Written by Will Dietrich-Egensteiner    Friday, 20 May 2011 20:48    PDF Print Write e-mail
Boy's High School Semifinal Roundup
School Age - Boys
Jesuit in action. Dobson Images
Gonzaga in action Dobson Images

The Boy's High School National Semifinals wrapped up today, with Xavier beating Charlotte Catholic in a penalty shootout and Sacramento Jesuit handing Gonzaga a 45-7 loss.

It's not usual to see any match end in a shootout, much less a semifinal, but with the score tied at 22 at the end of regulation, the referees consulted the rules and it was determined that overtime goes directly to penalty kicks. To start off the match, Xavier standout Eddie Sullivan again dictated proceedings, making the first penalty kick and scoring an unconverted try. Despite this, Charlotte Catholic still held the lead, 15-8, at halftime.

In the second half, Xavier's Chris Mattina scored a try, which Sullivan converted to tie the game at 15 all. But Charlotte Catholic scored again to retake the lead, setting up a thrilling end to the game. On the last play, Sullivan sprinted 20 meters to score in the center of the try zone. He then converted his own try before the final whistle to tie it at 22-22.

In overtime, each team was allowed five attempts at goal. Xavier's Sullivan, Jimmy Wolfer, Mattina and lock James Kontrat all split the posts, while only one Charlotte player found the mark, wrapping up a thrilling match.

"It was very tense," Xavier's Jim O'hara said.

In the other semifinal, Sacramento Jesuit made amends for their loss in the semifinals last year and defeated Gonzaga, 45-7.

The first 10 minutes of the match were scoreless before Jesuit scored. Soon after, a Gonzaga player was yellow carded and Jesuit took advantage of the sin-binning by scoring another try. In the last play of the half, a Jesuit player intercepted a Gonzaga pass and took it all the way to the try zone. Jesuit continued scoring in the second half, while Gonzaga only managed to score one converted try.

"Jesuit was clearly the better team so all hats off to them," Gonzaga coach Peter Bagetta said. "Whatever mistakes we made they punished us for it. When you're playing a class team like Jesuit, they will take advantage of your mistakes. It doesn't take away from the season our guys have had. They worked really hard and we will be ready to play again tomorrow."

When the final takes place tomorrow, Xavier will have the chance to repeat as national champions. But it will be tough considering Jesuit won the national title in both 2009 and 2008. Jesuit has looked like the more dominant team in the tournament so far, but as Xavier showed in the semifinals, they can find a way to win games right at the very end. The two teams face off tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. (MST).

Written by Press Release    Friday, 20 May 2011 20:12    PDF Print Write e-mail
Tennessee Confirmed leaving the CPD
Colleges - Men's DI College

Tennessee is the first of what RUGBYMag expects to be between three and six teams to leave the College Premier Division and return to DI. Below is Tennessee's press release on the move.

After participating in the inaugural season of USA Rugby’s Collegiate Premier Division, the University of Tennessee has elected to return to Division I for 2011/2012.  The Volunteers will compete in the first year of the Southeastern Collegiate Rugby Conference.

“While we are grateful for the opportunity to compete in the CPD, it is in our program’s best interest to focus on the SCRC and compete in Division I moving forward,” said new Head Coach Marty Bradley. “While the CPD was certainly an excellent competition, the SCRC is a better fit for us and will allow us to effectively promote our sport on campus and in the community while playing against our school’s traditional rivals.”

The Southeastern Collegiate Rugby Conference will feature teams of the traditional SEC schools competing in a spring competition as part of the new conference system of USA Rugby. The Volunteers look forward to renewing rivalries with Georgia, South Carolina, Florida and the balance of the rugby teams from schools of the SEC.

Tennessee will open the fall semester with a series of Olympic Sevens competitions including the SCRC Sevens Championship during August and September. In October the Vols will host Virginia Tech and Life University, and travel to take On Elon University and Wake Forest University. UT will also take their annual extended trip during Fall Break and is currently seeking possible opponents.

Rugby was first played on the campus of the University of Tennessee in 1970. Today Tennessee Rugby features a roster of over 50 dedicated student athletes.  Coaches for the 2011/2012 academic year include:  Marty Bradley (Head Coach), Andy Allen, David Codevilla, Mark Donaldson, Joe Siragusa and Michael Weldon.

Written by Pat Clifton    Friday, 20 May 2011 19:25    PDF Print Write e-mail
Lions Expect to be Competitive
Clubs - Men's DI Clubs

USA Rugby’s decision to bar players who started two or more Super League games from the DI postseason didn’t please the Chicago Lions (the only team affected) but didn’t hamstring them, either, as they prepare to take on Mystic River at Manassas Park, Virg. Saturday in the Sweet 16.

“We’ve always maintained we needed a big player base, because there’s no good in trying to do two things and not have the players to do it. So one of our things has been trying to broaden it, and create depth by broadening it,” said Lions coach Wez Parkes, who maintains the RSL and DI sides have been mutually exclusive, for the most part.    

