Monthly Archives: February 2015

Cardinal Cruise Past Spartans

Steuber Field – Stanford, Ca.

Stanford continued their strong form in the Pacific Western Conference, downing San Jose State 50-5.  On Parents’ Weekend and Senior Day, Stanford put in another solid performance leading to the comprehensive victory.

Stanford got on the board twice early, when Alejandro Sanchez and Jeremy Kim both touched down in the first six minutes.  Sam Falkenhagen converted and Stanford quickly led 12-0.  Stanford continued to pressure the Spartan line for long periods of time, but handling errors and Stanford penalties defused multiple scoring opportunities.  Finally in the 21st minute, continued Stanford pressure led to an Alex Barron try.  Stanford continued to poor on the pressure, but small miscues halted their ability to cross the line until late in the half when Chris Herries touched down.  Falkenhagen converted and Stanford led 26-0 with minutes remaining in the half.  San Jose State would strike next, gaining possession in Stanford’s end from an error on the kickoff.  The hard running  Spartans made inroads on some porous Stanford tackling toward the Stanford line. Stanford eventually halted the attack, but multiple Stanford penalties in a row led to a San Jose State score to end the half with Stanford up 26-5.

Despite the letdown to end the half, the second half belonged almost entirely to Stanford.  The Cardinal enjoyed a majority of the possession, and most of the second stanza was played in Spartan territory.  Stanford crossed over four additional times in this period, with Sanchez scoring again from defensive pressure, and Mitch Hokanson, Austin Carey, and Nick Perkins all adding scores of their own.  Falkenhagen converted two of the four tries, and Stanford finished out the game 50-5 victors.   The victory was comprehensive and complete on many fronts, leading to a huge Stanford advantage in territory and possession. However, Stanford’s dominance was often halted by self inflicted mistakes, including penalties, ball handling errors, and momentary lapses in physicality at the tackle and with ball in hand.  Stanford will look to build on and improve from this performance next week when they take on conference powerhouse Chico State on the road.

In the reserve team match, Stanford put in a strong performance to win 34-5. Stanford were led by very good  performances from Patrick Crowley, Jay Reader, Nick Perkins, and Dahlton Brown.


Next Up: Stanford (7-3 / 4-1) travel to take on Pacific Western Conference rival Chico State (4-1 in Pacific Western Conference) on Saturday March 7th at 2pm at Chico State.  Both teams only losses this season in the Conference were to Conference leader UC Davis.  Last year, Stanford defeated Chico State 28-0 during Conference play, then defeated the Wildcats again 24-18 in the Conference Championship.


Stanford Team vs. San Jose State: 1: Mitch Hokanson (Nathan Mix) 2: Jeremy Kim *Captain 3: Chris Herries (Dahlton Brown) 4: Alex Barron (Jay Reader)  5:Sean Means (Nick Perkins) 6: Ian McColl (Austin Carey) 7: Jovi Ripert 8: Rory Houghton-Berry 9: Alejandro Sanchez 10: Nico Sanchez 11: Jack Chabolla 12: Chris Fernandes 13: Wesley Greiner (Oscar Sandoval) 14: Dean Patrick (Jamieson O’Marr) 15: Sam Falkenhagen

Scoring Summary: 3: Stanford A. Sanchez Try (Falkenhagen Conversion) 6: Stanford Kim Try 21: Stanford Barron Try (Falkenhagen Conversion) 34: Stanford Herries Try (Falkenhagen Conversion) 37: San Jose State Try (Halftime Stanford 26 – San Jose State 5) 54: Stanford A. Sanchez Try 64: Stanford Carey Try (Falkenhagen Conversion)  68: Stanford Hokanson Try 74: Stanford Perkins Try (Falkenhagen Conversion)  (Full Time Stanford 50 – San Jose State 5)

Stanford Win Big Over Sacramento State

Steuber Field – Stanford, Ca.

Stanford returned to winning form in the Pacific Western Conference, defeating Sacramento State 64-21 as a result of Stanford’s best performance thus far in the season.  Stanford put together many sustained patches of high quality play with velocity, precision, and physicality.   The Stanford forwards in particular were dominant, thundering forward in scrums, taking the lions share of ball at the line of touch, and powering over the line from short range.

