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DII Semis Set

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DII Semis Set

Whitewater (in white) and Duluth were in the final last year (Henry Elholm photo), and will return to the final four this year.

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater shut out the Coast Guard Academy in an impressive showing to make the national DII semis.

The Warhawks won 39-0 and longtime UWW player Eric Pachowitz said it was a total team effort. Playing against a very good Coast Guard team, Whitewater just didn't let them get anywhere. With Jack Healy, Brandon Lopez, Robby Sindic, Alec Treuthardt, and Conor Bell all scoring, it was equal opportunity on attack as well.

Tim Grams continued his outstanding run of form at scrumhalf. It was a snowy, cold day, but Pachowitz said the Warhawks put all of that out of their mind and simply players the way they know they can.

Also in the DII quarterfinals, defending national champs Minnesota-Duluth had to work for it against North Dakota State. NDSU scored 21 points on Duluth, a rarity for anyone to score that much against the Fighting Penguins. However, Duluth was typically relentless and got tries from Randy Tanaka, Trace Bolstad, Jake Medved, Shawn Madzima, and Zachary Schwartz. Medved, in fact, scored two.

NDSU battled hard and were effective in several aspects, but Duluth returns to the final weekend, where they've won three years in a row.

Joining them will be Norwich, which beat Rowan 38-22. Senior No. 8 Eric Pierone scored three tries to lead the Cadets' offense, including a game-clinching score with four minutes left to put Rowan away for good. The Cadets scored twice before Rowan could get on the board with a pair of converted tries from Tom St. Pierre and Chase Bullen. Keegan Frick converted both.

"It was a real battle in the mud, wind and snow on the frozen tundra," said Norwich Head Coach Bob Weggler. "Rowan tried to take advantage of the wind in the second half by kicking and chasing but we did not break under pressure and did a great job of ball retention." 

And Furman showcased a very structured attack to win on home turf, and get the chance to win a national title on home turf. Furman beat North Carolina State 40-19. The teams battled back and forth, but led by a player-of-the-game performance from Jeff Rein, and with flanekr Mike Sharpe scoring a try and leading on defense, they finished strong. In the final 20 minutes, when it still could have gone either way, Furman took control and won going away.

So that sets up the December 3 semis, with Furman facing Duluth, and Whitewater taking on Norwich. The final is December 4. All games will be at Furman University.