Pacific West ChampionsDU’s Men Club Rugby team has won the Pacific WestChampionship and is now headed to Nationals.
On April 6, DU played against California Maritime in the semi-finals. Maritime was thePac West Champions last year and was the expected team to win it again this year. DU was able to prevail 21-17, sending them to the championship game.
On April 7 DU faced Occidental College in thechampionship game at Infinity Park. Bothteams fought with intensity in hoping tobecome the Pac West Regional Champions.
Family and friends filled thestands at Infinity Park during Sunday’s game. Boone was even seen at the gamejoining fans to cheer on their team.
It was looking good for theOccidental Tigers in thebeginning of the game.Within the second minute,the Tigers were already upthree tallies. By the end ofthe 20th minute Occidentalwas up 17-0.
Denver did not let the score discourage their spirits. Instead, the team pushedforward with execution and earned 14 tallies by the end of the first half. Casey Slattery and Osa Aihie both scored and Joe Parker made the conversions.
DU started the second half refreshed and ready to go. Jake Miller scored thethird try and Parker converted. Denver was in the lead for the first time in the game 21-17.
Both teams continued to play with intensity as the time winded down. DU was down by one point with less than eight minutes left. At the last minute,Slattery scored a try during the last play giving DU the lead. The whistle was blown and DU won 31-27.
“I think anyone who watches the rugby team can see that they are a team with so much heart and dedication. Every single one of those players wants to win so badly and youcan really see their love for the game on the field. No matter what the score is, whether they are winning or loosing, the team always plays at 110 percent and I love that you can really see their perseverance at every game,” said Ava Geupel, a dedicated fan.
Denver’s victorious win overOccidental crowned them Pac WestChampions. This is the furthest DURugby has ever gotten in playoffs.The last time DU Rugby was in theplayoffs was back in 2007.
DU is in the final fourwith St. John, Duke,and New HampshireCollege. These fourteams will compete tobecome NationalChampions.Winning the NationalChampionship wouldbe quite the prize forDenver since theNational Small CollegeRugby Organizationinvolves over 200men’s teams.
“I am still in shock that we are Pac West Champions! This is the furthest I have ever gotten in any sport I have ever played. This is also the furthest DU Rugby has evergotten in history. It was kind of unexpected. I am really proud and excited for our team,” Gabe Bram said.
Casey Slattery, second position wasawarded MVP at Sunday’s game.Trever Hanson was awarded with theball of the game.
“Casey totally deserved to be MVP. He is just such a good player and we all see his hard workboth on and off the field,” said Gabe Bram about his teammate.
DU will play against St. John on April 27. The Saturday game will take place atInfinity Park in Glendale. Duke and New England will also be playing on April 27 at Infinity. The winning teams will face each other on April 28 for the National Championship. Tickets are online and ready for purchase. Visit http://infinityparkatglendale.com/ index.php/rubytown/schedule/range.listevents/