Lindenwood, Cal, Arizona roll in College 7s Day 1

The Best Men's 7s teams in the country descended on RugbyTown USA to stake their claim at being crowned the best team in the country.

Glendale, CO.- The Best Men's 7s teams in the country descended on RugbyTown USA to stake their claim at being crowned the best team in the country. With 16 teams competing across four different pools in D1 and 12 teams competing in D2, every team went in liking their chances. From the beginning, there were some teams that set themselves apart from the rest of the pack and will like their chances of walking away with silverware tomorrow afternoon. 


Men's D1:

The defending champs set the tone early on in Pool A opening their tournament and the tournament itself with a statement win against Missouri. From there they continued to excel dominating their pool in an unprecedented fashion. In their three pool games they scored 158 points and while not having any scored against them. With domination of that fashion teams were left fighting for second place and that honor went to Arkansas. The Razorbacks played exceptionally well in pool play, highlighted by a last-minute win against a strong Utah side.

Pool B saw the return of Cal to the National Championship for the first time since 2011. The men from Berkeley made up for lost time putting their opposition to the sword. Lead by the young but talented Elliot Webb and Sam Cusano, Cal was able to go undefeated in pool play and score over 100 points in the process. Second place came down to a battle of the Midwest with Indiana and Notre Dame going blow for blow to see who would have to take on Lindenwood in the Cup quarters. In the end, it was Indiana. Indiana was looking strong all day but on occasion were guilty of getting off to a slow start, if they are going to land the upset they'll need to make sure they are switched on from the get go.

Pool C, went as many pundits had predicted- with the two teams form Arizona (Arizona and Grand Canyon) advancing. Arizona qualified as top of their group after going through undefeated. They were led by the Rogers brothers who were at their scintillating best, threating from anywhere and often fulfilling those threats. It was not all smooth sailing for Sean Duffy's men, as they found themselves falling behind Grand Canyon at the start of the second half. The Lopes had been in fine form all day out muscling their teams and relishing the physical aspects. However, in the game that mattered the most their tanks ran empty and Arizona who look to be one of the fittest teams in the competition pulled away.

In a pool that many thought was going to be between two teams, Pool D, provided the most enthralling matches of the day. Going into the tournament most pundits had already put Kutztown and AIC into the quarterfinals, they clearly forgot to tell Wisconsin this. The badgers came strong early and looked to be a team on a mission. They hung tough with Kutztown in their first game of the day until a yellow card saw their hopes of an upset squashed. They channeled the disappointment they felt from the Kutztown match and brought it into their next game against AIC. In a game of hot potato, the two teams threw tries back at one another in rapid succession. Wisconsin opened the scoring then AIC answered and so on it went, until a brilliant try from Wisconsin at the end, against the flow of game and a man down, sealed it for them. The drama wasn't over yet though, Kutztown and AIC still had to play each other. That game did not disappoint. Kutztown had a 14-5 lead with 5 minutes left in the game and looked to be in full control. But, as it so often does, the beauty of the 7s reared its head. AIC scored two tries in two minutes to snatch the game out of the grasp of Kutztown. At the end of pool play it was a three-way tie for first. On point differential Wisconsin won the pool and Kutztown came in second.

The Men's D1 Cup quarterfinals match ups are: Lindenwood vs. Indiana, Cal vs. Arkansas, Arizona vs. Kutztown and Wisconsin vs. Grand Canyon. It will be a tremendous slate of games.


Men's D2:

UW Whitewater (UWW) are the defending champions and they looked like it today. They were in fine form today as they went through Pool A without dropping a game. They received a challenge from William Patterson, but aside from that they seemed to have been in a comfortable position as they ended their pool play. Bloomsburg finished second in the pool and looked capable of causing an upset and making a run late into the tournament. However, at times basic skills let them down. If they can sure up their fundamentals they will be a dangerous team tomorrow. Old Dominion from Pool A squeaked into the cup quarters as the eight seed.

UNC Charlotte looked as if they could be a team poised to strip UWW of their status as they were hot out of the gates. They never scored less than four tries in a game, and whenever they were locked in close tussles such as their game against Principia they were able to pull away in the last quarter, as skill and fitness began to play a larger role. Their ability to finish strong was highlighted by their last game against the Pool B Runner's-up North Carolina State where they scored 40 points at the end of a long day. Principia took the 7th seed in the cup quarterfinals on point differential.

Norwich is a team that seems to be a rarity in 7s, they relish and often will go looking for the physical part of the game. It is a system that worked well for them today as they went undefeated in pool play. The hallmark of Norwich's performance today was their outstanding defense, their ability to cover all areas of the field and suffocate their opponents' attack was exemplary. They will need to put in a better shift on offense if they are to fulfill their title ambitions but they've laid themselves a strong platform to build from.  Hartford was the second team from Pool C to qualify. They looked sharp at times but also left a few head scratchers out there. They have a good chance of making a good fist of this Cup run but they will need to maintain focus for the entire game, something they were unable to do today.

The D2 Cup Quarterfinal matches are as follows: UW Whitewater vs. Old Dominion, UNC Charlotte vs. Principia, Norwich vs. Bloomsburg, Hartford vs. North Carolina State.

You will be able to catch all the Cup action, as well as the Women's pool play tomorrow on FloRugby from 9am.