Vikings Win West Division Crown

The Western Washington University Men’s Rugby Club beat the University of Oregon this afternoon 58 – 10 to win the 2013 NCRC West Division Crown.

Western now advances to play Eastern Washington University next Saturday, April 13, 2013 at Magnuson Park in Seattle, with the kick-off scheduled for 2:30 pm.

It was a crazy weekend in the NCRC playoffs starting with the round of Saturday games.  University of Washington had to travel to Cheney to play the University of Idaho, where the winner would get the chance to play host Eastern Washington on Sunday.  And on the West side of the state, Washington State University traveled to Bellingham to take on the University of Oregon, with the winner facing Western on Sunday.

The odds makers favored UW over Idaho and that is how the match played out, with the UW winning 28-19.  In the WSU vs Oregon match, Oregon, after being behind 16-7 at the half, came storming back, in a very physical match, to defeat favorite WSU by a score of 31-16.

Which set-up Sunday’s matches:  Eastern vs UW in Cheney, and Western vs Oregon in Bellingham.

We haven’t heard much about the Eastern game other than the fact that Eastern won, 19-15, in what one would assume was a very physical match.

The Western vs Oregon match went the same way most of Western’s NCRC matches have gone this year.  Western scores early and continues to put defensive pressure on the opponent, forcing opposition mistakes, with Western capitalizing and scoring.  Today’s match was no different.

A few minutes into the match, Western took the ball early down into Oregon territory and Matt Tiscornia picked the ball out of a ruck and touched down a little outside the posts.  Nick Solimano slotted the kick and the Vikings were off to a 7-0 lead and never looked back.

Oregon played a good and very physical game but it appeared that the match with WSU the previous day had taken a lot out of the Ducks.  They made a couple administrative mistakes early, one of which was subbing for their big second row as he got treatment for a leg injury on the sideline.  But it was not a ‘blood’ substitution and when no. 5 tried to come back on the field, the referee didn’t allow it and the Ducks were forced to go on without one of their big guns.

But the Ducks fought on and after Western had scored another unconverted try to make it 12-0, the Ducks came storming back and scored an unconverted try of their own to make it 12-5 and give some life to their chances for victory.

Those chances of victory faded quickly as Western then scored three quick trys, two of them unconverted, to take a 29-5 halftime lead.

In the second half Western continued the pressure and the effects of their attack and probably the previous day’s match with WSU spelled the end for Oregon.  Oregon did run in one more unconverted try, but it wasn’t enough as the Ducks came up on the short end of the 58-10 final score.

We don’t have a final scoring breakdown for Western but there were a couple of Vikings who played outstanding matches.  Nate Muir, playing only his second game at 2nd row, was an absolute beast on the field, bringing a physicality to the game that Western hasn’t seen for a while.  Robert Boenish, Matt Tiscornia, and the rest of the forwards played outstanding games.  Quinton Willms, Matt Jensen, and Gio Trujillo stood out amongst the backs as having outstanding games.

So its onto next week and the NCRC Championship match and the automatic berth into the ‘Sweet Sixteen’ of the USA Rugby Collegiate D1-AA National playoffs that goes to the victor.

Next Saturday’s NCRC Championship match will be played at Magnuson Park in Seattle, with kick-off scheduled for 2:30 pm….be there or be square.