Week 25 Recap: Big Matchups Produce Big Wins

D1A Rugby: Week 25 Recap: Big Matchups Produce Big Wins
Photo Credit: Alex Ho

In the second last round of the regular season, there were some massive games taking place, all of which would have an enormous effect on the D1A playoffs.

#1 Saint Mary’s faced their toughest opponent of the year this past weekend, as they travelled to take on #4 Navy. Saint Mary’s shutout Navy in the first half, while scoring 13 points of their own thanks to a try from winger Antoine De La Fontaine and three successful conversions from scrumhalf Sean Yacoubian. This was a game won by the rock-solid defense of St Mary’s, who kept Navy scoreless for 75 minutes of the match, only allowing a single try near the end of the match. This is Navy’s third loss of the year and their second straight after losing to Life on March 9th. St Mary’s moves to 11-0 this year and will face their biggest test of the year next weekend when they take on # 3 Cal.

Cal hosted #10 Arizona in their closest game of the year, so far. Cal was able to keep Arizona tryless until late in the second half, and by the time the Wildcats were able to score it was, too little, too late, as CAL had already scored 55 points against them. Winger, Marcus Shankland, got things off to a blistering start for Cal, as he scored back too back tries within the first six minutes of the game. Shankland, would lead the team in tries on the day, as he managed to score once more in the second half before being subbed off. Cal, sits firmly atop the standings in the PAC conference and will look to build on their performance this week heading into their match against the number one team in the country, Saint Mary’s.

#2 Life took on #5 Lindenwood as they looked to remain undefeated and reclaim their spot as the number one team in the country. While Lindenwood took the lead in the 6th minute of the match, with a penalty kick, Life still came out strong in the first half. Life inside center, Harley Wheeler scored two crucial tries early on to give his team the lead. He scored both within six minutes of each other, to put Life ahead. Life would go on to win 47-6, managing to shut down Lindenwood’s attack and prevent them from scoring a try in the game.

#11 Central Washington spent their week touring Utah, taking on both # 8 BYU and Utah Valley in the process. Central Washington dropped their first game of the tour to BYU, losing 24-17 after BYU were able to run in two tries in the final eight minutes of the game. Central Washington rebounded against Utah Valley though, winning 32-19. Utah Valley though were able to score two tries in the final ten minutes of the match to keep the score line close. Central Washington will need to work on their ability to close out games if they wish to make a deep run in this year’s playoffs, an issue that was highlighted for them on this tour.