Three-peat for Wayne State in women’s rugby sevens


CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Three cheers for the Wayne State women’s rugby team, as the Wildcats claimed their third consecutive 7-on-7 national title Sunday with a 20-0 win over Colorado College Sunday in the National Small College Rugby Organization championships.
Wayne State beat Lee (Tenn.) University 19-5 in the semifinals, then dominated play against Colorado College to claim the school’s fifth national championship in as many years, adding a third straight 7-on-7 title to the 15-man titles they won in 2012 and 2013.
The wet fields due to heavy rains early Sunday morning made ball handling a challenge, but the Wildcats were able to get on the board first in their matchup with Lee University with a good play to the right side that found Sam Warneke with room to move, and she used her speed to sprint about 60 yards for the first score of the game midway through the first half.
Wayne State quickly made it 10-0 on the next series, using a Lee penalty to advance the ball quickly. Jasmine Kovacs took advantage of a free kick situation and raced 30 yards for a try. Warneke’s point-after kick made it 12-0 at the half.
Lee scored quickly to open the second half after a Wayne State knock-on penalty to make it 12-5. Lee was able to control the line of scrimmage in the second half, but Wayne State’s defense held them out of the try zone after that, moved the ball out toward the middle of the field and put the game out of reach late, swinging the ball out to the far side and taking advantage of Lee being bunched up in the middle, with Warneke taking the ball about 40 yards for an insurance try and advance to the finals.
In the championship game, Wayne State faced a team very similar in style in Colorado College, a team that was able to match the Wildcats’ speed and agility.
The Wildcats moved the ball deep in Colorado College territory, switched the field and found Alex Feeley for the first try of the game about three minutes into the first half for a 5-0 advantage.
Four minutes later, the Wildcats increased their advantage to 10-0, stealing the ball out of the ruck and moving the ball to the left, where Jasmine Kovacs took the ball the final 10 yards for the score.
The Wildcats almost had a third score at the end of the half. Kovacs took the ball within two yards of the try zone and was brought down hard. Colorado College was issued a yellow card and had to play two minutes minus one player. Wayne State wasn’t able to take advantage of the 7-on-6 advantage. Faith Sorensen scored on a pass from Kovacs, but the goal was not allowed due to an illegal forward pass.
The Wildcats cashed in on the man advantage early in the second half. A couple of strategic kicks led to a line out situation, and the Wildcats scored on good ball movement, with Leanna Rosberg taking it the final five yards for a 15-0 advantage.
The Wildcats put the finishing touches on their third straight national title late in the first half, taking the ball down the far side and scoring on a 10-yard run by Feeley, making it 20-0 and giving the Wildcats the national championship.
All-tournament team members from Wayne State included Warneke and Kovacs. Kovacs was named the tournament MVP.