Monday, June 1, 2015

Austin, NYAC To Play For DI National Championship

Photo: Caroline Williamson

It was a wild, unpredictable* weekend in DI as NYAC and the Austin Blackes emerged as finalists. Teams that had dominated their respective regions looked weak as they came up against teams from other parts of the country. Of the four quarterfinal matches, only one was close but that gave way to a very tight day two that saw some of the most thrilling matches of the season.

*We couldn't have been more wrong in our predictions getting only one of four matches right!

East Regionals

The most entertaining match of the weekend was Mystic River falling just short of beating powerhouse NYAC losing 38-32. The lead changed a handful of times in the match as each team slugged it out. At the center of the action for Mystic River was Michael Armstrong who put the team up first with a penalty. NYAC struck back with a try from Troy Hall but two more penalties from Armstrong gave Mystic River a 9-5 lead.

Take the jump to read more.
Mystic River then pushed the lead to 16-5 when Vini Daley, who is on good form after returning from injury, scored. Kyle Granby would score for NYAC not long after to keep it close. However, a try from Amstrong gave Mystic River a 23-10 lead. In response NYAC upped the pressure and a try from Stephen Sanchez and a penalty try to take a 24-23 lead into halftime.

Not helping Mystic River's case was a yellow card to Jared Collinson. They were able to hold off NYAC during the card but eventually gave up a try to Harrison Edwards and Hall. Mystic River were hit with another yellow card but a card to Toby L'Estrange not long after would even things up. Armstrong would connect on three more penalties but NYAC was able to hold on.

In the closest match of the quarterfinals Mystic River edged the Kansas City Blues 25-24 in what has to be considered an upset. Mystic River were the best team in the Atlantic North and they showed why as they went toe to toe with an excellent Blues side. A penalty from Armstrong put Mystic River up first before a converted try from Sean Murray gave Kansas City the lead.

Mystic River retook the lead with a try from Nathan Fox but then three tries less than ten minutes apart from Matt Behnami, Murray, and Gannon Moore seemingly put the Blues in charge at 24-10. Still, the last twenty minutes of the match belonged with Mystic River. Luke Schlotman scored first and then Armstrong added a penalty to make it 24-18. When Evin O'Driscoll scored a try with three minutes left it came down to Armstrong making the conversion for the win. In the other East quarterfinal match NYAC beat the Potomac Exiles 50-19.

West Regionals

It's arguable that the biggest upsets came in the West where the EPA Razorbacks, who had looked so dominant in NorCal were taken to school by the Dallas Reds in a 35-0 loss. It took about 15 minutes but Dallas got on the board first as Dale Russ crossed over. John Conner Trathen would add one less than 10 minutes later and Russ would then add another try to give the Reds a 17-0 halftime lead. They kept up the pressure in the second half with tries from Collin Yerian, Phil Bolton, and penalties from Jon Jefferies.

The Austin Blacks kept the Red River Conference rolling with a 35-3 win over Belmont Shore. The Blacks went up early with two penalties from Pat Sullivan before Riekert Hattingh scored their first try. David Comerford would add two tries of his own before James Muse was able to score Belmont's only points with a penalty to make it 23-3. Austin finished off the match with tries from Curtis Chaffin and Brendan Rams.

In the all-Red River showdown Austin took a 5-3 lead into the halftime break and then were able to extend that to 19-3 before Dallas scored a couple of late tries to make the final score 19-15.


  1. Photo Credits to Caroline Williamson from Austin.