BYU dominated Dartmouth 75-15 in to cruise into the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup semifinals. A strong start and a patient attack propelled the Cougars to a convincing victory.
The Cougars scored five tries in the first 20 minutes, never giving the Big Green an opportunity to get into the game. Kevin Schofield scored twice in the first five minutes to give the Cougars a 10-0 lead. Tua Laei, Josh Anderson and Jared Whippy added tries before the 20-minute mark to take a 27-0 lead.
“We knew that we had to come out really quick. We changed our pregame up a little bit just so the boys can get their legs underneath them from the plane ride but the goal was to get out of the gates as quickly as possible. That’s what they were able to do,” said BYU assistant coach Wayne Tarawhiti.
Dartmouth settled down after poor start to hold BYU scoreless for the next 15 minutes. Laei added his second score before halftime but the Big Green managed to put one in itself before the break. Will Konstant intercepted a pass and took it the distance for a 34-7 halftime score.
The Big Green managed to get the first score of the second half via a penalty but wouldn’t manage any more points until a consolation try at the death. In between, BYU added six more scores with Laei nabbing the hat trick and both Whippy and Anderson getting a brace.
“Dartmouth were very quick over the ball. They were smaller than us physically. The score was a little inflated because competition was tough. They were quick to get over the ball and they made us work hard,” added Tarawhiti. “We were patient enough to know that if we could turn it up the middle first we could try and find ourselves space out wide.”
Overall, the BYU coaching staff was satisfied with the performance and is excited to host Arkansas State next weekend.
“Happy with the boys performance but we have been saying this all year, the only thing we can do is try and get up and play the next week, and we are fortunate enough to play a game next week,” Tarawhiti concluded.
VARSITY CUP QUARTERFINAL MATCH SCHEDULE | APRIL 16TH:
The Varsity Cup Quarterfinals are nearly upon us! There are some critical matchups tomorrow Sat., April 16th as Arkansas State, Army, BYU, Cal, CWU, Dartmouth, Navy, & Utah will do battle to see who earns at spot in the Semi-Finals.
See the below for more information on the where and when the matches are being held and how you can watch remotely:
In the second round of the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup, BYU will travel to Hanover, NH to take on Dartmouth. BYU put up a century mark last week in Arizona and will be looking to continue the momentum in the northeast.
BYU and Dartmouth last met in the quarterfinals of the 2014 Varsity Cup. Dartmouth frustrated BYU for most of the first half in that contest and only trailed 15-3 at the break. The Cougars surged in the second half, however, winning 70-15.
The Big Green will take on BYU in the second round once again. Dartmouth will look to surprise once again after shocking Penn State last week. The Ivy League played a strong game and executed its game plan to near perfection in last weeks win over Penn State. Coach Gavin Hickie indicated that his team may not be able to fly under the radar again and will expect BYU to provide a stern test.
“We know where we are nationally despite what subjective rankings around the country say. We are pretty comfortable with where we are nationally.” Hickie said of Dartmouth. “We are not quite at BYU’s level yet but any opportunity we get to play them we will gladly accept that challenge.”
The Big Green needs to play a near perfect game to challenge the three time defending Varsity Cup champions. The Ivy school has is giving up a lot of size but that is no different than most other games. For Dartmouth, it is about finding unique ways to exploit space.
“We have got to be clinical in our execution… We have got to be clinical with any offloads and in the contact area. We know they are going to be huge, physical, so we have to be bottled up in that area and find the space wherever that my be. We have got to get a game plan and execute it properly, “Hickie added.
The Cougars are coming off their 20th victory of the season and are playing incredibly well this season. After traveling to Arizona last weekend, BYU will make the trek to the east coast to play. Despite a lot of travel, the BYU coaching staff believes the boys will ready to play from the get go.
“It will be a challenge for us. We have got to travel quite a bit to get there but our boys will be ready to go either way,” BYU assistant coach Wayne Tarawhiti said of the Cougars.
Despite having been unbeaten since 2014, BYU takes nothing for granted. Knowing the tough time the Big Green gave the Cougars in the first half a couple of years ago, the Utah school is not taking Dartmouth lightly.
“Dartmouth is and has been a well coached school for a number of years Gavin Hickie is a really good coach. He will have his boys ready to play us up there this weekend. We are just going to go up there and hopefully play well enough to play again the following weekend,” Tarawhiti said.
