Day One of the Women's College 7s Championships has concluded, and the stage is set for tomorrow's Cup, Bowl and Shield competitions.
After three rounds of play, three teams exited the day undefeated: Norwich, California and Navy. The Cadets were the class of the tournament today, playing crisp, disciplined and fast 7s with little error. During their final match against Stanford, their perfect points-against record was sullied, as Smriti Sridhar, who's made a case for the fastest player in the competition, tore down the sideline for her side's lone score. Norwich still walked away with a comfortable 36-7 victory. Joya Clark was particularly potent on the day, leading the tournament's point scorers with seven tries. Ohio State took the second seed out of Pool A after their 38-0 win over Sam Houston State and also advances to the Cup round.
California, however, did manage to prevent any tries against. The Golden Bears faced their toughest opponents in Texas during the third round. Even though Boston College had played Cal to 12-0 loss earlier in the day, the teams' third match saw both sides playing at the top of their potential. Behind the leadership of Jen Sever, the Bears shut down the Longhorns and banked a 15-0 win and top seed out of Pool C. Texas' Cup hopes are still alive, though, as they take the second seed out of Pool C.
Navy really came into their own by the final round of play, dominating Harvard 31-0 in the last game of the day, and topping Pool B. The Midshipmen played quick ball, spun it touchline to touchline with ease, and relied on powerful runners like Kasey Liscomb and Erika Pedersen to keep Harvard scrambling. Harvard, too, still has a shot to advance to the final; unfortunately, their first test on Sunday comes against Norwich in the quarterfinals.
Pool D held the most drama, as dark horse James Madison surprised the field by ending the day on top. Heading into the final round, the potential for three teams to finish 2-1 loomed. JMU knew it was going to come down to point differential when determining which teams advanced to the Cup, so they ran up a 47-5 score over Texas Tech. Stephanie Goetz and Laura Dominick came up huge, accounting for all of the tries and conversions between the dynamic duo. By day's end, it turned out that JMU's last try was just enough to beat Princeton's point differential. The Tigers finished second in Pool D, relegating a very good Oregon State to the Bowl semifinals.
Check all the box scores (link), standings (link) and point leaders (link) from pool play. The following are tomorrow's playoffs:
Norwich (A1) v Harvard (B2)
James Madison (D1) v Texas (C2)
Navy (B1) v Ohio State (A2)
California (C1) v Princeton (D2)
Stanford (A3) v Oregon State (D3)
Northern Iowa (B3) v Boston College (C3)
Sam Houston State (A4) v Texas Tech (D4)
Colorado (B4) v Oklahoma (C4)