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Penn State, Princeton Emerge from Cup QFs

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Penn State, Princeton Emerge from Cup QFs

Kyla Chipman, Penn State (Photo: Craig Houtz)

One side of the women's college 7s championship quarterfinals was exciting; the other saw a couple of lopsided scores. The morning began with Penn State and Stanford, and their traditional rivalry played out wonderfully. Princeton and Lindenwood followed, and that game came down to one try. 



It was a tale of two halves: Stanford owned the first, and Penn State took the second, and the 24-12 win. The Cardinal scored both tries from their own end, as Penn State didn’t employ its typically smothering defense. It allowed Nikki Richardson time to survey the field, switch directions, and keep the Nittany Lions on their toes.

A not-releasing penalty allowed Richardson to tap through a gap and time her pop pass to on-running Dani McDonald for the break. The scrumhalf pinned the final defender for prop Chelsea Sveinnson, who is just too fast to catch from behind. Richardson converted, 7-0.

The All American halfback linked up with McDonald again, and some excellent sideline work and quick support put Richardson into the try zone with about minute remaining at the restart, 12-0 Stanford.

Right before the buzzer, Penn State drew a not-rolling-away penalty in the breakdown and exploited Stanford’s concentrated defense. Rachel Ehrecke broke to the five meter, while Meya Bizer and Carly Waters picked forward. The ball then swung wide, Elizabeth Cairns worked the two-on-one, and Tess Feury crossed for the try, 12-7.

Penn State went ahead with another Feury try, which originated from a breakdown turnover and methodic spreading of the pitch. The restart went into touch, but an errant Stanford throw-in found Bizer, who carved her way into the try zone, 19-12.

Still within a try, Stanford kept working toward that next scoring opportunity. The Cardinal got a break when Kyla Chipman’s try was recalled with a penalty, necessitating a five-meter scrum. Richardson sent a booming kick to midfield, but Feury chased it down, slipped through defenders on the return, and Cairns legged out the rest, 24-12.

Penn State will play Princeton in the Cup semifinals. The Tigers established a healthy enough lead in the first half to hold off a hungry Lindenwood in the second stanza, winning 19-15.

An unforced knock-on set up a Princeton scrum in good territory. The backline stacked behind the set piece, and the Tigers focused their attack in tight, before sending it wide to Jessica Lu for the opening try, 5-0.

A Lindenwood penalty in the breakdown returned the ball to Princeton, which put the ball in the deceptively fast, strong Alex Eakes. She froze two defenders, who were both in perfect position to tackle her, and flattened the sweeper with a big fend for the try. Cat Lambert’s conversions made it 12-0.

The Lady Lions built their first real offensive campaign at the end of the half, as Kendal McCracken cleaned up a series of disconnected to passes to charge forward for the score, 12-5.

The turning point occurred on the restart. There was no time on the clock, and Lindenwood sent the kick out the back. Princeton made good use of the free kick at midfield, sending it to the ever-dangerous Jochebed Muflam. She took advantage of more miscommunication on coverage, split two defenders and used another big fend to score, 19-5 into the break. Lindenwood would receive a similar opportunity in injury time.

Lindenwood controlled the majority of possession in the second half, sometimes favoring too much contact, but keeping the ball in hand nonetheless. McCracken, again, turned some messy play into a score; and Ariana Lewis finished off a long series of phases with a final sprint across the try line.

There was 1:40 on the clock when the Lady Lions kicked off to Princeton, and this is where the Tigers won the game. The New Jersey team kept the ball in hand for more than a minute, sending short timely passes to teammates, avoiding contact, and playing great time management.

But Princeton couldn’t avoid contact forever, and at midfield, Lindenwood stole the ball in the ruck and then drew a penalty in referee time. The Lady Lions quick-tapped and a blatant not-10 tackle drew a yellow card. But Lindenwood did not work the player advantage, opting instead to go into contact, where Eakes wrapped up the ball until the referee halted play. And that was game.

Penn State and Princeton will play at 12:20 p.m. MT, while UVA and Central Washington will contest their Cup Semifinal at 12:40 p.m. Read more on UVA's and CWU's quarterfinal wins.