Penn State women’s rugby has been nothing short of dominant over the years. Despite a hefty battle on Saturday, the Nittany Lions prevailed in the USA Rugby Division I National Championships yet again — defeating Lindenwood 28-25 to claim the school’s 12th national title and sixth straight.
USA Rugby split its top-level championship into Division I Elite and Division I for the second consecutive year, with Penn State earning a spot in the elite semifinals on Friday at Life University in Atlanta.
In a rematch of the 2016 national title game, the Nittany Lions took on BYU. The Cougars gave Penn State a tough game last year during the 15-5, but couldn’t keep up with the Nittany Lions in a 40-7 thrashing in the 2017 semis.
Penn State earned the right to play Lindenwood, who shocked the Nittany Lions in the 2016 Collegiate Rugby Sevens Championships. Those Lions defeated the hosts Life University in their semifinal 19-3 for a spot in the title match.
Penn State jumped out to a 15-6 lead heading into halftime and looked like it might just run away with the title leading 25-6 in the second half, but Lindenwood mounted a comeback to tie it 25-25 with less than ten minutes remaining.
Senior Gabby Cantorna scored on a penalty kick to put Penn State up 28-25 with just five minutes left, and the Nittany Lions would hold off a late Lindenwood charge after a Cantorna cleared to take the title.
Penn State will be back in action to try to reclaim its Collegiate Rugby Sevens Championships crown June 3-4 at Talen Energy Field in Chester, PA.