It took Stanford little time to get on the scoreboard when five minutes in Chris Herries powered over from short range.  A few minutes later, Patrick Crowley broke from the back of Stanford driving lineout to score in the corner.  Shortly after, Rory Houghton-Berry beat the defending flanker from the base of a Stanford scrum to cross the line.  Sam Falkenhagen converted the first try and Stanford led 17-0 only 18 minutes in.  The next twenty minutes were less consistent for the Cardinal, and after a series of Stanford penalties allowing the opposition deep into Stanford’s end, Sacramento State split the Cardinal defense for a try and conversion.  Stanford would rally back to score once more before the half, this time off a deft late pass into space from Nico Sanchez to Ian McColl.  McColl hit the gap at pace and evaded multiple defenders to finish from 30 meters out.  Falkenhagen converted and Stanford took a 24-7 lead into the half.

Stanford started the second half strong as well, when Wesley Greiner stepped through the opposition defense for a converted try.  However, an immediate Stanford error from the kickoff led to a quick Sacramento State try and conversion.  Stanford responded well, with three successive tries, two converted, with McColl crossing again, as well as Chris Fernandes and Dahlton Brown, the big prop returning to action off the bench for the first time in 2015 after undergoing shoulder surgery.  Sacramento State would score their third and final try after a poorly executed Stanford kick chase led them deep into Stanford territory, which was followed by a missed tackle.  Stanford would finish strong with converted tries from Jimmy Callinan and Nathan Mix to round out the scoring and secure the 64-21 victory.

In the reserve grade match, Stanford fell to a large and athletic Sacramento State team 22-35.  While there were some strong individual moments and performances from Oscar Sandoval, Jack Chabolla, Jamieson O’Marr, Jay Reader and Nathan Mix, the team failed to click as a unit in a performance that left much to be desired.

Next Up: Stanford (6-3 / 3-1) continue Pacific Western Conference play when they host San Jose State (2-2 Pacific Western Conference) on Saturday February 28th at 1pm at Steuber Rugby Field.  The day will include a Parents’ Weekend reception and be Senior Day.

Stanford Team vs. Sacramento State:  1: Mitch Hokanson 2: Jeremy Kim *Captain   3: Chris Herries (Dahlton Brown, Nathan Mix) 4: Sean Means (Jovi Ripert)  5: Nick Perkins 6: Ian McColl  7: Patrick Crowley   8: Rory Houghton-Berry 9: Alejandro Sanchez  10: Nico Sanchezl  11: Jimmy Callinan 12: Wesley Greiner 13: Nico Sanchez  14: Dean Patrick 15: Sam Falkenhagen

Scoring Summary:  5: Stanford Herries Try and Falkenhagen Conversion  12: Stanford Crowley Try  18: Stanford Houghton-Berry Try  34: Sacramento State Try  and Conversion 37: Stanford McColl Try and Falkenhagen Conversion (Halftime Stanford 24 – Sacramento State 7)  48: Stanford Greiner Try and Falkenhagen Conversion  50: Sacramento State Try and Conversion  54: Stanford McColl Try and Falkenhagen Conversion 60: Stanford Fernandes Try Falkenhagen Conversion 67: Stanford Brown Try 69: Sacramento State Try and Conversion 76: Stanford Callinan Try and Falkenhagen Conversion 80: Stanford Mix Try and Falkenhagen Conversion  (Full Time Stanford 64 – Sacramento State 21)

Cal Retain ‘Scrum Axe’

Witter Rugby Field – Berkeley, Ca.

Stanford traveled to Cal Wednesday night to play in the over hundred year old traditional Scrum Axe match between Cal and Stanford.  Stanford last won the ‘Axe’ in 1996, and over the past decade the varsity Cal program has widened the gap between themselves and other programs across the country.  Nonetheless, a determined and committed Stanford team approached the match with a positive mindset to put everything they had into the game, honor the tradition of the match, and come away from the game a better team.  With eleven players out with injury and academic commitments, including seniors Austin Carey, Uche Omegara, Dahlton Brown and Nino Abundes, a young Stanford team that included three freshman and four sophomores in the starting fifteen, and twelve underclassmen in the twenty three man roster, did exactly that, going toe to toe with the nation’s best, and putting in a brave performance. The game was marked by three distinct periods of play.  In the opening twenty minutes, Cal’s speed of play caught Stanford off guard leading to three consecutive Cal scores.  In the middle forty minutes, Stanford were able to match the speed and pace of Cal, and create multiple scoring opportunities while strengthening their defensive efforts. By the final twenty minutes, a fatigued and tiring Stanford team fell off, leading to six Cal scores in what had been an otherwise closer contest.

