D1AA Sets Up its Spring Championship Match After a Wild Weekend Series

Over the weekend Long Beach State the University of Kansas played host to the D1AA spring quarter and semifinals. It was a wild two days of rugby, that provided a myriad of twists and turns.

LAFAYETTE, CO- Over the weekend Long Beach State the University of Kansas played host to the D1AA spring quarter and semifinals. It was a wild two days of rugby, that provided a myriad of twists and turns.

In Kansas it was Dartmouth and the University of Central Florida that made it out of the quarters.  Dartmouth was up against Missouri in the first fixture, and it was one way traffic from the opening kickoff. Dartmouth opened the game by scoring 17 un answered points in the first 17 minutes of the game, and by half time they had opened up a 27-3 lead. Dartmouth eventually winning 37-10. UCF and Kansas played a tighter affair. Going into the sheds at half time UCF lead by only two points, but eventually UCF pulled away in the second stanza to win 33-20.

Out West in California, the games were played much closer, and provided those in attendance with some scintillating rugby. Long Beach State and Nevada were both able to advance through to the semis after surviving some scares along the way. Long Beach took down Chico State, who were thought of as a contender for the national championship, in a classic affair. Long beach, despite opening the scoring, fell behind early and were left to play catch up, as at half time they were staring down the barrel of a 25-14 deficit. However, two tries back to back helped them tie the game up heading into the final twenty minutes. It took a stroke of individual brilliance from Long Beach's fly-half, Steven Bodley to break the deadlock, as he slotted a forty-two meter drop goal and from there Long Beach never looked back, clinching it, 36-28. Nevada similarly landed a come from behind victory against Western Washington. They fell behind 19-0 in the first twenty minutes, but by the half clawed back to be only seven points back at 24-17. With twenty minutes left, they were down by two tries, but two tries in two minutes brought them right back into the contest and through the boot of replacement Aodhan Downey they were able to pull ahead 40-34.

On Sunday the two semi-finals could not have been a more contrasting affair. In Long Beach, it was a tight affair that could have gone either way, up until the final whistle, while in Kansas, the match was over almost as soon as it had begun as Dartmouth ran away with it 83-0. In California, Nevada was in front from start to finish, but try as they might they were never able to pull away from Long Beach and put the game away. Nevada held a 10-0 lead as they went into the half, and as late as the 60th minute were leading by two tries. However, Long Beach proved to be a thorn in their side scoring two tries in ten minutes to only be down by three points with ten minutes remaining. Despite the time and opportunities afforded to them, they were unable to equalize or pull ahead, and the game ended with Nevada advancing via a score line of 20-17.

Dartmouth will now face Nevada in the Spring Championship at East Carolina University, with the winner advancing to the National Championship where they will take on Mary Washington, the fall D1AA champions.