Sunday Match Recaps – Collegiate Rugby Championship
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Men’s Quarterfinals: Cal vs. Kutztown

In perhaps the most highly anticipated 1 vs. 8 pairing in CRC history the Golden Bears of Cal took on the Golden Bears of Kutztown. A rematch of the 2014 and 2015 finals, each going the way of the men from Berkley. Many thought this may have been a pairing for the final, but an upset at the hands of Indiana to close pool play shifted Kutztown from a one seed to the eighth.

Cal scored first through Zac Tavener midway through the first quarter. A second first-half Cal try, this time from Aidan Flynn, along with a conversion by captain Russell Webb put Cal two scores up. Kutztown soon got a try of its own through Aaron Gray in the final minute of the first half. Having stolen the restart, Kutztown looked again like it would score but a pass out to the wing wasn’t taken cleanly, ending the half with the knock.

Great defensive effort in the tenth minute prevented a Cal try and soon set up the Dmontae Noble try for Kutztown in the right corner. David Snead was unable to connect from the tough angle on the conversion, leaving Cal a slim two-point lead heading into the final two minutes. Forty seconds into the penultimate minute, Tavenner shook a tackle and bolted eighty meters for a try to put Cal back up a full score. Webb’s conversion made it a two-score game. With the clock soon at zeroes, Cal run the ball to touch to end it. Cal 19, Kutztown 10.

Men’s Quarterfinals: Indiana vs. UCLA

The Hoosiers started the match right where they left off on Day 1. Twenty seconds in, Dacoda Worth streaked down the right touchline for a try in the corner. Alex Dorrier hit the long conversion for an early 7–0 lead. The restart failing to go ten meters gifted UCLA possession. After struggling to break out of their own half, Jordan Robertson succeeded in getting the Bruins on the board with a try under the post. Cian Barry chipped the conversion to level it. Indiana was knocking on the door for a second try until a pass was intercepted by UCLA. The momentary reprieve for UCLA did not last long, with Teddy Terezis adding the five-pointer in the right corner. Good offloads from UCLA but lack of support prevented an answering score to end the half.

Much like the first half, the Hoosiers struck early in the second with a try from Tyler Sousely. Darrier’s conversion put UCLA under pressure. Jake Garwood added a second for the Hoosiers with two and a half minutes left, making it a three-score match. In the final minute, UCLA got a second try, but with the match out of reach: Indiana 24, UCLA 12.

Men’s Quarterfinals: Saint Mary’s vs. Life

Making their debut at the CRC the Gaels of Saint Mary’s impressed on Day 1, securing the number two seed in the quarterfinals. A hard fought draw against Arkansas State saw Life into the seventh seed as the top team not to win its pool.

Through the first nine minutes there was nothing to separate the two immensely talented teams. After strong pressure, Saint Mary’s broke the deadlock with a try by Holden Yungert. Yungert was unable to follow with the conversion. Life fired back with a rather unusual try that included several dribbling kicks and looked like there may have been an uncalled knock, but in the end Duncan van Schalkwyk got the score between the sticks, setting up a simple conversion for the lead. With the final seconds ticking away, Life charged inside the Saint Mary’s twenty-two but was dragged to touch with fifteen seconds left in the match, giving the Gaels a lineout on full time with the chance of winning the match with a try. The comeback was not to be, as a bounding pass dragged a Gael foot into touch, sending Life through to the semifinal in the 2-7 upset. Life 7, Saint Mary’s 5.

Men’s Quarterfinals: Lindenwood v. Arkansas State

Lindenwood was first strike with a try in the far right corner by Christian Rodriguez and excellent conversion by captain Michael Baska. The first half ended with Arkansas State narrowly missing a try to tie the match, leaving Lindenwood ahead at the break. In the second half, the Red Wolves stood strong in defense despite having Nicke Abreus in the sin bin for a decapitating tackle. The highlight was when Arkansas State narrowly held off a Lindenwood try in the tenth minute. Back to a full complement, ASU erred with a twenty-two dropout going to directly into touch. Lindenwood won the resulting scrum and soon found the nail in the Red Wolf coffin with the try from Chris Shoeman. In their first attempt, the Lions reached the semifinals. Lindenwood 12, Arkansas State 0.