As the game kicked off, Cal quickly marched down to the Stanford goal line, but the Cardinal defense repelled the Cal attack three times.  In the 6th minute, Cal capitalized on a Stanford error when the Cardinal failed to find touch from a penalty kick, and a poor kick chase saw Cal counter attack for the score and lead.  Stanford immediately went to work, winning the kickoff and playing through several phases in Cal’s territory to earn a penalty shot at goal from 40 meters out, but fullback Sam Falkenhagen’s attempt sailed wide.  Cal would score next after another Stanford kick chase miscue.  The Cardinal recovered from the initial break to regain possession, but a turnover in their own end led to a transition try for Cal.  Stanford would again bounce back to have a sustained period of attacking pressure in Cal’s end, with center Chris Fernandes and wing Jimmy Callinan both getting behind the Cal defense and inside the Bears 22, but Stanford were unable to convert the pressure into points.  On Cal’s next possession, Stanford failed to build the interior of the defense, and a quick Cal dart from the base of a ruck led to a fifty meter try and 19-0 Cal lead twenty minutes in.

Despite the scoreline, Stanford had now not only caught up to the pace of the game, but were beginning to assert pressure on Cal at the point of contact and with ball in hand.  The next forty minutes of play would see Stanford once cross the Cal goal line and be held up, and earn two more penalty shots at goal, one of which Falkenhagen converted, while they would hold Cal to three tries.   Stanford’s best chance came when Fernandes intercepted a pass in Stanford’s end, and floated a pass between Cal cover defenders to center Wesley Greiner streaking on.  Grenier stepped three Cal defenders before offloading to number 8 Rory Houghton-Berry who crossed the Cal goal line, but was deemed held up by the referee.   After consecutive Stanford penalties let Cal back into Stanford territory, Stanford would regain attacking possession in Cal’s end, and a earn a penalty that Falkenhagen converted.  Near the end of the half, another quick Cal pick off the base of a ruck led to a long break finished off two phases later.  On the final play of the half, Stanford earned another shot at goal in Cal’s territory, but Falkenhagen’s attempt was off the mark and it was 26-3 Cal at the half, with Stanford leaving thirteen potential points on the table.

The first twenty minutes of the second half continued to be a strong period for Stanford. After an initial Stanford line break from flyhalf Nico Sanchez, a Stanford penalty led Cal deep into Stanford territory from which they’d convert a try. Play would go back and forth for the next ten minutes, until a Stanford lineout misfired deep in Cal’s end, and the Bears were able to strike wide from the turnover possession and score three phases later.  While in the middle forty minutes of the game Stanford were able to compete on equal footing, by the 60th minute, with the score 38-3 Cal, Stanford were tiring.  With their fourth game in twelve days, and the game being played at a blistering pace, seams began to open in the Stanford defense that Cal were able to exploit.  Cal scored in the 60th and 63rd minute, and in the final ten minutes Cal would cross the line for four more converted tries.

While the scoreline was lopsided on the surface, Stanford asserted more pressure on Cal than they have in previous years, getting behind the Cal defense on multiple occasions and earning multiple scoring opportunities through sustained periods of attacking pressure.  Furthermore, while relinquishing three quick tries in the opening quarter, and a flurry of tries in the waning minutes, Stanford’s defense held strong during the middle forty and were often able to repel and turnover Cal’s attack, while there attack created multiple scoring opportunities.  Stanford will look to build on the speed and physicality with which they played during this period, and learn from the systemic mistakes that one of the country’s best teams was able to capitalize on, as they head back into Pacific Western Conference play.


Next Up: Stanford (5-3/2-1) returns to Pacific Western Conference play when they host Sacramento State (1-1) on Saturday February 21st at 3pm.   Sacramento State lost their opening Conference match vs. San Jose State before beating UC Santa Cruz.

Stanford Team vs. Cal:  1: Mitch Hokanson 2: Jeremy Kim *Captain   3: Nick Perkins 4: Patrick Crowley  5: Sean Means (Max Dimitrijevic) 6: Ian McColl  7: Alex Barron (Chris Herries, Nathan Mix)  8: Rory Houghton-Berry 9: Alejandro Sanchez  (Jamieson O’Marr) 10: Nico Sanchez 11: Jimmy Callinan (Dean Patrick) 12:  Chris Fernandes 13: Wesley Greiner (Oscar Sandoval)  14: Jack Chabolla 15: Sam Falkenhagen (Jonnie Kipyator)

Scoring Summary:  6: Cal Try and Conversion 15: Cal Try and Conversion 21: Cal Try 34: Stanford Falkenhagen Penalty 36: Cal Try and Conversion (Halftime Cal 26-Stanford 3)  44: Cal Try  53: Cal Try and Conversion 60: Cal Try  63: Cal Try and Conversion  71: Cal Try and Conversion  74: Cal Try and Conversion  76: Cal Try and Conversion  80: Cal Try and Conversion  (Full Time Cal 78-Stanford 3)