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Life beat Navy 15-5 in the Cup Quarterfinals early Sunday, advancing to the semifinals to take on the winner of Michigan versus Cal. Life scrumhalf Blane McIlroy scored a brace of tries to put Life over the top.
A series of penalties off the opening kickoff gave Navy attacking possession from the get-go, but Life tackled well and kept the Midshipmen outside the attacking 22. This would be Navy's last real threatening possession until midway through the second half.
After being turned over at the ruck, some Midshipmen indiscipline saw Life move into the scoring end. From a ruck just outside Navy’s 22, McIlroy darted into the try zone untouched. He missed the conversion, making it 5-0 to Life.
Life kicked deep on the restart and pressured hard. Navy’s ball handling faltered under it, and Life earned a five-meter lineout. Mark Gribben appeared to be in for another Running Eagle score, but the pass that put him away was deemed forward.
Navy couldn’t get out of its end, though, before the ball was ripped away in a tackle, making way for Conor Mooneyham to dart in for a try. No conversion, so Life went up 10-0. After a flurry of turnovers, Life kicked to touch to take that lead into halftime.
Navy was just a few feet from getting on the board first in the second half. Dakota Raymond busted up the guts of the Life defense, offloaded to John Ruck, and when Ruck tried to return the favor a whisper from pay dirt, Raymond knocked on. After winning the scrum, Life cleared the ball, ending Navy’s best scoring chance thus far.
The slippery McIlroy caught Navy sleeping once again seconds later, quickly picking up from an attacking ruck and sneaking into the try zone. The conversion was again missed, but Life held a three-score lead, 15-0.
Jack McAuliffe would cross the line to put Navy on the board, but at the death, making the final score 15-5 to Life.