PHILADELPHIA, PA – The 2015 CRC wrapped up on Sunday evening with a literal parade of teams streaming through the stadium. The business end of the weekend saw some familiar schools playing for hardware. Here is a recap of the Sunday afternoon action.
Semi-final #1: Cal 33-5 Life
The first kick for Cal did not go 10, so Life had the first chance on attack. They earned a scrum and then a pair of penalties, moving inside the Cal 22. It was Cal, though who scored first – Harry Adolphus taking advantage of a possession that started with a turnover created by Anthony Salaber. Cal kept the pressure up with an Adolphus grubber for Andrew Battaglia to chase, leading to a Life lineout, 10 meters out. A Life mistake led to a Cal scrum, which led to a simple-looking try for Jake Anderson. 12-0.
At the end of the half, Life had a lineout out just inside the Cal hald, but they kicked possession away and Cal countered with Nick Boyer, who had a strong half, scoring under the posts. At the half, 19-0 to Cal.
As a result of early pressure fro Cal, Blane McIlroy was yellow carded for not retreating 10. Not only did Life lose a player for 2 minutes, they lost one of their key play makers. Moments later, Anderson strode in for another try. 26-0. That Anderson try was the only score while McIlroy was in the bin. With about 4:30 left in the second half, Cal starts to make substitutions and take the foot off the gas a bit. Boyer scored another try after Cal were parked inside the 22 for a spell. 33-0.
While he was on the field in this semi-final, Conor Mooneyham didn’t get a sniff of the ball on attack. The match ended with a try for McIlroy.
Semi-final #2: Kutztown 19-14 Arizona
The first electric moment came when Dante Weeks for Arizona went around Alex Faison-Donahue. Niku Kruger, though, covered the ground from his sweeper role and forced him into touch. A few moments later, Kruger made a sniping run and was able to off load to Faison-Donahue who finished. 7-0, KU.
After another good run for Weeks, Kutztown won the ball back. Kruger made a long pass to Robert Stortz who had a strong run into the Arizona half. The attack fizzled, in part because Kruger was limping around the field and was not able to support when needed. Kutztown was able to get one more after the hooter – several physical phases and then the ball was moved wide to Faison-Donahue who finished in the corner. 12-0 at the half to Kutztown.
Brad Frederick for KU took the second half restart, and then Faison-Donahue moved the ball into the Arizona half. Save for a few seconds, that is where the ball stayed for the first 3-plus minutes of the second half. When Arizona did finally have the ball inside the Kutztown half, Anthony Spencer was able to stab through the defensive line and score under the posts. 12-7, Kutztown. That brought on some replacements for Kutztown who helped spark a strong move that ended with a try for Stortz. 19-7.
The game ended with an 80 meter score for Dante Weeks, which, considering how dangerous he looked in attack, was justice.
Shield Final: Temple 19-12 Boston College
Bowl Final: Notre Dame 22-17 St. Joes
Plate Final: UCLA 33-5 Dartmouth
Stephen Dazzo had the first strong run of the game after a penalty by UCLA. That put Dartmouth inside the UCLA, but a turnover led to a Seb Sharpe try for UCLA. 7-0. UCLA won the restart but then conceded a penalty. For talking back to the referee, Ben Francis was yellow carded. Following that penalty, Dazzo was through a hole and had the gas to go 80 meters. Grant Penny couldn’t quite reel him in. 7-5, UCLA.
UCLA punched back with a Race Noelder try. Then UCLA again won their restart. In the resulting pressure from UCLA, Jake Levine was given a yellow card for a deliberate knock on inside the 22. UCLA capitalized with another Sharpe try. 21-5, UCLA at the half.
A minute into the second half, it was Cody Patch who was yellow carded for a deliberate knock on. UCLA scored from the first phase after the penalty through Noelder again. 26-5. Dartmouth was able to spend some time inside the UCLA half, but when the Bruins got the ball back, it was a quick strike and George Birch scored another try for UCLA. 33-5.
Dartmouth just didn’t have the accuracy or the pace to hang with the Bruins in this match.
The Cup Final: Cal 17-12 Kutztown
Cal won possession from the restart, but committed a penalty at the breakdown which let Kutztown set up a well-rehearsed move. Cal’s defensive line was good and KU just drifted. After a Cal knowck on, though, Faison-Donahue was able to punch ahead. Several phases later, Kutztown won a penalty 5 meters out from Cal’s line and Stortz darted over. 7-0. The loud crowd got even louder when Cal knocked on from the restart. But Kutztown was penalized a few breakdowns later and when Anthony Salaber got the ball, he turned the Kutztown defense inside out. 7-7. After the halftime hooter, Andrew Battaglia looked to be over in the corner, but the assistant referee said he was in touch.
Battaglia got his try less than a minute into the second half, though, as Cal built an overload. 12-7, Cal.
The next few minutes saw some good play, in attack and defense, by KU, but it wasn’t until a great clearing kick from a penalty that they were able to safely get out of their half. Jake Anderson had a strong run, but Jonathan Sage created a turnover and then made a ridiculous offload to Faison-Donahue. He, no big surprise, was not caught. 12-12.
With about 10 seconds left, KU won a penalty at the breakdown, but after the whistle went, Bilal Hassen body slammed a Cal player. He was given a yellow card and the penalty was reversed. Cal was in a great attacking position but knocked the ball on from a pretty catchable pass.
Overtime! Kutztown started still a man down.
Kutztown were penalized at the breakdown 40 meters out. Cal was patient. Jake Anderson got the ball in the middle of the field, stepped past Stortz, and away he went for the game-winning score.
After the game, Cal coach Jack Clark expressed relief – the win being the reward for all the hard work the staff asks all the players to put in. KU coach Doc Jones expressed pride: “We played them as tough as anyone here could.” Of his step at the end and the try, tournament MVP Anderson said, “It could have been anyone. We’re capable 1-7.” Cal is capable, but they were pushed close by Kutztown in what Kruger called, “Finals rugby: anyone could win.” Today, though, was another day for Cal.
Later in the week, we’ll name our 2015 CRC Dream Team, so keep check back for that.
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