Dartmouth shocked Penn State with a 30-25 victory in the first round of the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup. Led by flyhalf Dawit Workie, the Big Green played an extremely clinical game to come away with the victory.
Penn State opened the scoring with a penalty but prop Will McNamara earned the games first try for Dartmouth. Center Will Konstant intercepted a pass and a few phases later the prop found his way over. With the conversion, Dartmouth led 7-3.
Both Will’s are new to rugby from the Dartmouth football program. Although they both only have a handful of rugby games under their belts, both had solid performances and contributed to the win.
“We have a fantastic relationship with our football club here. We are pretty close with both teams and I think we are going to align the two programs together. We love getting these football players, starting with a blank canvas and trying to coach some rugby into them. They are great athletes, they buy in, they learn very quickly. That relationship is so important to us,” said Dartmouth Coach Gavin Hickie.
Dartmouth added to its lead with a penalty a few minutes later. Disciplinary issues plagued Penn State all day and in this instance saw a player sent to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle. Despite being down a player, however, the Nittany Lions evened the score with a try from Chris Burian.
The hosts retook the lead thanks to a well-executed kick from Workie. The flyhalf sent a kick up in the air and back rower Hayden Aldridge ran underneath it. Arthur Sants was the beneficiary a few phases later for a 15-10 halftime lead.
Jimmy Ronan added his second penalty for PSU to cut the lead to 15-13. However, the Nittany Lions yielded a try to winger Andrew Zhu in the corner to make the difference a converted try. Things went from bad to worse for PSU, as it had a player sent off for a deliberately late hit on Workie.
Workie bounced back from the hit to set up teammate Struan Coleman. The flyhalf was coming off a hip injury and was just getting back into form for this match.
“Dawit is a class act. Every player that has had the opportunity to play with him here at Utah knows that. I’ve known that for a long time,” Hickie said of Workie. “He needs to be consistent in his high standard. What is really pleasing from our point of view is he is really starting to deliver on that.”
At 25-13 Penn State refused to quit, however, and despite being down a player, scored a well-worked team try. Discipline, however, cost the visitors once again. A high tackle resulted in a second yellow card forcing the Nittany Lions to play with 13 players for 10 minutes.
Dartmouth added another try to extend the lead to 30-20. Malcolm May dotted down for PSU late but the Big Green held on to win the match.
“We are very happy. I don’t think anybody really gave us a chance in this game. That is fine, we used that a little bit as fuel for ourselves,” said Hickie. “We were very confident going into this game, just very quietly being able to fly under the radar. We were confident that we could if we could execute what we were trying to do, we would come out on the good side of the score.”
The Big Green got inspiring performances from a couple of unexpected players. Along with the football players, Chris Banks played a tremendous game at hooker. Coming off a pair of ACL tears on the same leg, the former Junior All American played his first game in a couple years.
Dartmouth will welcome Penn State to Hanover for the first round of the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup. The Nittany Lions are making their first foray in the Varsity Cup and are hoping to come away a victory on the road.
The hosts, however, have played a tough schedule this year and are ready for the challenge. After undergoing a rough start to the fall, that included big losses to Lindenwood, AIC and Boston College, the Big Green went on to win its 9th consecutive Ivy League Title. With tough matches against fellow Varsity Cup participants Army and Navy this spring, Dartmouth is ready to take on the Rugby East heavy weight.
“We designed our fall schedule to really test ourselves against some of the best teams in the country to gear ourselves up for the Ivy,” said Dartmouth head coach Gavin Hickie. “We want to get tested out of our conference as often as we can and we welcome that challenge. The score lines didn’t go our way but it was a great learning curve.”
A traditionally smaller team, the Big Green always punches above its weight. Dartmouth narrowly lost to Navy in last year’s Varsity Cup and will be competitive playing at home. Led by three year starting fly half Dawit Workie and senior Captain Jack Braun, the Big Green has been gearing up for a physical contest. With the largest roster in recent years, competition is fierce and depth is a plenty.
“The boys have been working very very hard over the winter, particularly in the gym, indoors, on technique on subtle areas of the game,” added Hickie. “We are happy with where we are and we hope we are flying under the radar a little bit. We know Penn State are the heavy favorites and that is ok with us.”
