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Pool play has concluded at the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby championship, setting the stage for the Cup rounds on Sunday. Four teams went 3-0 on the day and the four best 2-1 teams advanced to the Cup quarters.
The two-time defending champions, Cal Bears, came out of the gate strong cruising to victory over Boston College and Notre Dame. In its final game of the day, Cal defeated a feisty Virginia Tech squad 12-7 to secure the top seed in the Cup quarters.
Newcomers Boston College showed glimpses of strength on the day, scoring a well executed try to take a 5-0 lead over Cal but was unable to muster any more points in the contest. The Eagles drew with Virginia Tech but ended up falling to Notre Dame and finishing at the bottom of the group.
Despite the Hokies strong effort against Cal, their tie with Boston College kept the ACRL champs out of the Cup rounds. Finishing 1-1-1 was not good enough to garner a spot in the top eight.
The Navy Midshipmen played three sound game this afternoon, highlighted by a 24-14 victory over last year’s runner up Kutztown. Navy mixed things up a bit this year, sending the sure footed, Jack McAuliffe out wide to win the air balls. The All-American was all over the field today, having his hand in a number scores, including dotting down twice against the Running Bears.
Dakota Raymond spearheaded the Navy team today, in particular in the service academy rivalry with Air Force. The Midshipmen jumped on the Zoomies early and ran away with the match.
After falling to Navy, Kutztown came out strong against Temple led by Alex Faison-Donahoe. Donahoe scored two quick tries, sending the Running Bears on their way to a 49-7 victory. Niku Kruger was perfect with the boot and the hefty victory propelled Kutztown into the final eight.
After earning its way into the tournament by winning the Big Ten, Indiana showed everyone that they are a real contender at the CRC. The Hoosiers defeated the always dangerous Life Running Eagles in route to a perfect Saturday.
Tyler Graham and Jake Hidalgo led the way with three scores each for the Hoosiers. Indiana played an incredibly skilled game, taking the ball into contact and finding oncoming players for offloads. The Hoosiers, who had been suspended for the last two post seasons, are finally able to showcase their skills on the big stage.
Needing a win to secure a spot in the cup quarters, Life took care of business against Alabama winning 36-0. Conor Mooneyham and Blane Mcllroy provided much of the offense on the day for the Running Eagles. Life finished 2-1 on the afternoon and secured a wild card in the process.
Arkansas State continued its two-year-old winning streak in 7s by sweeping pool play. Although the Red Wolves did not pile up the points on the day, they played superb defense yielding only 15 points in three games. Dylan Carrion quarterbacked the ASU attack and will help from Conor Cook, Glen Erikson and David Snead, the Red Wolves moved to 3-0 on the day.
Michigan finished pool D with a 2-1 record, getting a come from behind win over the UCLA Bruins. Sequoya Burke-Combs led the charge offensively, netting three tries on the day. With the victories over Texas and UCLA, the Wolverines squeaked into the Cup rounds as the eight seed.
After dispatching Texas 50-0 in its opening match, UCLA failed to build on the momentum, losing to Michigan and being blanked by ASU. The past two years the Bruins have reached the Cup semi-finals, but unfortunately for them, they will be heading to the Bowl in 2015.
Arizona bounced back from a disappointing 2014 campaign to go 2-1 in pool play and win group E. The Wildcats dismantled Penn State but slipped up against St. Joes, losing 12-5. Arizona knocked off Dartmouth, however, to cement its place in the Cup rounds. Dante Weeks dotted down three times against Penn State and twice more against Dartmouth to lead the Wildcats.
Due to the terrible performance in its final game of pool play, Dartmouth misses out on the cup-quarters tomorrow. Despite finishing 2-1, the Big Green had a worse point differential than Michigan and will head to the Plate.
St. Joe’s who had been playing at a high level all season, got into a hole early by losing to Dartmouth 31-7. The Philly school played a sound defensive game against Arizona, however, holding the Wildcats to a consolation try at the end of the match. The day would end in heartbreak for St. Joe’s, though, as the Hawks blew a late lead to Penn State, dashing any hopes of advancing to the Cup quarters.
Not much went right for Penn State early in the day but a solid win in its final pool play game should build momentum for tomorrow. Mike Eife finished with two tries in the win and four on the day.
With the conclusion of pool play, the quarterfinal matchups are all set for Sunday.
1. Cal vs 8. Michigan
2. Arkansas State vs 7. Arizona State
3. Indiana vs. 6. Kutztown
4. Navy vs. 5. Life