Monday, May 1, 2017

Life, St. Mary's Advance To DI-A Final

The DI-A semi-finals are in the books with Life and St. Mary's advancing to yet another final.

Life 36-26 BYU

As expected the semi-final between Life and BYU turned out to be a close, bruising affair with some fantastic rugby. In the end the home edge gave Life a 36-26 win and a spot in the DI-A final against St. Mary's.

A try from Ryan Rees gave Life a 7-0 lead to start the match before BYU came back and scored a try. However, the conversion missed and Life led 7-5. That would move to 10-5 through a penalty kick from Sam Cowley. BYU have been known to score in bunches and few teams have been successful at keeping them off the board. That was the case in this match as well as a converted try gave them their first lead of the match at 12-10. Unfortunately for the Cougars that lead wouldn't hold as a try from Harley Davidson put Life up 17-12 at the break.

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In the second half it continued to be an even affair. Life extended their lead to 24-12 before BYU scored their third try of the match to make it 24-19. The big moment in the match came from Cody Melphy as he was able to freeze the BYU defense and run in for the score. That would put the margin at 31-19 and despite tries from each side after that Life had the gap they needed to hold on.

Life have to be extremely happy to make it through to the final. Of all the teams in the DI-A playoffs they arguably had the hardest road despite being defending champions. They had to go through two top five teams to even get the chance to face St. Mary's. Still, their quality showed through with another good result.

For BYU it seems that two tough weeks of travel took their toll. BYU isn't accustomed to traveling across the country let alone two weeks in a row. That's rough for any college team. Questions have been raised about this year's DI-A format that saw Lindenwood and Life in the quarterfinals and BYU not having a home match period despite being ranked third. Conversely, Indiana were awarded a home match as was Baylor who had the opportunity to play Arizona in the quarterfinals. If DI-A wants to finish off the Varsity Cup in terms of post-season importance they are going to have to fix this issue in the future.

St. Mary's 43-7 Arizona

In the other semi-final St. Mary's had to work for the result but they came away with the expected win over Arizona. For St. Mary's they have the opposite problem as Life. They haven't been challenged at all in the post-season and now head into the final at home needing to take a step up. 

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