Christendom College defeated #7 Catholic University of America and #9 Loyola University of Maryland to win the National Collegiate Rugby (NCR) South Region Championship this weekend, punching their ticket to the NCR Championship in Houston in the process.
After defeating Wake Forest University at home last weekend, Christendom traveled down to Charleston, South Carolina for the Men’s Regional Championships — the next step on their road to another National Championship title. Their first match on Saturday pitted them against #9 Loyola, who went 5-1 during the regular season.
Quickly, Loyola jumped to an early lead, going up 7-0 on Christendom. Matthew Westin tied up the game for Christendom before Owen Kennedy and Chris Usher scored two more tries. At the half, Christendom had the lead, clinging to a 19-12 advantage.
To start the second half, Usher scored again for Christendom, before Loyola scored again, keeping the score close at 26-19. Usher continued to lead the way for Christendom, scoring one more try to put Christendom up 33-19. As the game winded down, Loyola scored again, making it 33-26 with minutes left on the clock. The strong Christendom defense took over from there, securing a semifinal win and putting them in the final against #7 Catholic on Sunday.
Sunday morning, Christendom walked onto the rugby pitch looking to secure the South Regional Championship. The first half proved to be tight, with Christendom and Catholic trading tries back and forth. John Ascough, Owen Kennedy, and Matthew Westin all scored tries, giving Christendom a tight lead at 19-12 to end the first forty minutes.
The team rallied together in the second half, with Matthew Westin scoring three tries and John Ascough scoring two more. The defense held Catholic to only one try the rest of the way, resulting in the team’s biggest accomplishment yet this season — the NCR South Region Championship for their league.
The Championship win secured a trip to the National Championship in Houston next month for Christendom, where they will join #6 Holy Cross, #2 St. John’s, and #3 New Mexico Tech in the hunt for the Cohen Cup. Other teams from Men’s Division I and Division II will also join them in Houston for one of the most competitive weekends for college rugby in the country, putting Christendom on the national stage once again.