MARIETTA, GA. Over the weekend, Wayne State beat The Catholic University of America, 67-12, to claim their third Women’s NSCRO 15s National Championship in as many years. The win capped off a dominant playoff run for Wayne State who scored at least fifty points in each round of the playoffs.
After Wayne State beat Minnesota State University, 51-7, and Catholic beat Salve Regina University, 19-12, in the semifinals the stage was set or a massive clash in the championship match. In the opening passages of Sunday’s game the two sides seemed evenly matched. Catholic controlled the possession and built sustained phase play. However, Wayne State’s defense held strong and through impressive line speed and physicality, they refused to let Catholic take the ball over the advantage line. The mood of the match changed when, from deep inside their 22, Catholic threw an errant pass that was intercepted by Lauren Nelson and put Wayne State up on the board.
From there the flow of the first half was controlled by Wayne State. Scoring at nearly a point a minute they were quick to shut the doors on any championship hopes Catholic possessed. Catholic maintained the majority of possession throughout the first half, but their inability to get over the gain line and the brutality of Wayne State’s defense caused costly mistakes. Holly Schupbach was the second to dot down for Wayne State. Cassie Pickerel was the next on the scoresheet, as a turnover from a line out was worked out wide and all that Pickerel had to do was dot it down. Wayne State continued to score freely and at the end of the half they were set up with a 33-0 lead, after a try from Isabelle Robinson and Schupbach crossed for her second.
The Second half started in a similar fashion, as Kennedy Jones crossed twice in the opening ten minutes to further stretch the lead out. However, despite the steady stream of points being scored against them, Catholic never gave up and after a brilliant passage of backline play, Julia Malcotti finished off a tremendous team try. Wayne State unperturbed continued to plug away and score freely. Catholic did not lose their spirit and after the ball spilled out the back of a scrum, Malcotti pounced for her, and Catholic’s, second try on the day. Wayne State would close the game out with one last try leaving the scoreboard showing a convincing, 67-12, win to Wayne State.
Catholic will be disappointed in the score, as it is not an accurate reflection of how well they played, but for Wayne State they will now prepare to try and complete a 4th straight national championship run in 2019.