Loyola University MD Olympic 7s Team Qualifies for NSCRO College Rugby Championship
On Sunday April 14th the Loyola University Maryland Olympic 7s program took home the cup from the Pittsburgh Rugby Athletic 7s tournament. This annual tournament is hosted by the Pittsburgh Harlequins and is one of eight NSCRO College Rugby Championship Qualifiers.
This bid marks the first time Loyola's rugby program has qualified or competed in the Penn Mutual CRC's, which takes place at Taeln Energy Stadium on March 31-June 2, 2019.
Claiming Victory at the Athletic 7s
On a beautiful, sunny and warm day on Founders Field, Loyola won their pool by defeating Motley 43-5, Alderson Broaddus University 45-0, and Malone University 17-7. In the quarterfinals, exhausted and down two men due to injury, Loyola edged by a very hard hitting Thiel College 24-5.
Championship Sunday started with flash flooding and torrential rain, a complete 180 from Saturday. In second semi final match, Loyola drew and a fast and well coached Ohio Wesleyan University. Like Loyola OWU was undefeated in the tournament and had been rolling through teams with a fantastic strategy and an exceptional threat on the wing. Loyola was able to contain the OWU attacking pattern and keep possession for most the match besting the Bishops 24-0. Sr. All Potomac Rugby Conference sweeper Jack Ramirez led Loyola's try scorers with two in the match.
On a soaked pitch and continuous rain fall, kick off was set for the final game in this tremendous tournament. The stage was set for a Loyola / University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point slug fest. UWSP, similar to Loyola was undefeated in Pittsburgh and had an absolute speedster on the wing. The wet pitch and Loyola's passive push defense made it difficult to allow for UWSP's try scorer to touch it down. However, UWSP was able to take advantage of a LU miscue and score first, their only try of the match. Loyola, with ball in hand from a set piece scored on a 40 meter run by Jr. Jake Walshe. Sr All-American Fly Half Dan Giannascoli converted and just like that LU was up 7-5. The green and black of Loyola never looked back as they scored again shortly after the half on a 70 meter run by Giannascoli, who converted again sealing a 14-5 victory.
Loyola Moves to Play in NSCRO College Rugby Championship
Loyola, a National Top 5 NSCRO XVs program, advanced to the National Championships last year, have finally reached the CRC's after four consecutive top 4 finishes in NSCRO 7s Qualifiers.
Loyola, earlier in the 7s season finished 6th in the Ariel Re Bermuda International 7s tournament has really doubled down on their 7s these past few seasons. Director of Rugby Matt Cipriano, delighted by the win, had nothing but praises for his club.
"They've worked harder than ever these past few months," Cipriano reported. "We're extremely fortunate to have access to our dome. It allows us to get to work right after the winter break. We set out to really make our program, the University and our Alumni proud this year, and going to the Penn Mutual CRC's has hopefully done this."
Cipriano went as far as telling us that they've brought a 7s Strategic Advisor on staff who's helping the men with their attacking pattern, defense and player development. Between Loyola's Rugby scholarship program, annual top 5 finishes in XVs, and now with a defined 7s program, we should be seeing more Loyola rugby headlines in the near future.