Central Florida aims to retain DI-AA title at NCS

Central Florida aims to retain DI-AA title at NCS

BOULDER, Colo. – Reigning National Champion Central Florida and three other well-deserving rugby programs will be on the pitch from May 10 – 11 at Stanford University’s Steuber Rugby Stadium to play for the 2014 Division I-AA National Championship.

Joining the 2013 Champion in the National Semifinal will be University of San Diego, University of Arizona and Bowling Green State University.

Central Florida vs. San Diego – May 10 1pm PT

Even after losing six starters and several key reserves from last year’s National Championship team, Head Coach Jason Granich has his Central Florida rugby team right back in the mix for another run at the DI-AA title. In fact, the Knights very well might be favorites at Stanford considering the wide margin of victories they have been posting all season. Coming out of the Southeast Regional, Central Florida used a balance attack, which saw seven different players find the try zone, to defeat Louisiana State, 50-19. On day two, lock Joseph Pascuzzi and scrumhalf Harold Chiffleau led Central Florida’s attack with two tries apiece as the Knights cemented their place in the DI-AA Semifinal with a 44-28 win over South Carolina.

San Diego’s historic run continues. After qualifying for the National Playoffs for the first time in program history, the Toreros won the Northeast Regional and will make the drive up the California coast to play in the National Championship Series. San Diego’s forwards punished Brown in day one of the Northeast bracket, leading to a 55-28 win. In the Northeast Final, the Toreros spotted West Virginia a 9-0 lead before scoring 34 straight points to put the Mountaineers away.

Bowling Green vs. Arizona – May 10 3pm PT

After reaching the National Round of 8 in 2013, Bowling Green has made it at least one step further with its Semifinal appearance at Stanford. Staying home for Regionals after winning the Mid American Conference, Bowling Green was paced by scrumhalf Michael Powell’s 22 points in its day one win over Iowa State. The Szente brothers – Dance and Trente – each found the try zone, and Powell was at it again with 21 points as Bowling Green smashed Missouri, 53-10.

Arizona has been playing this season with heavy hearts, but also with an enormous amount of passion and resolve following the passing of the University’s long-time rugby coach Dave Sitton. In a season dedicated to the beloved coach, the Wildcats find themselves two wins away from a National Championship. Coming out of the West Regional, Arizona avenged its loss to Long Beach State in the 2013 Round of 16 by beating the 49ers, 29-22, in this year’s Round of 16. The West Regional Final produced the most exciting ending of any of the Regional Playoff matches. Arizona, playing against host Stanford, was just minutes away from a season-ending loss before wing David Spencer dotted down the game-winning try, and helped earn the Wildcats a return trip to Stanford for the National Championship Series.

The winner of Saturday’s Semifinals will play for the DI-AA National Championship May 11 at 1:30 P.M., while the consolation match to determine third place will kick off May 11 at 11:30 A.M.

Every match at USA Rugby’s Collegiate National Championship Series, including the entire slate of Men’s DI-AA games, will be aired live on USA Rugby TV.

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