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West Chester, Virginia Tech Book Berths in NCR DIAA Final

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West Chester, Virginia Tech Book Berths in NCR DIAA Final

The West Chester team is all smiles after their win.

Virginia Tech proved themselves worthy opponents after a rough regular season, beating Boise State to make the NCR DIAA final in Houston.

The Hokies had finished 5th in the Chesapeake with a 2-4 record, but with the top teams in that conference going to the DI playoffs, there was a chance in the DIAA playoffs for Tech to make their mark. 

The DIAA playoffs for NCR can loosely be described as a true club program postseason, and that's how it fell for Tech, with Queens, Mary Washington, Mount St. Mary's, and Southern Virginia in the Chesapeake all varsity or heavily-school-supported teams. 

Tech's dismantling of Salisbury (admittedly a team that was missing some starters) put everyone on notice, and Sunday they finished it off 27-11 over Boise State.

They will face West Chester, which faced a St. Joseph's team they'd lost to earlier in the season. That result helped St. Joe's finish 1st in the Mid-Atlantic, but West Chester Head Coach Bjorn Haglid said the cold and wet conditions of that game slowed it down and wasn't representative of what his Rams could do.

West Chester also brought in a couple of tactical wrinkles, especially in how SJU flyhalf Jonathan Ahern.

"With them having Ahern at flyhalf, we knew his tendencies and we made some changes on the field to make him change what he did," said Haglid.

Chief among these was to put Joe Dahn on the wing. Usually an impact sub for the Rams, Dahn was a defensive back on the West Chester football team. Fast and a hard hitter, he had come on late in the first meeting of the teams to score two tries. His presence on the wing, where he lined up on the strong side rather than specifically right or left, was noticed by Ahern, who opted to avoid kicking to Dahn.

What that did was change Ahern's approach and give the West Chester defense a little extra time to close in on the St. Joe's backs, especially when they were getting out of their own 22.

"We hoped it would make him think twice about kicking there, and it worked," said Haglid. 

That wasn't all. 

"The real difference was that we didn’t worry about the game and what it meant, to getting to Houston; we just wanted to beat St. Joe’s," said Haglid. "We were more aggressive, we were hungry."

West Chester controlled much of the possession, led all the way through, and booked their place in the NCR DIAA final in Houston with a 30-19 victory.

Freshman scrumhalf Andrew Barber was player of the game with his solid service and his vocal marshalling of the forwards. Flyhalf Nick D'Angelo was also outstanding.