On June 4-5, 2016, the NSCRO/Penn Mutual Women’s 7’s Select Side competed in the Collegiate Rugby Championships in Philadelphia, PA. The team assembled on Wednesday afternoon and had three practices together before taking on the best college 7’s programs in the country.
Seeded sixteenth meant that the opening game was against defending champion, Pennsylvaina State University (PSU). The opening seven minutes was a shock for players not accustomed to the pace of top flight college rugby and they gave up five tries in the first half. To the players credit, the adjustment was swift and in the second half they traded a try apiece with PSU, with Megan Ahnen (Michigan Tech) scoring the lone try.
The team started to develop some chemistry in the second game of the day against University of Delaware. Stringing together longer passages of possession with more dynamic running resulted in a comfortable 24-5 win. Tries came from Erica Long (California University of PA) (2), Nikki Ciccarelli (Mount St. Mary’s University) and Kelcey Stutzman (Wayne State College). Stutzman also made two conversions.
The third game of the day was against an understrength Rutgers University team who were unlucky to face an NSCRO team hitting its stride. Three tries from Erica Long, two tries from Nikki Ciccarelli, a try and two conversions by Kelcey Stutzman and a try by Chip Bell (Tiffin University) saw NSCRO cruise to a 39-5 win.
The team finished 2-1 in Pool A play and were tied on tournament points and point differential with Princeton University from Pool D, the decider was a try differential which gave Princeton the 5th seed and NSCRO the 6th seed. This set up a quarterfinal match with Lindenwood University who finished 2nd at the USA D1 7’s National Championships only a week earlier.
Cup Quarter Final
NSCRO pressured Lindenwood early and a combination of pressure and possession in the Lindenwold half resulted in a try from Jasmine Kovacs (Wayne State College). Kelcey Stutzman converted to give NSCRO a 7-0 lead. On the last play of the half, Lindenwood was able to hit back with a converted try to tie the game 7-7. Early in the second half, NSCRO gave up a second try due to some passive play on defense. A kick deep into the Lindenwood 22 allowed NSCRO to apply sustained pressure and this eventually resulted in a try for Chip Bell out wide. Stutzman made the difficult conversion from wide out to tie the game 14-14. Lindenwood attacked from the kickoff and a couple of tired tackle attempts allowed them to score under the posts. The conversion turned out to be the end of the game with a score NSCRO 14 Lindenwood 21. The loss sent the team to the Plate Semi Finals where they would meet Ohio State University.
Plate Semi Final
Ohio State attacked first with a very strong run through the middle of the field. Ciara Pettinos (Colgate University) caught the OSU player short of the line but a pop up to a trailing player resulted in the Buckeyes getting the first score of the game. Unfazed, NSCRO took control of the game and tries from Erica Long and Jasmine Kovacs took the score to 10-5 at the half. A try by Megan Ahnen with a conversion by Stutzman created some breathing room and allowed the team to bring on the substitutes early. Nora Holmes (Colorado College) and Teagan Hill-Norby (Northwestern College) had worked hard off the bench in earlier games and they were rewarded with a try each to take the final score to 27-5.
The Plate Final pitted NSCRO against another Big Ten team, the University of Michigan Wolverines. Early in the game the NSCRO women seemed to be giving Michigan too much respect and were passive in defense. Michigan scored the first try of the game but just like in the semi final NSCRO hit back with two tries by Megan Ahnen and Jasmine Kovacs for a 10-5 halftime lead. The second half was controlled by NSCRO and tries from Ciara Pettinos and Nikki Ciccarelli extended the lead. Both teams emptied the bench late and the final score was 20-5 in favor of NSCRO.
The program is made possible by Penn Mutual and their continued support in the growth of women’s rugby. On Thursday, June 2nd the players and coaches took time out from practice to visit the Penn Mutual office in Horsham, PA. They joined Madison Hughes, USA 7’s Men's National Team Captain, in participating in the Penn Mutual “Rugby Day” activities.
The fourteen player squad represented eleven schools from eight states. The squad was comprised of eight players who competed in the NSCRO 7’s National Championships and six players selected through the player recommendation process.
|Megan Ahnen||Michigan Technological University|
|Chip Bell||Tiffin University|
|Nikki Ciccarelli||Mount St. Mary's University|
|Sharae Frazier||Neumann University|
|Teagan Hill-Norby||Northwestern College|
|Nora Holmes||Colorado College|
|Jasmine Kovacs||Wayne State College|
|Morgan Lippert||Mount St. Mary's University|
|Erica Long||California University of Pennsylvania|
|Mary Kate McNulty||Denison University|
|Maggie Nelson||Colgate University|
|Ciara Pettinos||Colgate University|
|Mia Serpico||Ursinus College|
|Kelcey Stutzman||Wayne State College|
|Brianna Woodworth||Athletic Trainer|
Contact Bryn Chivers via email or by phone at (773-308-3430) if you have questions about the program