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DIA - Quarterfinals Not Close

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DIA - Quarterfinals Not Close

Michael Geib photo.

The DIA quarterfinals proved to be a startling display of the difference between the top four and the next four.

In addition, the results supported the conventional wisdom in both the Goff Rugby Report DI rankings and the D1A poll, which said that the Mid-South Conference is the best in the nation.

Three Mid-South teams, including the two with 1-3 conference records, not only won their games, but did so in convincing fashion.

Life University powered past Penn State 64-3 in Marietta, Ga. The Running Eagles were cautious, opting for penalty kicks early, which Blane McIlroy duly slotted. It wasn’t until midway through the first half that Life scored their first try - Mitch Wilson going over - and with less than ten minutes left until the break it was only 16-3. But Life scored two tries in the final minutes before halftime, and in the second half their forwards started to take control.

Glenn Maricelli, Zander Van Schalkwyk, Mark Gribben, Jake Anderson, Castle Creighton, and Xander Daniels all scored as the game got away from Penn State.

Davenport defeated Army at West Point 50-24 in a game where the Panthers started much the stronger. 

Army scored first, but Davenport ran out to a 24-7 lead by halftime. They made it 31-7 in the second half before three Army tries put them within a score at 31-24. But tries in the 67th and 69th minute by Davenport put the game out of reach.

The game was the final for ten West Point seniors, who now take their commissions in the United States Army.

Lindenwood ended the 15s season of another service academy, as the Lions grounded the Zoomies 59-12.

The Lions got an early try from Sione Fangaiuiha, and then Sebastien Kalm set up Gabe Farley for Lindenwoods second. Alex Augsburg raced 80 meters to make it 19-0 after 21 minutes, and by halftime it was 54-0. Lindenwood ran in the subs and Air Force kept at it, but the game was done by then. 

And in Moraga, Calif., St. Mary’s put on a show at their stadium, with Kingsley McGowan causing Utah all sorts of problems from the flyhalf position, and a (mostly) healthy Cooper Maloney cutting in from fullback. The Gaels scored early and attacked with their backs from every corner of the field. A talented Utah team didn’t have enough answers, especially in the breakdown, and in the scrum. Out in open pay St. Mary’s ran most of their penalties and the interplay with McGowan, Dyland Audsley, Maloney, and Mike McCarthy, yielded most of their 12 tries.

In the second half, the tight five had a little fun with it, and the front row of Dino Waldren, Mike O’Neill, and Ryan Pratt worked a few breaks to set up tries. Utah replied, and when they worked their offload game they asked questions of the St. Mary’s defense. But a track meet would always go the way of St. Mary’s, and the Gaels galloped home 72-26.

Holden Yungert was superb once again, while McGowan, while not much of a punter of the ball, looks at home at flyhalf, and if the defense left any space open, he was through.

No. 8 Kevin O’Connor led a sterling effort in the forwards, while prop Spencer Vickery put in a full day’s work for Utah. 

So it will be Davenport at St. Mary’s and Lindenwood at Life next week.