Steuber Rugby Stadium – Sunday April 27, 2014
Steuber Field witnessed an incredible USA Rugby National Championship Series Elite 8 showdown on Sunday, as an enthralling game, that included 9 lead changes, went all the way to the wire. Highly fancied Arizona opened the scoring with an early penalty to ease into the game. However, Stanford quickly grew into the game, and asserted themselves through dominant field position and pressure defense to pin Arizona in their own territory for long spells. Stanford profited when Nico Sanchez pounced on a George Fullerton cross kick and offloaded to Jovi Ripert who had a clear run in, to hand Stanford a 5-3 lead. Playing with the wind, the visitors struck back with an excellent counter attack try as their left wing evaded a series of tacklers and Arizona regained a slim 10-5 advantage. The see-saw nature of the game continued as Patrick Quigley finished off a powerful series of drives by the Stanford forwards to take the score to 10-10. Arizona had the last word in the first half though, as they struck from turnover ball against a disorganized Stanford defense for a 15-10 half time advantage.
The second half saw Stanford strike back once more. The referee awarded a penalty try under the posts after sustained pressure near the Arizona tryline forced a series of cynical fouls by the stretched defense. Sam Falkenhagen duly added the conversion kick for a 17-15 Stanford lead. Yet the home defense struggled to contain the Arizona left wing, who once again evaded a number of would-be tacklers to score under the posts, and hand Arizona a 22-17 advantage with 15 minutes remaining. Stanford responded to the challenge once more as they asserted their forward power and Cam Bailey surged over from close range for a 24-22 lead with 8 minutes left on the clock. As the tension mounted it seemed like Stanford had done enough to earn their first trip to the Final 4 since 1998. This would have been a monumental turnaround for a team that lost all Conference games a season ago. With four minutes left on the clock, Stanford had a scrum in the middle of the pitch, and seemingly their destiny in their own hands. Arizona had other ideas though and managed to force a turnover. With just 90 seconds left, it was Arizona who now had the scrum possession in the same position in the middle of the pitch. Despite a good Stanford scrum and pressure applied by scrum half Alex LeRoux, the ball squirted out on the Arizona side and was quickly moved out to their right wing. With the Stanford defense focused on the loose ball near the scrum, they had become too narrow. This meant that they could not then cover the width as the Arizona winger exploited the space wide. He cantered down the touchline, past the scrambling defense for what would prove to be the deciding score of an incredible afternoon of rugby. With one minute left on the clock, Arizona now held a conclusive 27-24 to confirm a heartbreaking loss for Stanford.
Team: 1. Bailey 2. Bailey 3. Quigley 4. Carey 5. Perkins 6. Ripert 7. Barron 8. Agness (Captain) 9. A Sanchez 10. Lexmond 11. Odek 12. Fullerton 13. N Sanchez 14. Sebastian 15. Falkenhagen 16. Umegara 17. 18. Herries 19. Houghton-Berry 20. McColl 21. LeRoux 22. Sandovel 23. Chabolla
Next up: The loss to Arizona signaled the end of what was a highly successful season for a young and hungry Stanford squad. The End of Season Awards Banquet on May 14th offers the chance to celebrate a magnificent effort. This contribution has been from the whole squad and also their families for supporting them so whole-heartedly throughout the campaign.
Steuber Rugby Stadium – Saturday April 26, 2014
Northwest Collegiate Rugby Conference Champions Oregon were the opponents in Saturday’s USA Rugby Sweet 16 clash at Steuber Rugby Field. A bumper crowd filled the stand to see if Pacific Western Champions Stanford could progress to the Elite 8 for the first time since 2011. The early omens were good for the home side as clinical tactics handed them consistent possession and field position throughout the first twenty minutes. The constant pressure was rewarded with an early pick and go try for Austin Carey. The Stanford forwards sensed a weakness in the home defense and asserted their superiority with a try by Jeremy Kim after another series of powerful pick and drives. However, the momentum shifted ten minutes before half time, as a series of ill disciplined moments led to a yellow card for back row Jovi Ripert. Oregon took full advantage as their fly half scythed through the short-handed defense before the ball was shifted wide for their first try and a narrow 12-5 half time lead for the home side.
Oregon continued to press in the second half and profited from a loose lineout ball that was re-gathered by their back row to snatch a soft try. With a successful conversion, the game was all tied at 12-12. Stanford needed a response as they had lost control of the game. In time of need, they turned once again to forward power and Alex Barron touched down for a try from another successful lineout drive. With the game still in the balance at 17-12, substitute Patrick Quigley secured a hard fought victory with a pick and go effort of his own.
Following the conference final comeback win over Chico State, this was another show of Stanford resiliency, appreciated by the vocal home support.
Team: 1. Brown 2. Kim 3. Umegara 4. Carey 5. Herries 6. Ripert 7. Barron 8. Agness (Captain) 9. A Sanchez 10. Lexmond 11. Odek 12. Fullerton 13. N Sanchez 14. Sebastian 15. Falkenhagen 16. Bailey 17. Quigley 18. Perkins 19. Houghton-Berry 20. McColl 21. LeRoux 22. Sandovel 23. Chabolla
Next up: Sunday’s Elite 8 showdown with Arizona who defeated Long Beach State in Saturday’s other Sweet 16 clash.
Following their Pacific Western Conference Championship, the Stanford Men (8-3-1, 6-0 Conference) advance onto USA Rugby’s National Championship Series, starting with the Sweet 16 Round this weekend April 26th-27th. Stanford’s Steuber Rugby Stadium will be the site of the Western Regional that Stanford will be competing in. Stanford’s opening match will be against Oregon on Saturday April 26th at 1pm. If successful, Stanford will advance to the Elite 8 on Sunday April 27th at 3pm, and would play the winner of Arizona and Long Beach State (who play at 3pm Saturday). This weekends Western Regional Playoff includes three brackets (Women’s Division 1, Women’s Division 2, and Men’s Division 1-AA). The winner of each bracket will determine who advances onto USA Rugby’s Final Four and National Championship, which will be hosted at Stanford’s Steuber Rugby Stadium May 9th-11th
Full Schedule of Events:
Friday April 25th:
5pm: Women’s Division 1 Sweet 16: Stanford vs. Texas A&M (Game 1)
7pm: Women’s Division 1 Sweet 16: BYU vs. Cal (Game 2)
Saturday April 26th:
9am: Women’s Division 2 Sweet 16: Humboldt State vs. Cal State Northridge (Game 3)
11am: Women’s Division 2 Sweet 16: W. Washington vs. Long Beach State (Game 4)
1pm: Men’s Division 1AA Sweet 16: Stanford vs. Oregon (Game 5)
3pm: Men’s Division 1AA Sweet 16: Arizona vs. Long Beach State (Game 6)
5pm: Women’s Division 1 Elite 8 Championship Match (Game 1 and 2 Winners)
7pm: Women’s Division 1 Consolation Match (Game 1 and 2 Losers)
Sunday April 27th:
9am: Women’s Division 2 Consolation Match (Game 3 and 4 Losers)
11am: Men’s Division 1AA Consolation Match (Game 5 and 6 Losers)
1pm: Women’s Division 2 Elite 8 Championship Match (Game 3 and 4 Winners)
3pm: Men’s Division 1AA Elite 8 Championship Match (Game 5 and 6 Winners)