The Nittany Lions have earned the reputation of being a very physical side, thanks in large part to the play of a pair of flankers and a prop. Malcolm May had a tremendous campaign during Rugby East play and earned conference player of the year accolades while leading the Pennsylvania school to a second place finish. Complementing the junior flanker is the equally athletic and dynamic Sean Mahon and loose head prop Brian McKellar.
“Sean is a terrific player and someone that I think projects to move forward if he wants to and works at it,” Penn State coach Blake Burdette said of his senior flanker. “McKellar is one guy who has really worked his butt off to get to where he is at.”
Penn State has been gearing up for the Varsity Cup by taking on two other VC squads and the formidable Indiana Hoosiers. The Nittany Lions lost a tight one to Navy, held off a Clemson surge and handily defeated an undefeated Hoosiers team. Playing some teams that have also played Dartmouth, Burdette has been able to gauge his own squad.
“A couple of those teams are Varsity Cup and they have also played Dartmouth. We just wanted to challenge ourselves,” Burdette said.
Although Penn State may be favored on paper and in the eyes of Coach Hickie, coming into Dartmouth and walking away with a victory is no easy task.
“We need to play to our strengths. We have to worry about us. We can’t worry about them. We know Dartmouth is going to be well coached, well drilled and they are going to come after us, especially playing on their home field,” Burdette concluded.
In Hanover, NH, Navy escaped with a 23-22 victory over Dartmouth. In a game that saw several lead changes, Navy managed to get the final blow, earning them a date with Clemson in the round of eight.
Navy controlled the game early and looked as though they might run away with it. The Midshipmen placed intense defensive pressure on the Big Green early and after forcing a knock on, took a 5-0 lead. Jack McAuliffe added a penalty and a drop goal to extend the lead to 11-0.
“Our forwards were really dominant and we were able to keep the ball in our hands,” Navy coach Mike Flanagan said of the early stages of the match.
Dartmouth hung tough with a bigger Navy side, however, keeping the deficit at 11 for most of the first half. After spending a number of minutes inside the Navy 22, the home side was rewarded with a man advantage. Off an ensuing lineout Dartmouth mauled its way over the try line to go into halftime trailing 11-5.
The second half opened with a miscue for Navy but the Midshipmen withstood Dartmouth pressure until a scrum at midfield. A piece of individual brilliance from former track start, John Abraham, opened the scoring in the second half. Abraham took a pass from the scrum and scampered down the sideline for a try. Dartmouth missed the conversion but led 12-11.
Max Parker, at the other wing position, extended the lead after great phase play from the home side. Parker dotted down in the corner to increase the lead to 17-11.
“There scores were a typical Dartmouth kind of game,” Flanagan said of Dartmouth. “They get the ball out in space and support the runner well.”
Navy showed great resilience, immediately following up the Dartmouth score with a try of their own to take the lead 18-17. The visitors used their strong pack once again to take a pick and go over the goal line.
“Our scores were typical to us, I suppose. They came from our forwards, some big strong guys working around the goal line,” added Flanagan.
Former Dartmouth football player, Steve Dazzo regained the lead after fielding a line drive kick, and breaking two tackles to score a try in the corner. At this point, Dartmouth led 22-18.
Once again, Navy responded quickly, pounding in a forwards try to take 23-22 lead. The Navy defense did not crack anymore, and the visitors got out of Hanover with the narrow victory.
“They got together in goal and looked at each other and said we are playing for 80 more minutes of Rugby,” Flanagan said of his team. “They wanted it pretty badly, fought and clawed all the way down the field and scored.”
Ultimately, this was a game of contrasting styles. The smaller but skilled Dartmouth side went to toe to toe with an aggressive and stronger Navy team. Flanagan indicated that this match could have very easily gone in favor of the hosts.
“Dartmouth played really well. That was the best game Dartmouth has ever played against us,”
The Navy Midshipmen will travel to Hanover, NH, to take on Dartmouth College Saturday. Both teams are known for their athletic ability and fitness, and this game could come down to which team lasts the full 80 minutes.
Dartmouth cruised through the Ivy League play in the fall, winning the conference for the 8th consecutive time. The team, however, will be without All-American and USA 7s Eagle captain Madison Hughes for at least the first round of the Cup.