Men’s Bowl Semifinal: Navy vs. Clemson

Kicking off the consolation slate of matches in the stadium, Clemson faced the cadets of the United States Naval Academy. Clemson scored the opening try through Colin Gregory two and a half minutes into the match.  A second unconverted try for Gregory in the seventh minute secured a Clemson lead to start the second half. Navy threatened to cut into that lead just before halftime, but a turnover at the Navy five-meter line left the Midshipmen scoreless.

A great support run by James Rodgers got Clemson a third, this time converted by Chris Abraham, try in the tenth minute to make Navy’s likelihood of finishing tied for last uncomfortably high. A try by Jake Martin and conversion by Connor McNerney kept hope alive in the final two minutes of a Middies comeback. A leap over a tackler by Navy’s Garrett Smith closed out the match, but was not enough for Navy. Clemson 17, Navy 12.

Men’s Bowl Semifinal: South Carolina v. Va. Tech

After seven minutes of seesaw rugby, well into stoppage time for the halftime, the Gamecocks registered the first points with a gut-punching try up the gut for a 7–0 lead to begin the second half. A try midway into the second half by Chris Harrell along with the conversion by Danni Callahan gave the Gamecocks a comfortable cushion over the Hokies. All doubt as to the outcome ended with the third South Carolina try, this one from Micah Stewart. Callahan hit the kick from directly in front of the post to set the final margin. South Carolina 21, Virginia Tech 0.

Women’s Cup Semifinal: Dartmouth vs. Life

Dartmouth enters as the considerable underdog. The Big Green had to get past a very tough NSCRO All-Star team to reach the semifinals. Life, on the other hand, eased by Navy as part of a continuation of utter dominance that has seen the Running Eagles outscore opponents 227–0. Nevertheless, Dartmouth enters the match unbeaten in the 2017 CRC and with a win over Penn State just two weeks ago. However, after beating the Nittany Lions to reach the USA Rugby 7s tournament semifinals, Dartmouth was bested by Life (33–10).

Life struck first with a try by Kaitlyn Braghton, capped by a conversion from Madison Ohmann. Dartmouth looked to have something going in the fifth minute, but an interception try for Alex Sedrick ended the threat. Ohmann again added the points for a 14–0 lead for Life. A second try for Braghton and third conversion by Ohmann dug the whole deeper for Dartmouth. In order to pull the famous upset, Dartmouth would first have to break Life’s tournament shutout. On the final phase of play before halftime, Dartmouth did just that with a tremendous effort down the right wing with a score for the support runner. The conversion was just off, leaving it still a three-score deficit at the half, but with some of Life’s air of invincibility knocked off.

It took five minutes of the second half, but the next score went to Life through Sedrick, her second, and Ohmann’s fourth conversion. A minute later, Whitney Wilson narrowly missed out on a fifth Running Eagles try when she was tracked down from behind inside the Dartmouth twenty-two and Jessica Jones was unable to catch the offload. In the end, Life proved too much for the resilient women of Dartmouth. Life 28, Dartmouth 5.

Women’s Semifinal: Lindenwood vs. Penn State

Unlike the prior Life-Dartmouth, semifinal Lindenwood vs. Penn State was a tough pick. Lindenwood has certainly had recent history on its side, but Penn State has multiple CRC titles to its name, whereas Lindenwood has come up just short the last two years.

Penn State threatened early but Lindenwood was first on the board through an unconverted try by Natalie Kosko two minutes in. An interception two minutes later by Nika Paogofie-Buyten under the post put Lindenwood even further in front. McKenzie Hawkins’s conversion clanged off the post to keep the margin at ten. Twenty seconds later, that Margin was cut in half by Penn State captain Tess Feury, and trimmed to three after Gabby Cantorna hit the conversion. Difficulty finishing tackles and an injury to Feury at the sweeper position opened a running lane for Kosko to add a third unconverted try for the Lions. Again, Hawkins struggled with the boot, leaving the makeable conversion wide of the mark.

