May 3, 1997
Cal Advances to National Championship Game
BERKELEY, Calif. - Cal's rugby squad dominated UC Davis Saturday winning their National Championship semifinal match 62-14. The Bears face Penn State in Sunday's title match, after the Nittany Lions beat Stanford 22-17 in the other semi-final.
Cal captain, Kevin Dalzell, who kicked 12 conversions (24 points), rated the Bears' performance as one of the year's best and coach Jack Clark concurred:
"Davis is one of the top four teams in the country and that was a comprehensive victory."
Cal jumped out to an early lead when left winger Todd Conneely scored from a set play only five minutes into the game. His counterpart on the right wing, Doug Anthrop, staggered the Aggies only minutes later, picking up a Davis fumble and running 80 yards to score.
In front of a large crowd at Witter Rugby Field, the Golden Bears added another three tries in the half while Davis managed only one before the break. The teams swapped tries early in the second period and then the Bears pulled out of reach scoring four more times.
Cal hooker Kirk Khasigian had a hat-trick of tries in the match, creating his own opportunity to score the first by winning a scrum against the feed near the Davis goal line. The Bears forward pack also disrupted the Davis line-outs to gain a lot of possession.
Penn State had a much tougher time reaching the final, only taking the lead with about four minutes left in their match against Stanford. "It was one of the uglier games of our season," said the Nittany Lions' coach, Terry Ryland, "but it was also one of our most courageous." Penn State captain Kurt Shuman vowed that his team would eliminate mistakes and play with more discipline in Sunday's 1:00 p.m. final. Even though Penn State had a battle, Cal coach Jack Clark is not underestimating tomorrow's match: "Penn State proved today that they are a sound rugby team," he said, "and they will be tough to beat."
Stanford and UC Davis will play off for third and fourth place at 11:00 a.m.
1997 National Collegiate Rugby Championship Final Four Semi-Final Results
Scoring: First Half -Todd Conneely (Cal) Try (5) Kevin Dalzell Conversion (2) 5.46; Doug Anthrop (Cal) Try (5) Kevin Dalzell Conversion (2) 9.13; Todd Conneely (Cal) Try (5) 16.55; Dave Stroble (Cal) Try (5) 26.13; Kirk Khasigian (Cal) Try (5) Kevin Dalzell Conversion (2) 34.30; Kevin Henderson (UC Davis) Try (5) Matt Treadway Conversion (2) 38.56. Second Half -Scott Yungling (Cal) Try (5) Kevin Dalzell Conversion (2) 3.00; Tom Niklewski (UC Davis) Try (5) Matt Treadway Conversion (2) 9.00; Mark Hildebrand (Cal) Try (5) Kevin Dalzell Conversion (2) 15.57; Dave Stroble (Cal) Try (5) Kevin Dalzell Conversion (2) 23.35; Kirk Khasigian (Cal) Try (5) 28.10; Kirk Khasigian (Cal) Try (5) 32.40;
Scoring: First Half -Doug McDonald (Stanford) Try (5) 33.56; Jesse Erway (Penn State) Try (5) Matt Duncombe Conversion (2) 37.44. Second Half -Don Donester (Stanford) Try (5) 3.06; Tom Efird (Stanford) Try (5) Dave Warter Conversion (2) 13.55; Matt Duncombe (Penn State) Try (5) 16.34; Matt Duncombe (Penn State) Penalty Kick (3) 24.13; Kurt Shuman (Penn State) Try (5) Matt Duncombe Conversion (2) 36.11.