PALO ALTO, CALIF. – Norwich University advanced to the championship game of USA Rugby's Division II collegiate national tournament with a 28-15 victory over Washington State May 11.
The Cougars, 2009 national champions, jumped out to a 12-0 halftime lead and still held a 15-7 advantage with 17:30 to go in the second half. Coach Austin Hall’s team made its move from there. Trys from junior center/lock Andrea Vogt (Dedham, Mass.), sophomore center/wing Jackie Derocher (Northwood, N.H.) and freshman center/wing Vanessa Champagne (St. Nazarie, Quebec) helped the Maroon and Gold overtake its opponent.
Junior lock/flanker Meaghan Weppner (Williamsville, N.Y.) opened the scoring for Norwich with a try in the first half. Junior flyhalf Emily Baugus (Kingsville, Texas) made all four conversion kicks.
"The heart was always there," Coach Austin Hall said. "I've got to credit (senior center) Katie (Hathaway) for the leadership she showed. She kept on pushing the team forward even when Washington State had us down in the second half. The rest of the players fed off that when we made our comeback.
"The team really wanted this," he added. "It was a great win."
The Cadets (24-2) will face either Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania or Winona State of Minnesota in the national championship game at 4 p.m. EST Saturday, May 12. Live video will be available at http://www.ustream.tv/usarugby.