“In the fall season we were allowed to use one or two Super league guys, to use them to play alongside some of these young guys and give them whatever experience or whatever pointers they could, and coming out of that, this has truly been our DI squad, and this is their rightful playoffs. As such, we’ve made a little bit of a distinction between the two just to create an identity.”

Parkes says the Lions have received a boost from recent college graduates who’ve joined the club this season, and their relative inexperience in the postseason could provide some hurdles. Parkes is also pretty green himself, in terms of the DI playoffs.   

“It’ll be interesting. As a coach, I don’t have a lot of experience in the later rounds of DI stuff, and it’s always interesting as you come into it. We’ve got a fairly young team, a lot of young guys. We feel pretty good about what we’ve got. We don’t have any superstars, they’re just good, honest workers, so it’ll be interesting to see how our game holds up against Mystic,” he said.

“It’s just showing up Saturday to play. For some of those guys, it’ll be their first big trip to play rugby. On the field we feel pretty good with that, but it’s how we deal with the variables.”

The winner of the Lions and Mystic River advances to play the winner of Potomac Athletic Club and Palmer Sunday. 

Written by Pat Clifton    Friday, 20 May 2011 19:42    PDF Print Write e-mail
PacCoast Title Not Enough for Fresno
Clubs - Men's DII Clubs

Pacific Coast Champs Fresno are back in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2002, when they were bounced in their first game of the weekend by the Southside Irish. Only a handful of players from that season will boot up against Pasadena Saturday in Chula Vista, Calif., but don‘t expect Fresno to be deer in the headlights.

“I’m open of those four or five,” said Fresno captain Walt Pickering. “That was my first year playing, so it’s definitely a little bit different experience. I believe that year we also won the Pacific Coast championship. This time we have a lot of confidence in our ability, but at the same time we prepare the same week in and week out -- expect to get a battle from anyone we play.”

Fresno’s been through a lot of battles in the past two seasons. Playing in Northern California, they’re used to physically demanding matches every week, and those demands don’t subside in the Pacific Coast playoffs.

“I think our local union, Northern California, prepares us for the Pacific Coast and the Pacific Coast prepares us for the National Tournament, so it’s an honor to get to play those two tournaments and to get to play in the Sweet,” Pickering added.

Fresno are back-to-back NorCal Champs. Last season they didn’t play as well as they though they should have at the Pacific Coast Championships, and that, coupled with a wacky playoff structure, prevented them from reaching the Sweet 16.

A year later, and now in the National Tournament, Fresno does not yet feel as though they’ve righted the ship from 2010.

“I wouldn’t say we’re totally vindicated. We want to keep winning,” said the captain. “We played really well in the Pacific Coast Championships, so we are really excited and ready to see what we can do in the Sweet 16. When we’re this close, we can smell it, so we’re doing everything we can to get to our first National Championship.” 

The winner of Fresno vs. Pasadena draws the better of Fort Worth and Santa Rosa Sunday.

Written by Will Dietrich-Egensteiner    Friday, 20 May 2011 17:58    PDF Print Write e-mail
Boy's U19 Semifinals Wrap Up
School Age - Boys

The Boy's U19 National Semifinals took place earlier today, with Highland Rugby (Utah) going up against Cathedral (Ind.) and Utah United facing Kansas City Jr. Blues.

In the first semifinal, Highland came out on top with a 44-0 victory. Highland has been known to put a little fear into other teams and it was no different this time around. Cathedral appeared to be hesitant, more so than when they played Belmont Shore (Calif.) earlier today in the quarterfinals. "It was a whole different level even from the quarterfinal game we played this morning," Cathedral assistant coach Scott Peterson said. "We had a shot early on, a couple penalties within the five-meter line but we couldn't convert. They took it 90 meters and scored and it was pretty much one-way traffic after that."

In the second semifinal, Utah United got away with a 29-20 victory. It came down to United being bigger up front and using this to their advantage. The Kansas City backs did not want to risk giving possession away in their own territory, so they tried to use a tactical kicking game to pin United deep, but this just ended up giving the ball back to the United backline.

Kansas City coach Brian O'Laughlan said that his team played very well but gave United a jump start at the beginning. United was ahead at the half, 19-8. Kansas City scored one converted try, two unconverted tries and a penalty kick but it wasn't enough. "It was a tough game all around," O'Laughlan said.

This sets up a Highland/Utah United final and both these teams have plenty of experience playing for a national title. This is the fourth consecutive year that Highland and United have met in the championship game, with United winning last year and Highland the year before. It is Highland's coach Larry Gelwix's last year coaching the team, so his players will be determined to send him off with a national championship. The two Pacific Coast powerhouses will leave everything they have on the field when they compete for the trophy tomorrow at 4:30 (MST).


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