Monday, May 5, 2014

UW Wins DI-AA Varsity Cup

Saturday, May 3rd 2014
Rio Tinto Stadium - Salt Lake City, UT

UW Rugby played the DI-AA Final in Rio Tinto Stadium against a tough Utah Valley University team, that acts as the BYU feeder program.  The sun was shinning, there was a slight breeze, and the stage was set to crown the first ever DI-AA Varsity Cup Champion.  

The strategy going into the match was to maintain possession, and to run their lumberjack sized forwards up and down the field to wear them out in the first half to gain the advantage in the second half and all started to plan when UW received the opening kickoff and retained the ball for over three solid minutes and marched 70 meters down the field.  Some back and forth play saw the plan in action, and in the 19th minute, Senior Captain Justin Santos, did a quick pick and go one meter out for the first score of the match.  Senior Wing Joe Armstrong slotted the kick to give UW an early 7-0 lead.  The game plan started to take shape as the UVU forward began to wear, which meant their back line started to suck in, and in the 24th minute Senior Wing Joe Armstrong saw a nifty pass from Freshman Center Nick Gadbaw as he broke the line for try and a 12-0 lead.  Another try by Joe Armstrong, and a goal line pick and go by UVU saw the halftime score at 19-7.  

The second half was an all out battle with both teams attempting to win take home the cup.  UW found possession off a mishandle by UVU on the second half kickoff and were within meters of scoring, when an untimely turnover saw UVU rumble down to the 5 meter line.  UW met the challenge with an outstanding goal line stand that lasted several minutes, but eventually UVU found their way in for a try.  UW responded just moments later, which seemed to be the theme of the Final.  UVU would show signs of life, and UW would respond almost immediately to regain the momentum.  The back line of UW dominated the day and used space wisely to run through, and around the UVU defense setting up several tries on the day.  Nick Gadbaw flew through the line for a try, and moments later Sophomore Wing Psalm Wooching ran through two defenders for his score.  The moment that saw the nail in the coffin was when International Lock sensation Juan Otalvarez charged down a UVU kick deep in their own territory, and had the presence to get back on his feet and beat the UVU defense to the ball, dotting down a thrilling try to extend the lead.  The final horn blew with a UW victory 39-22.  

This victory culminated a very successful season for the UW Rugby program.  Finishing league season 7-2-1, and going 3-1 in post season saw their record climb to 10-3-1 for the year.  

The club would like to thank all of the alumni, parents, and fans that came out to watch the club, and who helped support the club this season.  A special thank you would like to go out to the alumni that donated last week to help the boys fly to Salt Lake City so they could arrive well rested and gave them the best opportunity to bring the Cup to Seattle.  They did not disappoint.  

University of Washington Roster:
1.  Shay McElvain
2. Peter Harrison
3. Kasey Alusi
4. Scott Riggins
5. Tucker Moran
6. Riley Poulson
7. Konstantin Rehbein
8. Ian Booth
9. Justin Santos (C)
10. Jack Stimson
11. Joe Armstrong
12. James Shiri-Wasto
13. Nick Gadbaw
14. Psalm Wooching
15. Tom Donovan
16. Coleman Hedge
17. Evan Prince
18. Juan Otalvarez
19. Garrett Brooks
20. Josh Rayburn
21. Ryan Carlson
22. Aaron Carr
23. Gabriel Ho

Tries:  Santos, Gadbaw, Wooching, Otalvarez, Armstrong (2)
Converstions:  Armstrong 3/6
Penalty Kicks:  Armstrong 1/1