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Stanford plays UC Santa Barbara Sunday night to decide which of those two
teams makes the DI college final four.
Stanford put away a tenacious Northern Colorado team Saturday evening 33-12, but the score was 18-12 with about 15 minutes to go. Meanwhile UCSB handled Oregon State quite effectively, running out to a 41-7 lead before OSU scored three tries late.
Santa Barbara’s forwards worked hard to stick with the OSU pack, said Head Coach Kevin Battle.
“We had some things to sort out in our kicking game, and the first half was tough,” he said. “But we sorted it out and responded well.”
UCSB are playing without regular inside center Laurie McCowan, who was injured in a fire near his residence on Friday. McCowan suffered 3rd-degree burns and is in a hospital burn unit. He was visited by teammates and coaches on Saturday and early Sunday as well.
“It’s very tough emotionally for the players,” said Battle. “Obviously it’s hard on the team because he’s been our starting inside center all season, so we’ve had to move things around. But more importantly it’s tough for everyone to see and it’s taken an emotional toll on the team.”
McCowan is expected to recover.
Meanwhile Stanford will be looking to control their own performance a little better.
“We had a couple of chances we missed in the first half,” said Stanford Head Coach Matt Sherman. “I think for most of the match we had more territory and possession, although not a ton of it. And there was certainly a period where they had the run of play.”
A big, bruising Northern Colorado team punched through on several occasions, and scored a try in each off.
“When you start falling off tackles against them things can get difficult,” Sherman said.
Sherman added he would have liked to see his team play a more fluid game, but forcing offloads and dropping passes meant they couldn’t string the phases together. He said his teams needs to be more consistent against UCSB.
“Northern Colorado gave us a lot of problems and we couldn’t really fire the way we wanted, but out set piece was good and overall it was a reasonable performance,” Sherman said.
Freshman flyhalf Jason Lijenquist had a very strong game, managing the attack and defense and kicking effectively.
“UCSB will be very different,” warned Sherman. “They have some very dangerous backs and a smart scrumhalf. They will want to get into a very open game and if they can’t go around your or through you they will kick over you, and you have to watch all of that.”