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Three games are on the slate for the Northwest collegiate Rugby Conference as the teams still consider the shakeup from last week's results.
Undefeated Oregon failed to win their first game of the season, as the Ducks tied Washington 12-12.
For Oregon, the result didn't topple them from 1st place in the NCRC West, but for the Huskies, who lost 2-19 to Oregon in November, the tie allowed them to inch closer to the leaders.
"We played Oregon in the Fall so we had a good sense of what we were up against on Saturday, and knew it was going to be a dogfight," said UW Head Coach and former Eagle Brian Schoener. "But ultimately we thought it was one we could win. We have seen rapid growth in our program over the past two years and with that have begun to establish a sense of who we are as a team, and have set realistic expectations for our success. We had the lead into the 77th minute, so to walk away with a tie was very disappointing - not disappointing solely because of the end result, but disappointing because we won 60 of the 80 minutes, but just couldn’t close it out."
Still the tie showed Schoener and his assistants, former USA National Team players Kevin Swiryn and Joe Rissone, that Oregon is not invincible, and maybe UW is right there with them.
"What is working well for us right now is the belief that we belong in the upper echelon of the NCRC," said Schoener. "We believe we have the athletes to compete in every facet this season, but it is the mental aspect of the game that we are trying to drive home to the guys. Mental errors against Western Oregon kept them in the match the previous week, and the desire to finish this week ended up with a tie score. Those are hard lessons to learn, but we hope it inspires the guys to work that much harder."
Washington won that game 39-27, but you can bet this week, when the two teams meet in The Beaver State for a rematch, the Huskies will want to control the final 20 minutes better. UW then takes on Oregon State on Sunday, making this an extra-meaningful weekend for them.
Led by Senior and captain Justin Santos at scrumhalf, the UW backline is an experience and skilled group. Their tight five has three rookie freshmen in the pack, but they've had an immediate impact. And, said Schoener, "our back row is arguably one of the best in the league."
Also on tap this weekend,
Boise State at Idaho
Boise State at Washington State
Oregon at Western Washington University
Washington at Western Oregon
Central Washington still leads the NCRC East with a 4-0 record, with Washington State right behind them at 4-1. Boise State, at 2-2, can make a big move by sweeping their two games.