BOULDER, Colo. – Four thrilling College Premier Division (CPD) matches are set to take place on Saturday May 7 as the postseason gets underway. The top seeds from each of the four conferences earned home field advantage for their performances during the regular season. Four of the eight quarterfinalists from this weekend’s action will advance to the semifinals on May 14. The semifinals will be broadcast live on ESPN3 and on tape delay on ESPNU and ESPN International.
CPD Quarterfinals – Saturday May 7, 2011
Life University @ University of California – Berkeley (Cal), Pat Vincent Field, St. Mary’s College Campus, 1 p.m. Pacific
St. Mary’s College @ Arkansas State, ASU Rugby Pitch, Jonesboro, Ark., 1 p.m. Central
Navy @ BYU, BYU South Field, Provo, Utah, 1 p.m. Mountain
CPD Quarterfinal – Sunday May 8, 2011
Utah @ Army, Anderson Rugby Complex, West Point, N.Y., 2 p.m. Eastern
Life @ Cal
Cal, the top seed from the Pacific Conference, will host the second seed from the Mid-South, Life University, on Saturday but as construction is underway on Cal’s facility, the match will be played on St. Mary’s home field.
Cal has been absolutely dominant throughout the regular season, scoring 546 points in their seven regular season games (an average 78 points per game).
Jack Clark and his staff have created another outstanding Cal side that plays a clinical and disciplined style of rugby featuring an evenly balanced attack. Remarkably, none of Cal’s players are in the top list of try-scorers in the CPD, but the team has over ten players who have scored four or more tries over the course of the season. Blaine Scully, Seamus Kelly, James McTurck, and Dustin Muhn are among Cal’s danger men but Cal is a team that can strike from just about anywhere.
Life will lean heavily on its leaders, loose forwards Cam Dolan and Garrett Lambert, to disrupt Cal’s rhythm and spoil ball. Dolan and Lambert have combined for more than 17 tries this season and have proven that they are some of the elite loosies in the competition.
St. Mary’s @ Arkansas State
The quarterfinal showdown in Jonesboro will be a great matchup. St. Mary’s has an axe to grind with ASU after being eliminated by the Red Wolves in last year’s playoffs, losing by a slim margin.
St. Mary’s played Cal tough in their only loss of the season and will need to play with substantial grit to overcome the Red Wolves at home.
ASU’s flyhalf, Pat Sullivan, has been the leader and linchpin of the Red Wolves attack with his superior passing and kicking abilities. Sullivan has dotted down six tries this season and has been lethal with the boot as well. If he’s having a good day Saturday, St. Mary’s might have cause for concern.
Navy @ BYU
Navy lost to Army last week and gave Army the Rugby East title and home field advantage in the quarters. The salt in those still-exposed wounds is that Navy has to play BYU at home now.
BYU, led by the CPD’s most dominant eight man Ryan Roundy, will be raring to go in the quarters. Roundy leads the CPD in tries scored, tallying 19 for the Cougars. Modest and still hardworking, Roundy is going to be a hard man to contain for Navy. BYU’s halfbacks have been outstanding and they are given plenty of go-forward ball by their massive forward pack, which certainly helps them unleash the midfield and outside backs.
The Navy v. BYU game will be webcast on the BYU Rugby website.
Army @ Utah
Army will host Utah, the number two seed in the Western Conference, on Sunday for a chance to move into the semis. Army put away Navy to win the Rugby East title and have momentum moving into the postseason. However, Utah has some potent weapons in their arsenal, namely Don Pati and Thretton Palamo (if available).
Army also has some weapons of their own in the form of try-scoring machine Ben Leatigaga and the pinpoint kicking of sophomore flyhalf Will Holder. Leatigaga and Holder have been in pique form the last few weeks and both played prominent roles in Army’s conference title-clinching win over Navy. In that game, Leatigaga scored a hat trick and Holder tallied 19 points, scoring two tries, nailing three conversions and a penalty kick.
An interesting aspect of this game will be match sharpness. Utah hasn’t played a game since April 23 after smashing the University of Wyoming and Colorado State in successive nights on the road. Army pulled out a win in a nail-biting conference title game last weekend.
The winner of Cal v. Life will play the winner of Army v. Utah and the winner of St. Mary’s v. Arkansas State will square off with the winner of BYU v. Navy.
The semifinal matches will take place on May 14 at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colo., and will kick off at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET.
Both semifinals will be shown live on ESPN3.com. ESPNU will show both matches on same-day tape delay at 10:30 p.m. and midnight ET.
Jarrod Beckstrom | Communications Manager | USA Rugby | firstname.lastname@example.org