The Main Stream

Jun 1, 2013 11:40 PM

Dartmouth tops Arizona in Rugby Sevens title game rematch

Despite entering this year's USA Sevens Collegiate Rugby Championships with back-to-back titles, Dartmouth didn't let itself get too confident.

So when the Big Green fell behind late Saturday against Arizona - a rematch of last year's title game - panic didn't settle in.

"You're never comfortable," Dartmouth senior Pat Flynn said.

To cap a possession late in the second half, Dartmouth captain Madison Hughes shoveled a pass to teammate Kevin Clark, who scored an uncontested try to tie the game. Clark positioned the ball square between the posts to give Hughes an easy conversion attempt to put his team ahead.

Clark then calmly split the uprights to give Dartmouth a 21-19 victory at PPL Park in Chester.
"It's so much fun playing those types of games," Flynn said. "When you get to play against guys like that, some of the best athletes in the game, you can't emulate that any other way."

The Dartmouth-Arizona contest was one of the premier matchups on the second day of the USA sevens championships.

Pool play concluded Saturday, and the top eight teams from the 20-school field will battle for the championship Sunday while the remaining teams compete in consolation matches.

California finished first in the final round-robin standings and will face Arizona in the quarterfinals. Life University will take on Kutztown, Penn State will battle Navy and Dartmouth will play UCLA.

Quarterfinals begin at 10 a.m. and the championship game is scheduled for 5:29 p.m.

Dartmouth, UCLA, California, Life University, and Penn State are the lone remaining undefeated teams. The Nittany Lions fared the best of the seven local teams, turning in dominant performances over North Carolina State and Notre Dame after barely sneaking by Northeastern on Friday.

Along with Penn State, Kutztown (2-1) also advanced to the quarterfinals, while Delaware (2-1), Penn (0-3), Temple (0-3), St. Joseph's (1-2), and Villanova (0-3) will battle in the consolation bracket.

Nearly all of the nearby schools were supported by large cheering sections. During Temple's 17-15 loss to Virginia Tech, chants of "Let's go Temple" echoed around the stadium.

"It's a lifetime opportunity," Temple's Colin McTamany said of playing in a professional stadium before family and friends. "You play this game and you never think you're going to get to this level. It's a dream, man."

However, it wasn't just local schools receiving plenty of support Saturday.

Fans of Life, a small school in Marietta, Ga., that specializes in chiropractic and health science education, could be found all over the stadium in their bright green attire.

Dave and Jan Liberman endured three flight delays traveling from Chicago to Philadelphia to see their son, Jacob, coach Texas.

Dave said Jacob isn't an "emotional guy." But while out to dinner Friday night, his son got misty-eyed discussing the players he's coached for four years.

"[Jacob] says, 'We've really gotten close. I'm really going to miss them,' " Dave Liberman said. "That's the one thing about rugby. They all talk that way."


Courtesy of the Philadelphia Inquirer


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