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Strong Showing at Day One of CRAA Women's 7s

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Strong Showing at Day One of CRAA Women's 7s

Cameron Fields fends off some Sacred heart attention. Calder Cahill photo.

Surprises and drama punctuated Day One of the CRAA Women's Premier 7s and College-Club 7s.

This was a very well-played tournament with 10 teams from D1 Elite and NIRA battling it out. Even the teams that emerged winless after Friday's action showed flashes of good play.

The Weather

Storms in Houston on Thursday wreaked havoc with many teams' travel plans, But they all got there; potentially the last to drag themselves in was Air Force, which is in the College-Club competition and arrived at 1AM with a 9AM game to play. 

The first day of competition itself started with a bit of a drizzle that later turned to rain. Eventually thunder and lightning came through and the tournament was delayed about 75 minutes, prompting a small change in the schedule. The conditions did affect some of the ball handling early on.

The Surprises

Life and Lindenwood were the finalists last year and were seeded #1 coming into the tournament. However both of those teams were very recently in the D1 Elite Final and so hadn't really been playing much in the way of 7s. While they weren't unsure of what they should do, the teams that had been playing multiple 7s events looked just a shade sharper and a shade more confident in what they were doing.

That is how Dartmouth, sparked by some brilliant finishing by Paola Arrendondo Almeida, who showed a superb turn of pace and also added some impressive open-field tackling. Dartmouth went on to beat Central Washington in impressive fashion led by some snappy work from Sadie Schier at halfback. 

Meanwhile, Davenport looked very impressive. The combination of Aubrey Crist and Ashley Cowdrey tore a tenacious but overmatched Central Washington apart. But against Princeton they found that the Tigers were not there just to look good; Princeton unleashed some very good 7s, with Malinka Kwemo producing some big plays. Meanwhile Davenport lost Cowdrey during that game and were a bit at sea after it happened. Somehow, thanks to Crist and the finishing of Carrie Ann Coyer Westerberg, they pulled it out 24-21.

Life bounced back from their loss to Davenport thanks to the long stride and power running of Kit Buzby. 

That set up the game of the day. Life and Davenport traded tries back and forth. Life, led by Matilda Kocaj and with both Adrionna Duncan and AJ Haughey making some big plays, found themselves down 19-17 with little time left, but worked their way down for the go-ahead try, making it 24-19. Davenport, for their part, had found a way to make up for the loss of Cowdrey, with Lionala Mayorga, Kyla Rimpell, and Lailani Lepe all stepping up their game—add in the physicality of freshman Charlotte Dauser and you had a good recipe.

So as time wound down, they had a plan. Already with two tries in the game, Coyer Westerberg was set up with one more run. No time left, Coyer Westerberg took the corner and went in for the try.

Crist nailed the touchline conversion, and Davenport had won a famous victory in dramatic fashion. 

Was this loss for Life a function of them playing a 4th game on the day? It seemed to make sense for Life and Lindenwood, the #1 seeds, to have the depth to handle four games, and they would then be rewarded with a little time off the next morning.

But a 26-24 loss in the 4th game for Life was tough.

Davenport Celey from Big Bite Entertainment on Vimeo.

Lindenwood, too, started with a difficult game. The Lions were pipped by Harvard, featuring Lennox London and Cameron Fields 17-10. The Crimson would go on to unleash some excellent 7s. Tiahna Padilla was a playmaker extraordinaire for them, and overall Harvard's team play was outstanding.

The result? A close win over a really solid Sacred Heart team (Aly Cunningham shone here for SHU), and a dominant performance over LIU to go 3-0.

For Lindenwood, they had work to do, and they got down to it. They hung on 19-0 over LIU and then put in an excellent performance against SHU. In that game, the score was 12-12 when Jet Metz unleashed some filthy sidestepping to score. Right off the restart Amy Brice took the kick perfectly at about 11 meters and charged on in to score again. In the space of a few seconds they had taken control of the game.

Brice would end up icing the game with a try despite Lindenwood having one player in the sin-bin and another lying injured on the grass.

The Upshot

Dartmouth and Davenport are sure into the semifinals with 3-0 records. It only remains to find out which will be #1 and those two play at 9:46AM Saturday in Aveva Stadium to figure that out. Lindenwood sits 3-1 in Pool B and most likely don't have enough to overtake 3-0 Harvard, which takes on Penn State on Saturday morning.

So our semifinalists look to be Dartmouth, Davenport, Lindenwood, and Harvard.

Pool A W L T PF PA PD Pts
Dartmouth 3 0 0 92 10 82 9
Davenport 3 0 0 79 50 29 9
Life 2 2 0 73 60 13 6
CWU 0 3 0 17 63 -46 0
Princeton 0 3 0 26 104 -78 0
Pool B W L T PF PA PD Pts
Lindenwood 3 1 0 87 41 46 9
Harvard 3 0 0 67 27 40 9
SHU 1 2 0 60 60 0 3
Penn State 0 3 0 38 84 -46 0
LIU 1 2 0 24 64 -40 3

The Club Scene

Colorado State scored in the first 18 seconds of their game with rivals Air Force (those players with the late-arriving flight). And with Emily Jagerhorn leading the way they went on to win three quite close games to top their pool.

Colorado Mesa looked unstoppable in their opening two games ran into a staunch defense in Western Washington, and WWU took that game 22-12 to win Pool B.

Club Pool A W L T PF PA PD Pts
CSU 3 0 0 59 32 27 9
AFA 2 1 0 53 31 22 6
UCLA 0 2 1 24 45 -21 1
SJSU 0 2 1 19 57 -38 1
Club Pool B W L T PF PA PD Pts
WWU 3 0 0 68 12 56 9
CMU 2 1 0 91 22 69 6
Cal Poly 1 2 0 14 51 -37 3
UC Irvine 0 3 0 10 98 -88 0

So it's pretty straightforward: CSU plays Colorado mesa and Air Force plays WWU in the semis.

Both brackets have displayed a high standard of 7s, and there is more to come.