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Notre Dame College exacted revenge against UC-Davis with a 40-20 win to capture the DI-AA national title. After falling to the Aggies in last year’s DI-AA final, the Falcons used a strong second half performance to prevent Davis winning its third consecutive title.
The Aggies went up 6-0 after the Falcons struggled with penalties. The Falcons struggled to get any possession in the first half and late in the half saw a player sent to sin bin. The Falcons, however, stymied Davis while down a man and Zach Forro managed to get the game’s first try. The Falcons led 7-6 going into the break.
“We realized we were a little tight and making too many mistakes. We told the team that are fitness and defense would be the major factor in determining the outcome of the game. We were very fortunate to have the lead at half, and that was due to our strong defense,” said NDC coach Jason Fox.
Things opened up in the second half. Forro got his second early on, and Charles Winn extended the lead to 19-13. The Aggies got one back to cut the lead to 19-13 but tries from RoNeil Reynolds and game MVP Marcus Tupuola put UC-Davis out of reach. In total, NDC tallied five second half tries for the win.
“We kept possession in the second half and played great defense with aggressive offence. We really played inspired rugby,” Fox added.
Since the loss in the final last year, NDC set a goal of reaching the final and coming away with a national title. The Ohio school used the loss as motivation to get back.
“Our family of rugby players that made their mind up after last years disappointing loss, it would not happen again,” said Fox. “The coaching staff and the whole Notre Dame College community are very proud of the commitment, sacrifice, and dedication that this group of players made throughout both season to finish the job and be able to call themselves National Champions.”
The Falcons will take this win and move on to Rugby East next year. The team will look to continue its success in DIA.
“At the end of the day, we really owe the NDC administration a huge amount of gratitude for supporting the great sport of rugby, and continuing to work with us as we grow as a program,” Fox concluded.