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Day Two of the DI USA Rugby 7s national championship featured the final round of pool play and the quarterfinals of the cup rounds. A number of pools were decided in the final game of pool play and the quarterfinals featured some exciting action with several upsets. In the end, Arizona State, Davenport, AIC and St. Mary’s are the four left standing for Sunday’s action.
Groups A, B, E and F were all decided in the final game of pool play. In group A Central Washington defeated New England College while in pool B Lindenwood beat Cal Poly. Davenport and Arizona State won the battle of the undefeated teams in E and F respectively.
As it turned out a number of these games were do or die. With all six division winners advancing and only two 2nd place teams earning wildcards, four 2-1 teams were on the outside looking in. Despite going 2-1, New England College, Cal Poly, Texas A&M and Bowling Green all missed out on the cup.
Davenport took the top spot after winning three impressive matches without yielding a point. The Panthers took on 8th seeded West Virginia and won. It was much more of a challenge for the Panthers, however, as it was a one score game for most of the match. The Michigan school struck first, but the Mountaineers tied the match before Davenport scored to take a 12-7 halftime lead. The game remained close until the Panthers scored an 11th minute try to ice the match.
“I think we have played alright in spurts. I am not convinced that we have played our best rugby yet. I think we are still trying to put it together for a whole match,” said Davenport coach James Wood. “The guys have come together. We do not really have a standout guy. It has been a team effort and there has not been a game yet where we have not unloaded our bench.”
Both AIC and Central Washington powered through group play and met in another quarterfinal. It was an intriguing matchup as current USA Eagle and CWU star, Seth Halliman, started at AIC before transferring to the Pacific Northwest school. AIC would get the better of Halliman and company with a 15-0 victory. Three scores in four minutes midway through the game and ferocious defense was enough to give AIC the victory. After falling in the semis in both Vegas and the DIAA playoffs, the Yellow Jackets are looking to finally get the hardware.
“We have been defending well, being patient on defense, which helped us get through,” said AIC winger Christian Adams. “To get over the hump we just plan on sticking with what we have been doing…We are taking it as a team, one game at a time. We have never really been worried about any of the teams we have been playing, we have just been trying to go in with the same mental state of any other game.”
The third quarterfinal featured Arizona State and Lindenwood. The Lions were looking to defend their 7s crown but as a result of a strong overall performance from the Sun Devils, they will be passing it on to a new champion in 2016. Arizona State dominated the first half with three unanswered tries and added one more in the second stanza in route to a 24-0 victory over Lindenwood.
“We have been trying to adjust as quickly as we can with obstacles in front of us. It has been nice seeing the boys climb the mountain, gelling more and more as the tournament went on,” Arizona State 7s coach Ian Gregor told Rugby Today. “A lot of the compliments the boys got in the last match is how they played as a cohesive unit. It is fun and entertaining rugby and we are proud of the boys and the way they played.”
The final quarterfinal was a close match between St. Mary’s and Notre Dame College. The teams traded the first four tries with only an extra conversion being the difference in a 14-12 St. Mary’s lead. The Gaels added another converted try in the 12th minute to make it a two score game before NDC got one back late to cut the lead to 21-17. The Falcons ran out of time, however, and St. Mary’s moved on the final four.
The matchups tomorrow will feature Davenport playing St. Mary’s and AIC taking on Arizona State. Catch them live on USA Rugby TV starting at 10AM and 1020AM EST.
|Central Washington||29-0||Kennesaw State|
|New England College||15-7||South Carolina|
|Cal Poly||14-10||St. Bonaventure|
|Saint Mary's||36-5||West Virginia|
|San Diego State||19-19||Oklahoma|
|Notre Dame College||29-0||North Texas|
|Central Washington||19-7||South Carolina|
|Lindenwood||12 10||St. Bonaventure|
|Bowling Green||22-0||San Diego State|
|Notre Dame College||17-7||Wyoming|
|Arizona State||26-7||North Texas|
|New England College||26-7||Kennesaw State|
|Texas A&M||14-12||James Madison|
|Central Washington||19-0||New England College|
|South Carolina||22-0||Kennesaw State|
|Arizona State||29-14||Notre Dame College|
|AIC||20-14||San Diego State|
|St. Mary's||21-17||Notre Dame College|