A number of players have stepped up in the absence of Hughes, including fly half Dawit Workie. The sophomore has stepped in as the leader of the backline for the Big Green this season. Andrew Berson, at tight head prop, leads the Big Green pack will spearhead a small but athletic Dartmouth pack.
Dartmouth also received a boost with a number of new players that transition to rugby from other varsity sports. John Abraham, a track crossover, spent some time with the Canadian 7s team the Maple Leafs in the fall and will be a big contributor on the wing. Additionally, there are several football converts that are expected to make big impacts moving forward.
Dartmouth has been focusing on 7s this spring but spent the last week honing their skills with a training camp. The boys focused heavily on the basics and spent a lot of time game planning for a tough Navy squad.
“We spent the last week and a half in Hanover getting our reps in,” Dartmouth Captain Peter Savarese “We had a training camp in preparation for the first round of the Varsity Cup.”
The Big Green will take on St. Mary’s in one final tune-up Tuesday night before hosting Navy this weekend.
Navy returns strong senior leadership with fly half Jack McAuliffe and prop Alex Hoffman lead the way for the midshipmen. Ron Helms, who was unavailable for the Varsity Cup last year, will be looked upon to make an impact in the pact. Finally, Justin Menke at fullback, adds pace and some dynamic play to a well disciplined and patient backline.
The Midshipmen reached the semi-final in last year’s Varsity Cup but ultimately ran into the juggernaut that is BYU, falling 60-0. In order to get back to that level and possibly beyond, Navy scheduled a rigorous spring campaign. Navy defeated fellow Varsity Cup opponent Clemson, but lost tough games to Life, Wheeling Jesuit and rival service academy, Army.
“The results have not been what we have looked for but we have had some great performances,” said Navy coach Mike Flanagan. “I think these are the type of teams we need to play to prepare us for the Varsity Cup.”
What has plagued Navy this year has been an inability to turn possession into points. Navy is extremely good at winning and maintaining possession but at times has failed to execute at the goal line.
“Our biggest obstacle has been to score points in critical spots,” Flanagan added. “We should be able to break somebody down in less than 15 possessions. God Bless our patience but when you have the ball that often you should be able to get through them sooner than that.”
Kickoff this weekend is still undetermined due to the horrendous winter weather that plagued the Northeast. Dartmouth are hoping to play on the grass at Brophy Field but it will be decided at the end of the week if the game will be moved to turf.
Annapolis, MD–It was supposed to be the closest match of the Varsity Cup. Dartmouth was supposed to win. Navy didn’t get the memo.
Though the 32-0 score was actually the closest match in the first round of the inaugural Varsity Cup, the outcome surprised everyone except Navy’s home crowd. Normally shutouts speak of a team that either can’t get anything started or can’t get their star player the ball. Neither of those were the case yesterday as Dartmouth’s team was extremely capable and it’s best player, Madison Hughes, had his hands on the ball plenty of times. Navy’s defense simply proved to be too much for Dartmouth, refusing to let them score even a consolation try in injury time. When Navy’s Brandon Willis stripped the ball from a would-be Dartmouth try in the end zone to end the match, it seemed to be an accurate summation of the entire eighty plus minutes for Dartmouth’s offense.
Offensively, Navy seemed to stick to their game plan of using extremely fit attackers to grind down their opponent, then get the ball wide to the back three for a score on a tired defense. Junior Jack Mcauliffe showed a lot of finesse scoring a try himself as well as moving the ball through the back line to get tries from fullback Ron Helms and wing Justin Lamascus. Navy forwards also showed their power inside the 22 with a slow ball try from Darien Green. The excitement of the Varsity Cup clearly energized Navy who also used the foot much more than previous matches.
The win guarantees Navy another 80 minutes of rugby where they will travel to face Cal on Cal’s home field. The two teams spent time together in Annapolis when a few Navy players escorted Cal on a tour of the Academy. Though their next meeting will be on less friendly terms, both teams have ample respect for each other proving the Varsity Cup’s professional setting.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – With a lineup featuring six underclassmen starters who were joined by three more frosh-sophs as replacements, California advanced to the semifinals of the Varsity Cup National Championships on Saturday with a 77-0 win over Notre Dame at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium.
