A-State Rugby Wins Three to Advance To Quarterfinals
CHESTER, Pa. – Arkansas State University’s rugby team moved one step closer in its quest for a third national title by knocking off three tough opponents during the first day of the Penn Mutual 7s Collegiate Rugby Championships here Saturday. A-State got off to an early morning start by defeating Michigan, 17-5, followed by a 22-10 victory over Texas and closing out first round play with a 19-0 win over UCLA.
The Red Wolves will play Arizona, Sunday, May 31, at 8:40 a.m. at PPL Stadium. Play will be televised by NBC Sports Network from 1-3 p.m. (CT) and the championship match can be viewed on NBC Sports from 3-5 p.m. (CT).
“We had some great results today,” said Matt Huckaby, who is serving as an assistant coach. “UCLA is strong. In the fall, they beat California and St. Mary’s, two very strong programs. Today, during the match our starters got exhausted and we made some substitutions. The one thing I think our players learned during the subs is when you make great effort, good things can happen. Our young players watched the starters come out and understood how hard they had worked and the young guys really embraced the effort and stepped up.”
Arkansas State wasted no time as Alex Goff scored on a try and a conversion by Tom Haussrer against Michigan. Ruann Knuppel followed close with another score to put the Red Wolves up, 12-0, early in the match. Turnovers hurt Michigan and limited several scoring chances, but the Wolverines managed to score behind the efforts of Cole Van Harn for their only points.
In the second morning match, Texas threw the first punch with a run by Emmanuel Nwoko to give the Longhorns a 5-0 lead. However, A-State’s Connor Cook raced downfield on the try to score just before the halfway mark, with Mike Baska adding another try seconds before the halftime buzzer to put the Red Wolves up, 12-5. Texas continued to fight hard, but was unable to build on the point total. A-State’s David Snead was good on the try late in the game, and Dylan Carrion was good on the final try of the game.
Against UCLA, both teams had opportunities to go ahead, but A-State’s Carrion struck first, scoring on a try. Glenn Erikson added another score as the halftime horn sounded. Snead added the Red Wolves’ final score late in the second half to seal the win.
“All teams here are good,” continued Huckaby. “And, this is such a professional event. I’m so happy for our players to be able to play in this championship tournament and showcase what they can do and how hard they prepared. It’s such a professional setting from both rugby and the student-athlete experience standpoint. It’s a premiere event.”
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