Air Force to face St. Mary’s day after Quarterfinal win over Cal Poly

D1A Rugby: Air Force to face St. Mary’s day after Quarterfinal win over Cal Poly
Photo Credit: Karen Drinkwater

MORAGA, Calif. – Air Force will play its second D1A Playoff game in as many days after a clinical performance saw the Zoomies charge past Cal Poly, 43-17.

In a match that was contested at Saint Mary’s College after last week’s Quarterfinal scheduled to be played at the Air Force Academy was put on hold due to a snow storm, the Zoomies shrugged off a ruling that eventually sent them to California to determine who’d face No. 2 Saint Mary’s April 24 in the Semifinals.

“Our player kept their focus on the match and keeping a solid game plan in play,” said Air Force Head Coach Denny Merideth.

Captain John Joe Murphy gave Cal Poly an initial lead when he scored a try in the 11th minute, but the rest of the opening half would belong to Air Force. Casey Rothstein followed Hunter Hancock’s score with a pair of his own, and lock Grigor Kerdikoshvili collected 11 first half points to put the Zoomies ahead 26-10 at halftime.

Braden Smith matched fellow wing Casey Rothstein’s two tries with his own double in the second frame before blindside flanker Elliot Higgin scored his first D1A try of the season.

Trailing 43-10, Murphy ended his Cal Poly career in style scoring his second try, which Leandro Praseli converted.

Neither team could produce points in the final 20 minutes, leaving Air Force the 43-17 victors. The reward for a determined effort over Cal Poly is a 24-hour turnaround to play the reigning D1A National Champions.

The Semifinal between Saint Mary’s and Air Force is scheduled to kickoff 11 a.m. PT and will be streamed live on Gael Vision.