The Golden Bears (20-0, 5-0 PAC) got 13 tries from 10 players, including two each from lock Brendan Daly, match-day captain and No. 8 Danny Barrett, and fullback Jake Anderson, who added another 12 points on conversions (6-for-10).
Notre Dame flanker Bobby Manfreda missed a penalty attempt (0-for-1) in the eighth minute that proved to be the best chance for the Irish to score.
“It was an honor to play at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium,” said match-day captain Danny Barrett, who took over captain’s duties on a day that Seamus Kelly was held in reserve and did not play. “The tour of the academy yesterday was a highlight.”
Cal will face Navy at the semifinals next Saturday, April 27, at 1 p.m. on Witter Rugby Field. The Midshipmen (8-1, 7-0 Atlantic Coast) defeated Dartmouth, 32-0, in the second match at the Eastern Super Regional located just off the campus of the U.S. Naval Academy.
“The Naval Academy did a great job of hosting,” said Cal head coach Jack Clark. “There were key athletic administrators on hand at every turn. This venue will be an important franchise as the Varsity Cup grows.”
The Bears entrusted their fate against the Irish in a Starting XV that included a backline almost entirely comprised of players who had featured primarily as reserves throughout the spring. Sophomore Nicklas Boyer, who continued to build on his resume at scrumhalf, distributed the ball to freshman flyhalf Harry Adolphus (0-for-1 conversions), who kept the ball moving to sophomore Eakalafi Okusi at inside center, freshman Anthony Salaber at outside center and sophomore Jesse Milne at one wing; in the forwards, sophomore Michael Bush got the call to start at one of the flanker positions.
“A lot of us younger guys stepped up,” said Bush. “Anthony Salaber was a key for me.”
After lock Brendan Daly started the scoring in minute four to finish a Cal attack, the Irish remained composed and managed to press into Cal territory and draw a penalty, but Manfreda’s attempted three-point kick from 30 meters was wide left.
Eight minutes later, Bears hooker Grant Hyjer scored Cal’s second try, but the conversion from Anderson was no good into a stiff wind blowing into his face from the north. The fullback missed his next attempt as well following a try by Boyer, but made his next two after a try by Okusi was followed by one of his own, and Cal went into halftime up 29-0.
“Cal came out and went through their phases at a very fast pace,” said Irish head coach Sean O’Leary. “That’s what they do well: they recycle and they win the collision areas. It’s a good learning experience for us. I’ve always been impressed with how Jack Clark and Tom Billups put their program together. They play at a high pace and that’s where we aspire to be.”
“Notre Dame is one of the improving teams in U.S. collegiate rugby and they’re growing the program in the right way,” coach Jack Clark said. “It was a difficult match for them today but their coaching leadership and team ethos are outstanding.”
As has become its trademark over the past five matches, Cal shifted into a higher gear in the second half, adding 48 points including tries by Adolphus, Andre Coquillard (0-for-2 conversions) and Carl Hendrickson.
The Bears left Annapolis honored to have played the Super Regional at the historic venue of Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, which is ringed with the names of battle sites around the world where Naval and Marine forces have fought and fallen for this country.
“A Navy administrator shared a great story with our team during Friday’s walkthrough,” said Clark. “When Lou Holtz was coaching at William & Mary College in the early ’70s, he brought his team into the stadium, showed them the battle names on the facade and told them, `You think our schedule is tough.'”
“It definitely felt good to come out with a win in a single-elimination tournament, but we know we’ve got a big week of practice ahead to get ready for this next matchup,” added Milne. “This is what as an athlete you live for, to go out there in those do-or-die moments and take it.”
The Scoring Timeline vs. Notre Dame:
04:00 Brendan Daly 5
16:00 Grant Hyjer 5
21:00 Nicklas Boyer 5
24:00 Eakalfi Okusi 5, Jake Anderson 2
27:00 Jake Anderson 5, 2
Halftime Score: California 29, Notre Dame 0
43:00 Danny Barrett 5, Jake Anderson 2
47:00 Jake Anderson 5
52:00 Jesse Milne 5, Jake Anderson 2
59:00 Danny Barrett 5, Jake Anderson 2
62:00 Harry Adolphus 5, Jake Anderson 2
67:00 Brendan Daly 5
71:00 Andre Coquillard 5
78:00 Carl Hendrickson 5
Final Score: California 77, Notre Dame 0