Women's R7CC: Lindenwood Rules
Women's R7CC: Lindenwood Rules
Lindenwood dominated play in the Women's Gold Division to win the R7CC Sunday, shutting out Dartmouth 32-0 in the final.
These two teams had met up in their first games of the tournament. Lindenwood had shut Dartmouth out that time, too, 31-0. But the Big Green shouldn't feel too bad. Only one team scored on the Lions all weekend, Life University doing the honors in the semifinal, a game Lindenwood won 27-7.
Also on the Lions' victims list was Brown (36-0 and eventual Bowl winners), West Chester (47-0, and eventual Bowl runners up), and Penn State 34-0 in the quarterfinals.
Lindenwood won so comfortably in those games that they were able to get playing time for everyone, producing buy-in from an already bought-in team.
Lindenwood controlled everything in their win over Penn State, but other games were a little closer. Harvard got some good work from PK Vincze and Kiana Akina and held off a Sacred Heart team that never gave up—Harvard won 25-12. Life and Central Washington clashed in a physical back-and-forth game that Life held on to win 24-14.
And Dartmouth and Army played a barnburner. Army had beaten Life in pool play to give them a high seed, and Dartmouth's loss to Lindenwood had put them at a #6. These two rivals went back and forth with both teams getting breaks only to have a desperate cover defender stymie the attack.
A snappy break from Sadie Schier put Dartmouth up 7-0, only to see Army's Kaitlyn Schwarting snipe around the weak side and show a clean pair of heels to make it a 7-5 game at the break.
In the second half Shier made another huge break and that set up a run from Emily Henrich for a try and a 14-5 lead. That play hinged on the fact that a West Point player slipped on the wet grass while trying to catch the kickoff. Henrich was on her mercilessly, stole the ball, and set up the attack.
Army battled back with a long run from Sydney Schaaf. But West Point needed one more, and their final attack ended when Dartmouth turned the ball over in the ruck and kicked to touch to win it.
In the semis, Life led 7-5 at halftime and seemed to have the Lions on the ropes. But the second half was all Lindenwood. Rangy wing Helen Van Hattem raced in for a try from 40 meters out. Then a penalty and quick tap saw Amy Brice over. The ensuing kickoff wasn't secured by Life and Brice scooped it up and was over. Suddenly it was 22-7.
Punipuao Skipps capped it off with another try and Lindenwood was through.
In the other semi, Kristin Bitter cut through on a nice line to put Dartmouth up 7-0. Vincze answered by torching the Dartmouth D on the outside and it was 7-7.
Both teams were really close to scoring throughout the rest of the first half, but the defenses just held on. Scrumhalf Cassidy Bargell's break and several fends almost got Harvard in the lead, but the Dartmouth cover defense was there.
In the second half, a brilliant, scything run from Anjali Pant set up Nyah Cordero for the go-ahead try. Pressure produced a turnover and then a penalty for Dartmouth, and Henrich tapped and sidestepped and was over.
Bargell almost scored and popped the ball to Reese Moran, but it was all too late. Dartmouth 17 Harvard 12.
The final, then, was Lindenwood's defense and power and the deadly combination of Brice and Van Hattem, and Dartmouth, not for lack of trying, just unable to answer.
The Bowl Final was a rematch of a tie from the first day. This time Brown scored twice in the latter stages to defeat West Chester. It was a tough loss for West Chester but for Brown, who wore the letters KF on their jerseys for their coach, Kathy Flores, who died last fall, it was an emotional win and a fitting tribute to a legend of the game.
A rematch of the Fall D1 final, won by Navy, this Davenport-vs-Navy game was a thriller. Megan Bird found space and fended off attention to score twice for Davenport and stake the Panthers to a 12-0 lead.
Navy replied, finding room for Haley Creech to speed down the sideline.
With time up at the half, Navy had one more shot and a huge break from Marissa Meyer got her within a few meters off the line. Halted there, Meyer looked around for help and found it in, no surprise, Aimee Dalsimer, the tireless captain of the Navy team. She was over and it was 12-12.
Right off the second-half kickoff Navy forced a turnover and Nicole Deprey was put over for a 17-12 lead. But Navy's defense started to make little mistakes, and an intentional knock-on produced a yellow card, which Davenport eventually punished with Abby Kowalcyzk charging in to tie the game 17-17.
With no time left, then, there was one more play to win it. Davenport attacked and looked good on a two-on-one down the right side. Another intentinoal knock-on, and a pretty clear one, gave the referee no option. Penalty try, and Davenport had won.
It was a gutsy call, but the right one, and Davenport was thrilled.
San Jose State's high-powered, running style that stood them in such good stead in 15s brought them a title also in 7s. SJSU beat Saint Mary's 22-0 in the final, garnering revenge for their 12-7 loss to the Gaels the day before.