Baker and finish by Hunter Vertuccio inched UConn closer. 

Connecticut continued to put on the pressure, holding the ball inside the UMass 22 and finally crashing it over. It was the Huskies’ rucking that really got them going. That made it 10-7 UConn, but UMass replied, playing a little hot potato with the ball until they put Sofia Murphy-Genao through. More slightly risky offloads and then Bergeron got it with a little space and was gone—UMass led 19-10.

Time was ticking away, but UConn finished strong. Durden weaved her way through to make it 19-15, and then, with time almost up, the Huskies once again put on the pressure and eventually dove over for the game-winner.

The Bowl

Boston University defeated Wyoming to make the Bowl Final. Virginia Tech, having no game that morning played a scrimmage in the mud to prepare themselves. It worked. Hokies shut out BU 29-0.

Tech were physical and smart with Jennavieve Miller and Meg Wright hitting hard in the rucks. With Leah Reece playing a scrappy game around the fringes.

The Final

Air Force changed up their look a little, and started to piece together a good series of phases. 

But that required accuracy and when the ball rolled out of the ruck Molly McAlevey swooped in to pick up and race 60 meters in to score.

Air Force looked to kick out of their own 22; the ball was gathered nicely by NU and shipped to Minkler, who charged on. Minkler was tackled but the ball was then picked up by Hudak who raced in from 50. An excellent kick from Grace Pattarini and Northeastern led 14-0.

Back came Air Force and they looked close to scoring, but once again NU forced a turnover and Kourtney Bichotte-Dunn fed Hudak who popped it to Dauby, and Dauby cruised about 75 meters to score.

Three tries from Northeastern, all essentially from turnovers and run in from their own half, and the Huskies were in control.

It had been a long weekend and the rain started to fall in earnest in the second half. Air Force kept up the effort level and Ymonie Humphries broke through to score a try and inch closer. But the conversion was away and Air Force still needed three scores to catch Northeastern. But the Huskies held on and closed it out to take the title