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Stanford, BYU Move On in CRAA Women D1 Playoffs

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Stanford, BYU Move On in CRAA Women D1 Playoffs

Stanford defeated Grand Canyon 39-22 in the CRAA Women's D1 spring quarterfinals Friday at Steuber Rugby Stadium in Palo Alto, Calif.

Also in Stanford BYU took on Cal and Sac State played San Diego State in a D2 quarterfinal. Sac State beat SD SU 41-12.

Playing at home Stanford unleashed their explosive backline but it was the forwards tat got the scoreboard ticking over. Lock Elly MacKay once again get over the tryline—her running and ability to change direction makes her an honorary back—and prop Vanessa Onuoha crashed over to cap a long period of pressure. Then hooker Kaela Verner just would not be denied, barrelling through about five tacklers.

Grand Canyon spent more of the first half trapped in their half and didn't seem to have an answer for how to get out. MacKay then ran onto a flat pass to charge in from 22 meters out. That made it 24-0 at halftime with MacKay converting as well.

Grand Canyon struck quickly in the second half. Kalisi Pooi capped off a period of go-forward for the 'Lopes, which was helped along by a Stanford penalty. Then Bianca Curtis came off the bench to go over after and impressive run. But Stanford figured something out after that. They saw that kicks to create pressure might five them a chance.

A grubber to the tryline didn't quite result in a try, but eventually a clearance kick from GCU landed in the hands of fullback Sydney Hsu, who fended off the first chaser beautifully and raced around the outside to score. Not to be outdone, 'Lopes outside center Angel Lucero then burst around the edge to make it 29-17. 

But Stanford had a roadmap to keep the lead. A long restarts from MacKay (of course) led to a knock-on by GCU and that gave Stanford a chance to regain some momentum. From there the Cardinal put flanker Sydney Davis over. That made it 34-17 and Stanford once again went to the boot to force GCU into a mistake. 

It worked, and once again Davis found a gap and was through. GCU ended it with Lucero scoring on a pick-and-go, but the 'Lopes will rue their slow start.

BYU won comfortably 64-0 over Cal. 

While Cal did get some go-forward, BYU did what they generally do. A thunering run from prop Kami Hartrick opened the scoring. A kick ahead bounced for wing Makayla Komer to race onto and go in from long range. A turnover and Komer was in for her second, and she made her third straight conversion. Passing and speed put wing Mia Smith over and now it was 26-0.

That's how it progressed. BYU had Cal overall for pace and some tough, hard-working forwards, with a strong back row of Boots Aspinall, Bailey Ballard, and Roxy Peñaloza leading the way.

So Stanford and BYU will face off Saturday in the semifinal for a spot in the final in Houston. The Eastern bracket kicks off tomorrow.