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Austin Blacks kicking on Treasure Island. Austin Brewin photo

The Austin Blacks used a strong first half to defeat the Life West Gladiators 30-17 in the DI semifinals. Austin scored the first 23 points and held off a late second half surge to knock out the reigning DII national champs.

Life West looked to get out to a faster start than yesterday and earned a penalty within kicking range. The Gladiators missed the kick, however, and conceded a penalty just in side its own side of midfield. Steven Jones made no mistake with his attempt to give Austin an early 3-0 lead.

The Blacks added to their lead in the 6th minute off a Life West turnover. After picking up a coughed ball, Austin sent a grubber kick through. It bounced perfectly to oncoming winger Matthew Radzavich who took it in for a try under the post. Jones’ conversion along with another penalty put Life West in an early 13-0 hole.

Austin nearly went up 20 minutes later, but a forward pass ended a pretty set of phases and a score in the corner. Not to be stopped, however, Austin jumped on a loose ball deep in Gladiator territory and Levi Kereti cruised in for a score. With less than 20 minutes played, Austin led 20-0.

The Blacks added a penalty to extend the lead to 23-0 but the Gladiators slowed Austin’s momentum. They shot themselves in the foot on a number of occasions with couple of knocks and poor execution keeping them off the scoreboard going into the break.

It was more of the same to start the second half. Solid positional kicking put Austin deep in Life territory. The forwards won a lineout and sent it through the hands left. Pierce Reed came on to the ball at pace, shrugged off a defender and emphatically grounded the ball for a 30-0 lead.

David Tameileau finally broke through for Life West 10 minutes into the second half. The big forward powered over to left of the posts but the conversion was missed. Life added another score 10 minutes later. Similar to the Austin score, Life West spun the ball wide and after a cut back inside, the Gladiators cut the game to 30-10.

After a couple of missed penalties from Jones, Life West struck again. A shoestring tackle saved a try momentarily but an offload from the ground cut the lead to 30-17. The Gladiators remained on the front foot for the remainder of the game but could not score any more points.

Austin returns to the finals after falling to NYAC in the national championship game last spring. The Blacks will face another northeast team but this time it will be Mystic River who the Blacks must defeat to take home the crown.

The DI National Championship will take place at Infinity Park in Glendale, Co. on June 7th.

Match Details

05.22.16 Tucson, Ariz.
Final Score
Life West
Austin Blacks