Home teams hold supremacy in first round

Cal Poly SLO, Army, Colorado, Davenport, Colorado State, San Diego State, Santa Clara, California Conference, East, Wyoming, Mid-South, West

Home teams hold supremacy in first round

Photo Steve Zomberg (homepage) & Ed Navarrow (right)

BOULDER, Colo. – D1A’s opening round of the 2014 playoffs saw each of the four home teams hold home pitch advantage and advance to next Saturday’s Quarterfinals.

Both Cal Poly and Santa Clara out of the California Conference disposed of their opponents from the West rather easily, while Davenport and Colorado were forced to scrape and claw their way towards victories against Army and San Diego State, respectively.

Davenport 28-24 Army

Playing a physical West Point team, Davenport matched Army’s physicality and was able to stay a step ahead of the visiting team for the entire first half. Army took its first lead 10 minutes into the second half when Jeff Ferebee found the try zone to put the Black Knights up 19-18. Flyhalf Brady Gent regained the lead for the Panthers when he notched three of his 13 total points with a penalty kick.

With only five minutes remaining, Army responded when senior prop Ferebee muscled in for his second try and put West Point on the verge of a playoff victory on the road. However, Army’s upset bid would be squashed when freshman Reese Oberlin scored the game-winning try in the 79th minute.

Davenport advances to play a familiar foe in Lindenwood University. The two Mid-South schools met twice during conference play, with Lindenwood winning both matches.

Cal Poly 46-7 Wyoming

Initially, Wyoming looked up for the challenge of knocking off Cal Poly. The Cowboys scored a converted try to tie the match at seven-all 15 minutes into the first round playoff game. The try given must have woken up the Mustangs, who went on to score the final 39 points of the match.

Speedy winger Matt Long contributed two tries to help Cal Poly in its opening round blowout. Next Saturday, the Mustangs travel to Jonesboro, Ark., to play No. 3-ranked Arkansas State.

Colorado 22-17 San Diego State

In a physical match that was marred by ball-handling errors on both sides, San Diego State did not seem negatively affected by the high altitude or the fact that Head Coach Alex Lichtig’s starting XV was represented by eight freshman. In fact, the Aztecs took a 7-0 lead to open the match, but Colorado regained control with first half tries by Sean Kilfoyle, Brian Wanless and Guido Murnig.

San Diego State opened the second half the same way it opened the first half – controlling possession. Quality ball retention inside Colorado’s half led to an unconverted Aztec try and a tied game at 17-17. Winger Peter Heffelfinger would help the Buffs regain the lead with an unconverted try.

Neither team could capitalize on scoring opportunities in the final 20 minutes, and the Buffaloes defense did just enough to hold its 22-17 lead. Colorado will have to clean up its attack if it wants to cause any problems for Life University in next weekend’s quarterfinal match in Marietta, Ga.

Santa Clara 49-12 Colorado State

Santa Clara took an early advantage against Colorado State and never looked back. The Broncos used two first half tries by Michael Cunningham to help build a 26-0 halftime lead.

JJ Holmgren, who slotted three penalty kicks, added two second-half tries, as California’s second place team had its way with the West’s second best side. With the victory, Santa Clara will make the short drive to Moraga, Calif., to take on No. 1-ranked Saint Mary’s in the D1A Playoff’s second round.


D1A Playoffs Quarterfinals, Saturday April 26

Santa Clara @ Saint Mary’s

Colorado @ Life

Cal Poly @ Arkansas State

Davenport @ Lindenwood

Add comment

Comments (32)

Load Previous Comments
  • TheyDo

    In reply to: Youth Rugby Is US Rugby Jet Fuel

    If you pay attention to USA Rugby's efforts over the past few years (~5) it is pretty clear that they are making a commitment to developing youth rugby. It is the fastest growing youth sports, and they are taking great care to ensure that the spirt of the game is not lost in rapid growth. They are not doing a perfect job, but it is certainly a huge improvement. This coming from a current college player who grew up playing in the first youth league in my state and now coaching youth.

  • Jack

    In reply to: TheyDo

    Lindenwoods coach is just out of college...........How good are they going?


    In reply to: TheyDo

    It's great that you played youth rugby and are now coaching! Speaking as a guy who started a youth rugby team and coached youth rugby for 5 years, USA Rugby has done some good things to support the growth of the youth game and they have missed the boat at times. It appears to me that USAR has not promoted youth rugby enough. The State unions have been on their own to decide how to support youth rugby. Some states have done a great job of implementing youth programs (California, Texas, North Carolina all come to mind) but this was done primarily by local rugby enthusiasts. The effort needs to be unified under USAR and supported with more funds and resources. The money spent on youth development is not an expense, it's a good investment for USAR that will pay off in a big way.

    When youth rugby is thriving throughout the USA, a lot of the issues that USAR faces today will be solved! Youth rugby will exponentially expand the number of Americans who care about the game (young players, their families, and friends) and will attract sponsorship money and media interest. The pool of talented players will also be substantially improved over a decade or so as the young players develop into young adult players. Maybe then The Eagles will break into the IRB top 10!

  • RugbyUtah


    I agree, states that have the best run orgs could definitely use more USAR funds but most also have become self supporting and are growing, btw I also rank Utah as a well run state. The real key is to focus the states as a company, not a union, and set about growing the business of Rugby. We are about to break 500k in revenues and much is coming from the private sector via grants and sponsorships. Like I said, I would love to find a way to tap more funds from USAR, I also realize there are multiple other states out there trying to do the same thing and there will just never be enough money to really make a big impact in any state. I get more HUD grants from cities in Utah than I do from USAR.


    In reply to: RugbyUtah

    I would add Louisiana

    0 Like
  • Roper

    Lindenwood has the largest number of foreigners on its roster - 18, the largest in the whole country, but they still can beat teams with fewer foreigners in them because they don't seem to play as a unit. Lindenwood players, playing the St Marys or Arkansas States style of rugby would make them the favourite, but they tend to play the type of rugby thats easy to defend, and not as dynamic as St Marys or Arkansas State. It starts from the coach. Lindenwood, change your approach if you want to win.

  • Lindenwood Rugby

    In reply to: Roper

    Best of luck to all the respective programs in the playoffs. There's some terrific competition and hopefully everyone benefits moving forward from the quality of play.

  • Jack

    In reply to: Roper

    Could any one tell me how Lindenwood went?

  • Kiwi In Oz

    In reply to: Jack

    Lindenwood 64 - Davenport 32

  • Lindenwood Rugby

    Best of luck to all the respective programs in the playoffs. There's some terrific competition and hopefully everyone benefits moving forward from the quality of play.