Week 24 Recap: Teams Land Big Wins

D1A Rugby: Week 24 Recap: Teams Land Big Wins
Photo Credit: UCLA Rugby Facebook Page

With the regular season winding down many teams tried to cement their place in the playoffs with crucial wins in their games this week.

An undefeated #1 Life side travelled to take on #19 Davenport in a crucial matchup. Life got out to a bit of a slow start in the first half, with Davenport being able to keep pace with Life, entering halftime with Life only up 13-9. In the second half Life scored 26 unanswered points against Davenport, with two tries coming from inside center Harley Wheeler. Life finished the game in style as outside center Nikey Roberts scored the team’s final try in the 80th minute of the match, which was successfully converted by flyhalf Duncan Van Schalkwyk.

#11 Central Washington hosted #17 Utah Valley in an independent matchup this past weekend. Central Washington coach Todd Thornley said his side was expecting Utah Valley to be “A talented physical side that was going to provide a massive challenge and put us under immense pressure.” Flyhalf Lewis Hollidge led Central Washington to a 71-3 win, and helped set up several tries with selfless ball distribution and game management. Winger Siddique Newkirk also contributed with three tries for Central Washington. While Central Washington were effective at the set piece and dominated the kicking game against Utah Valley, there were still some problems to address according to Coach Thornley “We fell off a few too many tackles and had too many negative tackles and gave away a few too many penalties…The scoreline flatters us a bit and it will be a lot closer this coming week.”

Utah was shutout by #3 Cal 118-0 this week. This is the 4th time this season that Cal has shutout a team as well as scored 100 plus points against them. Winger Marcus Shankland had one of the standout performances of the year for a winger, scoring six tries in the win. Fullback Troy Lockyear also contributed in the win with four tries of his own. Cal also faced Santa Clara, beating them 76-16.

In the California Conference, #2 Saint Mary’s shutout out Cal Poly 128-0 on the road. Reserve Derek Ellingson came on in the eight minute to replace the injured fullback Vicente Cunha-Vaz and ended up going on to score four tries in the match, as well as make several conversions. Number 8, Ronan Murphy also had a strong performance, scoring three tries within the span of ten minutes. Hooker Ethan Waller, outside center Tavite Lopeti, and number 22 Alex Glover would each go on to score two tries each in the game. In other California conference action, #18 GCU beat UC Davis 60-12.

In southern California #15 UCLA defeated San Diego State 46-11. UCLA fullback Cian Barry was a constant attacking threat in the match, scoring 16 of UCLA’s points in the game with two tries and three conversions. Winger Eric Naposki also scored two tries for UCLA as well in the win.