Posts tagged ‘Women’s Rugby’

The Penn State Rugby Dynasty Continues


We appreciate the continued commitment of the women’s rugby program to making us look smart. The Lions, who we featured on the cover of our May/June issue last year, traveled to California over the weekend and came back with their fifth straight national championship. Penn State knocked off BYU, 15-5, to extend one of the most impressive dynasties in college sports.

Led by coach Kate Daley ’09—who we profile during her All-American undergrad days way back in 2009—and an MVP performance from freshman Azniv Nalbandian, the Lions claimed the inaugural D1 Elite final, the title game of the new women’s college rugby playoff format. But there was nothing new about this for Penn State: It was not only the program’s fifth consecutive championship, but its 11th overall, the most of any team in the nation.

Ryan Jones, deputy editor


May 9, 2016 at 9:56 am Leave a comment

There’s a Reason We Called Them a “Dynasty”


When Catie Benson stopped by the Hintz Family Alumni Center a couple of weeks ago to pick up a box of our May/June issue, I asked her about preparations for her final collegiate rugby game. The fifth-year senior played up the quality of the opposition, a Central Washington University team in its first year of varsity status but loaded with experienced transfer players. On paper, it looked pretty evenly matched, like the Lions would have their hands full.

So much for that.

On Saturday, the Penn State women’s rugby team won its fourth straight national championship in typically dominant fashion, dispatching CWU 61-7. Katie Mueller (that’s her at rear left on our cover) was named MVP of the title game, while Hope Rogers (front and center, cradling the ball) scored a pair of tries in the romp. It’s the 10th overall championship for the Lady Ruggers, a run of dominance we had in mind when we used the word “dynasty” on that cover.

MJ_Cover_Final.inddKate Daley ’09, the former All-American who took over as the Lions’ interim coach last fall, flinched when she heard that word. Perhaps, like Catie and the rest of the team, she really thought Penn State might struggle against CWU. Or maybe she didn’t want to be seen taking an opponent lightly. Our guess? She just didn’t want to ruin the suspense.

Regardless: Congrats to Kate, Catie, Hope, and the rest of this terrific team, and thanks for making us smart.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

May 11, 2015 at 1:16 pm 1 comment

Brace Yourself for Meya Bizer

If we were really going to do Meya Bizer justice, we would have found someone for her to tackle.

IMG_3387Alumni Association members will find Bizer on page 23 of our Jan/Feb 2015 issue, where she’s the lead story in our sports section. She’s a senior and star on Penn State’s powerhouse women’s rugby team, winners of the last three national collegiate championships and nine titles overall. The consensus college player of the year in each of the past two seasons, she’s also the youngest member of the U.S. women’s national rugby team.

But about that photo on page 23: There’s Bizer in full stride, pitching a perfect pass at (or, hopefully, just above) our photographer’s camera. Bizer is an all-around talent, so we might accurately have shown her displaying all sorts of rugby skills. But if we’d really wanted to capture what sets her apart, we would have convinced some poor, unwitting soul to let Bizer use them as a tackling dummy.

We could have volunteered ourselves, of course. But we know better.

The hit against West Chester, around the :55 mark? You can feel that one through your screen.

With form that Nittany Lion linebackers might envy, Bizer has become the biggest hitter in her sport. The gridiron comparison is intentional: Bizer went out for football in middle school, was the placekicker on her high school team and even earned a scholarship to play for the University of St. Mary, a tiny college in Kansas. But along the way she fell in love with rugby, ultimately transferring to Penn State for a chance to be a part of the Lions’ burgeoning dynasty.

Bizer was her typically dominant self last month as Penn State hammered rival Norwich to win the USA Rugby Division I fall championship. The Lions are heavy favorites for a 10th national title this spring, and while Bizer isn’t the only reason—the Penn State roster is loaded with talent—she’s probably the biggest. Certainly, she’s the most impactful.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

December 31, 2014 at 9:46 pm Leave a comment

Two Big Wins For PSU, On and Off the Court

The men’s volleyball team last night swept Cal State Northridge 30-21, 30-23, 30-28 in the NCAA semifinals to earn a berth in the national title match. The third-seeded Nittany Lions will face top-ranked Stanford on Saturday night for the championship. You can watch the match live at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.

The Stanford connection is a familiar one for Penn State teams in big games: The Nittany Lion women beat the Cardinal in 2007 and 2008 for the first two of their three straight NCAA titles, and the women’s rugby team has beaten Stanford in each of the past two national title matches.

And in hardwood news of a slightly different configuration, the Daily Collegian today is confirming a report by an Albany, N.Y. TV station that Talor Battle will return for his senior season. Battle had thrown his name into the hat for the 2010 NBA draft, but it was widely expected that he was only trying to get a sense of his chances of being picked and would be back in Happy Valley for a final season. The Collegian report cites Battle’s mother confirming his decision to return.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

May 7, 2010 at 8:55 am 1 comment

Penn State Lady Ruggers Repeat as National Champs

A year ago, they blew out archrival Stanford to claim the title. This year, the Penn State women’s rugby team didn’t make things quite so one-sided, but the outcome was the same. Thanks to a stifling defense led by outside center and tournament MVP Deven Owsiany—you can read about her meteoric rise in the sport here—the Lady Ruggers on Saturday beat host Stanford, 24-7, to claim their second consecutive national championship. It’s the fifth national title in 15 years for Penn State. Starting to sound like a dynasty to us.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

May 2, 2010 at 8:30 pm 1 comment

Penn State Women’s Rugby: 2009 National Champs

The two best programs in collegiate women’s rugby met as expected Saturday night in Palo Alto, Calif. Given their shared history — it was the fifth straight national title matchup between Penn State and Stanford — you figured this would be close.

Courtesy USA Rugby

Courtesy USA Rugby

It wasn’t.

Congrats to the Lady Ruggers, who throttled the host Cardinal 46-7 for the program’s fifth national championship. Lauren Rosso, Sadie Anderson, and Kate Daley scored two tries apiece for Penn State.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

May 3, 2009 at 1:11 am 2 comments

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