Penn State defends Division I title with defeat of Central Washington

KENNESAW, Ga. – Penn State’s 11th consecutive trip to the Women’s Division I National Championship match ended in favor of the Nittany Lions, who defeated Central Washington, 61-7, Saturday for their fourth consecutive title.

Capped Women’s Eagle Hope Rogers scored two tries in the win, while Katie Mueller was named Most Valuable Player at the 2015 USA Rugby College 15s National Championships at Fifth Third Bank Stadium at Kennesaw State University.

It was not pretty for Central Washington in the young program’s first opportunity at a National Championship, evidenced by the bungled kickoff to begin the match. Though Penn State turned over possession with a penalty meters from the try line, the Nittany Lions got it back and set up the opening score with a lineout. The ball was held in a maul five meters out and eventually dotted down by Elizabeth Cairns for a 5-0 lead.

Wildcats full back Cassidy Meyers got away from a defender on the restart but was taken down by her shirt tail before she could find any space on the pitch. A minute later, Cairns broke free at midfield to bring Penn State back to the posts before giving the ball up to Mueller for the try. Gabriella Cantorna kicked the conversion from in front to extend the lead to 12-0.

Katerina Long and Meyers tried to take down Lauren Shissler before she reached the try line in the 18th minute, but the inside center dotted down through the tackle to extend the lead to 17-0. Full back Meya Bizer, another Eagle in the Penn State squad, finished off a full-field attack in the 27th minute for a 22-0 lead, and Rogers scored prior to the end of the first frame for a 27-0 halftime lead.

The Nittany Lions’ five first-half tries were followed by an additional four unanswered scores in the second half, during which time Central Washington was starved of possession. It was not to be for the Wildcats, who had shown determination and skill in a come-from-behind win against Brigham Young University in the Spring Championship Final.

The Wildcats did reach the Penn State try line in the 69th minute, but the ball was knocked loose and forward from the breakdown. Central Washington got the ball back from the five-meter scrum and scored through Jennifer Johnson, though Penn State added two tries to take a 10-try advantage and bring the final score to 61-7.

The title is Penn State’s 10th overall National Championship, and seventh in the past 10 years.

Penn State | v Central Washington

1. Catherine Benson

2. Andrea Villanova

3. Hope Rogers

4. Katie Mueller

5. Taylah Pipkin

6. Kyla Chipman

7. Elizabeth Cairns

8. Laura Lucas

9. Brieanna Barto

10. Gabriella Cantorna

11. Tess Feury

12. Lauren Shissler

13. Lauren Barber

14. Rachel Ehrecke

15. Amelia Bizer

Penn State | Reserves

16. Brittney Mitchell

17. Francesca Schaeffer

18. Rebecca Henn

19. Corey Meanix

20. Gretchen Stockhausen

21. Carly Waters

22. Jessi Purawic

23. Kristina Perry

Central Washington | v Penn State

1. Angela Ve'evalu

2. Heather Johnson

19. Samantha Pinson

4. Carrie Vaillancourt

5. Haley Schafer

6. Suliuana Tausinga

7. Taylor Duncan

8. Jennifer Johnson

9. Rosalind Pena

10. Katerina Long

11. Ashley Rolsma

12. Fina Toetu'u

13. Asinate Serevi

14. Mele Halahuni

20. Cassidy Meyers

Central Washington | Reserves

3. Taylor Swift

15. Cameron Deveruex

16. Brittany Adkison

17. Kristina Danna

18. Tiffani Candler

21. Reiney Meyers

22. Jennifer Larson

23. Nicole Trejo-Valli