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Grand Valley State Outlasts Xavier, Weather to Win Great Lakes

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Grand Valley State Outlasts Xavier, Weather to Win Great Lakes

Two second-half tries put Grand Valley State past Xavier University of Cincinnati to give GVSU the Great Lakes Conference championship and a place in the 2015 Men’s DII College playoffs.

The game was marked by weird weather. While the Great Lakes conference had a series of NSCRO games earlier in the day played in perfect weather at Baldwin-Wallace College in Ohio, the DII final saw rain, wind, and hail.

“It was almost comical,” said GVSU head Coach John Mullett.

The weather made for a sloppy game, as did the intensity and emotion. Xavier ran out to an early lead, but GVSU tied it up 12-12 at halftime, and the teams looked set for an even second half, as well.

“My guys just needed to settle down,” said Mullett. “In the second half, twice they gave up the ball in our 22, and it was just a case of the forwards just grinding it out.”

And that was it. Two unconverted tries put GVSU through 22-12.

“Xavier is very good,” said Mullett, whose on team got big games from flanker Cam Maher and inside center Dylan Bergbower. “I give them a lot of credit. I don’t feel like we outplayed them - we just ended up with more points.”

 Grand Valley State got bad news this week when flyhalf Louis Ricard was unable to go because of an injury. Mullett called on Jared Preston to step in and fun the backline in his first start as a flyhalf. Preston did well under very difficult circumstances to help his side to the victory.

GVSU now looks ahead to a play-in match with the WIIL #3, either Northern Iowa or Northern Michigan.