The Crusaders fought their way to a second consecutive trip to the NSCRO Rugby 15s National Championship Playoffs, defeating Duke University in a thrilling final to win the Cardinals Conference Champions Cup on November 3 and 4 in Roanoke, Virginia.
Christendom entered the Champions Cup as the #1 seed, after finishing their regular season with a 4-2 record. Their first match of the weekend was a dominating one, as the Crusaders pounced on James Madison University's developmental team, beating them 71-5. The win earned them a trip to the final on Sunday afternoon, and a rematch with Duke.
The Crusaders last played Duke in 2017, when the Blue Devils tied Christendom in the season opener. This year's match carried with it even higher expectations, and Christendom rose to the challenge. They quickly jumped to a 12-0 lead, thanks to tries from Thomas Audino, before the Blue Devils brought the score to 12-10 at the half. In the second half, the back and forth battle continued as time went down on the clock. Finally, Christendom grabbed a bigger lead and refused to let go in the final minutes, resulting in a 43-27 victory.
Christendom's victory earns them a 15s National Championship Playoffs berth, with their next match coming up this coming weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Crusaders will take on the College of Charleston in the NSCRO Mid-South Qualifier, with the winner moving onto the NSCRO Regional Championship on December 1-2.