Lower Seeds Prevail in College Playoffs
29 Apr 2008
This article was written by www.usarugby.org
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – It was a great day for the underdogs at the USA Rugby National Guard College Club Playoffs, as the final day of competition resulted in an onslaught of upsets throughout the men’s and women’s divisions on Sunday at Balloon Fiesta Park.
The Division II Women’s competition wrapped somewhat as expected with No. 1 seed, the University of Minnesota Duluth coming from behind to advance to the Championships. The Fighting Penguins trailed Claremont 14-5 heading into the break but finished strong, notching four unanswered tries and a conversion to go up 32-14 by the final blow.
However, Shippensburg shook things up a bit in the other Division II Women’s semifinal. Armed with an arsenal of rising new talents, the Pennsylvania club made its debut at the College Club Playoffs one to remember. The resilient No. 6 seed staved off the second half attack from perennial championship contenders Santa Cruz to win its semifinal match12-7.
“Going into the championship match in two weeks, I don’t really know what to expect,” said Shippensburg Head Coach Scott Stratton, who has coached the squad for six years. “We’ll just continue to play our game and hopefully the rest will work itself out.”
The Cinderella stories continued in the conclusion of the Division II Men’s competition, where defending champions Middlebury College fell to playoff newcomers Utah Valley State College, 14-5. The gusty conditions were no obstacle for either side, as both UVSC and Middlebury scored points into the wind, with Spencer Bardsley and Josh Cooper helming the UVSC scoring charge with a try-conversion combination on each side of the half for the win.
“This win is very exciting for us – especially in our first real experience at this level,” Utah Valley State Head Coach Gary Brown said. “I was happy the wind had less influence on the outcome of the match than we anticipated.Our played solid defense today and had a lot of great tackles.”
Utah Valley State now moves on to face No. 4 seed Radford University, which outpaced the top-seeded U.S. Coast Guard Academy with its quick running game and sped on to a 48-15 victory. Radford marks its return to the Division II Men’s Championships after last clinching the title in 2003.
When the Women’s Division I competition concluded, it was the defending champions from Penn State University and the No.
The quarterfinal meeting between Texas A&M and Navy proved to be a fight to the finish as the wind raged across Balloon Fiesta Park. Texas A&M clambered back into the match from a 22 point deficit at halftime to even the score with just under 10 minutes left in the game, off a try from Gina Steffano and an impressive kick by Betsy Bryant. But with the clock ticking down, Navy’s Elizabeth Trujillo snuck in a final try to secure her team’s spot in the Championships.
An aggressive match between Penn State and Chico State saw PSU go up 24-7 heading into the half. Chico State came back swinging in the second to pull within 10 points heading into minute 65; however, PSU remained steadfast toward the try zone and with a try from Kate Daley and subsequent conversion from Jane Gordan, Penn State soon built a 38-21 lead and held strong to stamp its return ticket to Stanford in May.
“We knew it was going to be a physical match against Chico State today – they’re a tough team,” Penn State Head Coach Peter Steinberg said following the match. “I would like to commend Chico State for their great performance. The team played a high caliber match, worthy of competing in the top four and it was great to compete against them.”
The top four men’s and women’s Division I and top two Division II teams now continue on to the College Club Championships set to be held at Stanford University on May 2-3. For the complete listing of Championship matchups, see below.
For more information on the USA Rugby College Club Championships and to view the complete bracket, log on to www.usarugby.org/goto/USAR_Championships.
USA Rugby National Guard Division I and II Men’s and Women’s College Club Playoffs
BYU 48, Dartmouth 22 (DI Men)
San Diego State 32, Arkansas State 15 (DI Men)
St. Mary’s 52, Air Force 40 (DI Men)
Kutztown 27, Bowling Green State 23 (DI Men)
Cal 102, Tennessee 3 (DI Men)**
Cal Poly 50, Army 27 (DI Men) **
Penn State 52, Minnesota 24 (DI Men)
Colorado 31, Utah 30 (DI Men)
Stanford 95, Northern Iowa 5 (DI Women)
Virginia 25, Colorado 5 (DI Women)
Brown 50, West Chester 12 (DI Women)
UC Davis 50, UCLA 12 (DI Women)
Penn State 67 – Florida 3 (DI Women)
Chico State 36 – Indiana 10 (DI Women)
TX A&M 54 – Cal 12 (DI Women)
Navy 21 - Vassar 5 (DI Women)
Coast Guard 34 – Loyola 12 (DII Men)
Radford 48 - Michigan 13 (DII Men)
Middlebury 34 – Univ. of N. Colo. 12 (DII Men)
UVSC 13 – ECU 11 (DII Men)
Shippensburg 27 – Norwich 12 (DII Women)
Santa Cruz 60 – Wayne State 0 (DII Women)
Claremont 26 – ECU 0 (DII Women)
Duluth 34 – Western Washington 17 (DII Women)
BYU 37 – SDSU 14 (DI Men)**
Arkansas State 44 – Dartmouth 17(DI Men)
Air Force 45 – Bowling Green 34 (DI Men)
St Mary’s 37 – Kutztown 25 (DI Men)
Tennessee 49 – Army 44 (DI Men) 2 OT
Cal 74 – Cal Poly 6 (DI Men)
Univ. of MN 31 – Utah 18 (DI Men)
Colorado 58 – Penn State 55 (DI Men) OT
Stanford 58 – Virginia 5 (DI Women)
Colorado 17 – UNI 10 (DI Women)
Brown 17 – UC-Davis 12 (DI Women)
West Chester 39 – UCLA 17(DI Women) OT
Navy 27 - Texas A&M 22 (DI Women)
Vassar 58 - Cal 12 (DI Women)
Indiana 26- Florida 19 (DI Women)
Penn State 38 – Chico State 21 (DI Women)
Shippensburg 12 – UC Santa Cruz 7 (DII Women)
Norwich 15 – Wayne State 12 (DII Women)
East Carolina 17 – WWU 5 (DII Women)
U of MN Duluth 32 - Claremont 14 (DII Women)
Radford 48 - Coast Guard 15 (DII Men)
Michigan 34, Loyola 27 – (DII Men)
Univ. of Northern Colorado 27 – East Carolina 16 (DII Men)
Utah Valley State 14 - Middlebury 5 (DII Men)
**These scores have been reviewed and changed from the official score sheet. Sorry for the confusion. **
USA Rugby National Guard College Club Championships Schedule
Stanford University - May 2-3
Men’s Division I Matchups
#1 University of California – Berkeley vs. #5 St. Mary’s College of California
#11 University of Colorado vs. #2 Brigham Young University
Women’s Division I Matchups
#1 Penn State University vs. #5 Brown University
#2 Stanford University vs. #6 U.S. Naval Academy
Men’s Division II Matchups
#4 Radford University vs. #7 Utah Valley State
Women’s Division II Matchups
#1 University of Minnesota – Duluth vs. #6 Shippensburg