BOULDER, Colo. – It’s down to four teams in the race for the 2015 D1A National Championship. Two of the teams, Life and Saint Mary’s, know all about reaching the title game, while Davenport and Lindenwood desperately seek a chance to claim thier first Championship.
Life vs. Lindenwood – Marietta, Ga. 12:30 p.m. ET
The Running Eagles enter their Semifinal having beaten the Lions twice this season. However, the combined margin of victory was just seven points, so Lindenwood should enter the Semifinal confident they can hang with the No. 1-ranked team in the country.
On the injury front, both teams are a bit healthier than last week, but still missing key components. AIG Men’s Collegiate All-American Mikey Gierlach returned from injury to face Air Force, and will be once again starting in the second row for Lindenwood. Wes Parker, a Junior All-American, is back on the match day roster, but will begin the game on the bench after missing each of the first two Playoff matches. Unfortunately for the Lions, James Poli is out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury.
In Life’s camp, impact flanker Hiko Malu will be in the No. 6 jersey after the sophomore missed last week’s contest with Penn State. Harley Davidson, who played a huge part in the Running Eagles’ National Championship run in 2014, is still missing from the Life lineup.
Saint Mary’s vs. Davenport – Moraga, Calif. 1 p.m. PT
Unlike the other Semifinal matchup, Saint Mary’s and Davenport know very little about one another. Although Davenport arrived in California with plenty of momentum, so did Lindenwood last year when they faced the Gaels in the Semifinal, and the Lions were toasted, 72-7. Expect today’s clash to be much closer, as the Panthers are a much older and experienced side than the Lindenwood team that couldn’t keep pace with Saint Mary’s in 2014.
There are a couple of intriguing individual matchups to keep an eye on in Moraga. Two of the very best hookers in college rugby will duke it out in the scrum in Davenport’s Gabe Sochanek and Saint Mary’s Mike O’Neil. Like the hooker position, two All-Americans will be sporting the No. 10 jersey – JP Eloff and Kingsley McGowan. Both are elusive, capable of putting teammates through a narrow gap, and massively important to their team’s success.