DIA Roundup: Scores And Notes From A Massive Weekend
DIA Roundup: Scores And Notes From A Massive Weekend
Much happened in D1A Rugby over the weekend, and we've got a bit of a rundown for you.
Kutztown dominated in winning the D1A Open Qualifier in Las Vegas.
KU was only pushed by one team, St Bonaventure, but Bonnies lost to Utah Valley in the battle for 3rd.
Cal has vaulted themselves to at least one vote for #1 in the country after defeating Arizona in convincing fashion on Saturday.
With #1 Life losing to Arkansas State, the door was open for Cal, and the Bears waltzed right through it. Key for Arizona was for the Wildcats to punish any Cal infractions early. That didn't happen, as the usually automatic Robert Figley missed a couple of early penalty attempts.
Let off the hook, the Bears needed no second invitation.
Jack Manzo scored an early try, and then two quick scores from Max Schumacher and Sam Cusano (back from injury and looking good) made it 15-0 after 24 minutes. Seth Purdey's try just before halftime made it 22-0 at the break.
"It was really exciting to get back out there," said Cusano. "It's been fun to watch the boys this spring, but to get a chance to come back and compete is great. We had a lot of possessions in the first half and going into the second, but something we need to work on is finishing tries and not losing our structure."
Purdey scored another, and then an improbably try from Henry Poon on a weird bouncing ball, where Poon wisely nudged the loose ball with his foot to ensure he could control it touch down, made it 34-0 before the Wildcats finally got on the board.
Two Figley penalties were answered by tries from Jason Severance, Nathan Zylstra, and Keanu Andrade, all converted by Ken Kurihara. Arizona prop Ray Weiner got Arizona a try late to make it 55-13.
"We wish Arizona the best going forward," said Cal Head Coach Jack Clark. "They are a good team with some excellent players. On a given day, the Wildcats are capable of beating many higher ranked teams."
Well that also can be read to say that Cal is pretty good too, and they are. Cal has basically wrapped up the PAC Rugby Conference. Having beaten UCLA and Arizona, they have only Utah left and are heavily favored against a rebuilding Utes side. The battle in the PAC is for 2nd, and that could well be decided next week when Arizona visits UCLA.
Did you notice that the #1-ranked team lost? Yes they did. Arkansas State rode a supreme forward effort to victory over Life 29-22.
More here: Arkansas State Upsets Life In Jonesboro
This is a bit of a harbinger, because ASU started nine freshmen. They have a good recruiting class and won because they played smart, physical rugby and good defense, and didn't get rattled. This wasn't a fluke.
Lindenwood beat Clemson 62-7 to move to 3-0 in the conference, and into 1st place. Cael Hodgson and Morgan Purcell each scored two tries for the Lions, who will take on Life in a conference match next week.
"This result ust shows how competitive the Mid-South Conference is," said Arkansas State Head Coach Blake White. "And I think Life vs Lindenwood will show us a lot."
Showing us a lot was Grand Canyon. Shutouts are tough in DIA and so is scoring six tries with no conversions. GCU's defense in beating Santa Clara 30-0 is something to watch. Jacob Burns scored two tries and Roddy Hamilton, Lincoln Sii, Dominick Iacovino, and Rayden Tuaua all touched down.
UC Davis, meanwhile, almost duplicated the shutout feat, holding SD Sate to a lone penalty goal in a 21-3 win.
After that, Grand Canyon is now 3-0 with Saint Mary's to come on Monday—the 'Lopes are taking advantage of President's Day weekend to stay in Northern California, save on airfare, and play the Gaels. It makes sense. Saint Mary's is 4-0 and can wrap up the conference with a win.
The chase for 3rd is a big one, with Cal Poly and UC Davis at 1-2, and Santa Clara at 1-3. Davis plays CPSLO next week.
Baylor got back on a winning note with a 38-27 decision over Texas Tech. Tech got four tries from wing Jacob Hewgley, but Baylor hauled them in late with fullback Luke Davis scoring 18 points.
Texas beat LSU 48-31 to improve to 2-2. Flyhalf Chris Wyat and flanker Josh Burich each scored two tries for the much-improved Longhorns.
LSU flyhalf John Webster scored 21 points on three tries and three conversions. LSU is now 0-5 but only one of those losses, February 1 against Texas A&M, could be called one-sided.
As we detailed, Saint Mary's somehow pulled out a 25-24 win over BYU (five tries and no conversions for the Gaels, by the way). They were a little fortunate, and a little sloppy with possession, but BYU was also much improved defensively. Alexis Glover, Miles McCormick (back from injury), Jonathon Hackett, Chase Jones, and Lorenzo Richardson scored tries for Saint Mary's. BYU got tries from lock James Mocke, center Jacob McKay, and then McKay again. Flyhalf Enzo Martinez converted all three, and Connor Parry added a penalty.
It was a game that sets up a really interesting rematch next month.
Central Washington played new Canadian varsity program Trinity Western, and won 76-10.
"Credit to Trinity Western," CWU Head Coach Todd Thornley said. "They were a great host and certainly forced us into a lot of mistakes in the first half. Our lineout and unstructured attack struggled all night long, but credit to our 23-man roster. They all worked hard to put up some points on a very spirited opponent. We look forward to the next three weeks playing on Tomlinson in front of our home crowd."
Next up for CWU is Utah, then BYU, then the Seattle Saracens, then Army, and then Saint Mary's before they see Trinity Western again.