Life Men Win Club Title
Life Men Win Club Title
MADISON, Wisc. – The Life University Running Eagles won their second Men’s Division I Club Championship Saturday at the 2014 USA Rugby Emirates Airline Club National Championships with a 39-7 defeat of New Orleans Rugby Football Club.
Less than a month after its undergraduate program lost the DIA Rugby National Championship in Stanford, Calif., the Running Eagles men's club program wasted no time on the Breese Stevens Field pitch, scoring in under two minutes. The Life attack was too quick for NOLA, as an onrushing Jack Tracy (former USA U19) was hit with a pass that set up a big break downfield. NOLA was penalized, and Life capitalized on the lineout with a skip pass to Zach Simkins for the opening try.
Life almost padded the lead in the 10th minute, but a try-line stand by NOLA held off the Running Eagles and resulted in a held-up try for a scrum. NOLA won the scrum and cleared.
A.J. MacGinty, the 2013 Men’s Club Division I Crispin Club Most Valuable Player, at Life’s own 22 had a big run from Life’s own 22 midway through the first half and faked a pass to former Davenport standout Lance Cavanaugh before finally offloading it to the wing. Cavanaugh scored Life’s second try and MacGinty added the extra two points to extend the lead to 12-0.
NOLA responded with two line-breaking runs following the restart, but could not find a way past the stingy Running Eagles defense. The ball was sent wide and NOLA earned a penalty around the Life 22, but the attempted penalty goal missed wide.
Less than five minutes later, Life clinically finished off an attack started by Cavanaugh’s lung-busting run from his side’s own half. Eagle scrum half and former BYU All American Shaun Davies received the ball and used his vision to pick out Cornelius Dirksen in space for Life’s third try.
Life did not sit on its 17-0 halftime lead, as Dirksen scored his second of the match in the 46th minute. MacGinty converted before Cavanaugh, David Gannon, and Thomas Van each added tries before the end of the match. NOLA captain Jarrett Falcon dotted down for a consolation try to bring the final score to 39-7 in favor of the Running Eagles.
NOLA reached the final four of last year’s tournament at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colo., losing to Seattle-OPSB in the Semifinal before a loss to the Denver Barbarians in the consolation match.
Life’s Aaron McMaster was named the Men’s Club Division I Crispin Cider Most Valuable Player.