The second half kicked off with Lindenwood a mere eight points in front of the always-dangerous Nittany Lions. Just shy of three minutes into the second half, Penn State’s Gianna Solomen intercepted a Lindenwood pass for a try under the post. Cantorna added the conversion to make it a one-point match, with Lindenwood’s missed conversions looming large. Penn State had all the momentum until a knock on while passing down the chain at midfield gave the ball back to Lindenwood with attacking space. From there Hannah Gauthreaux got her team five more points, but Hawkins’s conversion was again off, keeping Penn State within a try and conversion of the win. As the the final minute began to tick away, the teams crouched for a Penn State Scrum just outside the Nittany Lions twenty-two. Penn State won a penalty and set to work with twenty-six seconds left.A cracking run through a Lions’ gap got Cantorna into Lindenwood territory with the team soon reaching the twenty-two. Penn State got the five-meter line, but a turnover and Lindenwood knock on ended Penn State’s tournament agonizingly close to the final. Lindenwood 20, Penn State 14.

Men’s Plate Semifinal: Saint Joseph’s vs. Wisconsin

By poaching a loose ball and taking it sixty meters the other way, St. Joe’s got the early 7–0 lead. Wisconsin cut into the lead with a first-half try by Jack McGinnity. The Badgers added a second try, this one by Luke Henricks, to take the halftime lead.

After a four-minute scoreless second half, Wisconsin’s Hunter Crass steamed down the center of the pitch for fifty meters for the try. Dan Pettay’s conversion hammered off the upright, keeping St. Joseph’s eight points back with two minutes to play. On full time, the Badgers were ahead, giving Wisconsin the right to defend its plate title against the winner of Dartmouth-AIC. Wisconsin 15, Saint Joseph’s 7.

Men’s Plate Semifinal: Dartmouth vs. AIC

A matchup of two teams that had real hopes of advancing to the semifinal, two-time champion Dartmouth jogged out to face first-time CRC competitor American International College. The Yellowjackets scored first with a try from Christian Adams and solid conversion by Michigan Magistrali. Dartmouth pulled level when Max Parker torched the AIC defense for a try under the sticks. Dawit Workie added the points after. Royal Jones returned AIC to the leader position, complimented by another conversion from Magistrali. Dartmouth came up just shy of a second try before halftime.

Dartmouth got the second half started with the try of the tournament. Backed up on its own try line, twice the ball bounced loose in goal before Dartmouth strung together enough passes to send Luke Bienstock in for the one-hundred-meter team try. Workie added the points after to tie the match. AIC hit back almost instantly with a monster run by Adams. In chase was Dartmouth’s Fuller Winton who brought Adams down with a high tackle shy of the line leading to a penalty try and yellow card for Winton. Dartmouth avoided conceding any points while down a man. When Dartmouth returned to seven men, Workie went to work and dotted down for a five-pointer in the right corner. He was unable to complete the conversion, leaving the Big Green down by two. The deficit did not last long as Krieg Greco shook off a tackle for Dartmouth’s third try of the half. Workie added the conversion as the hooter sounded to advance to the Plate final against Wisconsin. Dartmouth 26, AIC 21.

Men’s Semifinals: Cal vs. Indiana

The semifinal between Cal and Indiana is the first time these two teams have met in the CRC. Cal enters as the strong favorite, but Indiana had already collected wins over Kutztown and UCLA to earn the right to try and stop a fifth-consecutive Dawkins Trophy from heading to Berkeley.

Drew Gaffney got the first score for the Golden Bears a little over a minute into the match with Russell Webb adding two more points. The Hoosiers got on the board with a try by Alex Dorrier from an offload by Jake Hidalgo. Dorrier added the conversion to pull the teams even in the sixth minute. A fend by Nic Mirashem gave Cal the five-point lead at the break

Webb extended the Cal lead a minute and a half into the second half with a try up the right wing. Webb failed to add the conversion. Sam Cusano’s try three minutes into the second half put the match almost out of reach of Indiana. Webb added the conversion to hold a 24–7 lead with under three minutes remaining. Cal’s Will Fuller added a fifth try for good measure. Indiana’s Tyler Sousely added a consolation try, which, along with Dorrier’s conversion set the final score: Cal 29, Indiana 14.

The result sends Cal through to a fifth consecutive final and sixth final in eight CRC appearances.

Men’s Semifinal: Life vs. Lindenwood

In a match of two schools who will also meet in the women’s final, the Running Eagles of Life looked to reach a second CRC final, while Lindenwood looked to reach a final in its first appearance.

A yellow card to Life’s Nick Feakes opened running lanes for the Lions to send Lorenzo Thomas in for the score. Michael Baska added the conversion. Even down a man.  

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