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Match Report: Penn State Women's Rugby

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After a year full of uncertainty and challenge, on Friday April 2nd, the Penn State Women took the field against West Chester University.  The team overcame a tough year and were ecstatic for the opportunity to step on the field together to play with and for each other. They took the biggest lesson of the year into the game, which is each game is a gift to be grateful for and never taken for granted.  They finished the fast-paced game with a 45-5 win over the Rams. 

Almost spring in West Chester, there was excitement in the air as the Nittany Lions ran out onto the field in eager anticipation of the first kickoff of the season. Senior co-captain, Mia Lancelotti, broke through the defense and over the try line and scored the first points of the game.  Sophomore, Kat von Abo, successfully converted and Penn State led 7-0 early on. The Rams responded playing quickly from a turnover in PSU’s 22 moved the ball to the edge and scored in the corner, Penn State still led 7-5.  Additional tries in the first half went to senior co-captain, Ellie Fromstein as well as junior Laura Lavigne, with a conversion by senior Claudia Norton.

As the sun went down over the field and the lights flickered on, Penn State entered the second half with a 19-5 lead. The team’s enthusiasm only intensified as Fromstein scored again from a Penn State scrum on the 5 meter line and increased the lead 26-5.  Momentum shifted for West Chester and PSU found themselves in their own 22 for the next 10 minutes of the game.  Despite being up by 21 points, defense remained aggressive and impenetrable.  The team weathered several penalties on their tryinline before the defensive line speed resulted in a West Chester knock-on and an opportunity for PSU to get out of their half.  

Second-half trys by Laura LaVigne and Mia Lancellotti each had conversions by Alex Weisser.  The final try went to Senior Mindy Mckeehan, who the team welcomed back after a lengthy injury.  Additional highlights of the game included; the debut of four of this year’s freshmen class (Grace Nasarenko, Merrin McSorely, Tara Forde, and Zoe DeMassa) and excellent defensive lineout pressure by sophomore Mikayla Reed.

The team was scheduled to play BYU this weekend in the first round of the D1 Elite playoffs but unfortunately the game was cancelled due to CoVid complications. With the cancellation Penn State exits the playoffs.  As with everything this year the team will overcome this set back to step onto the field together later this month or in May.