Life University claim USA Rugby Championships title
June 2, 2008

Life University held on to defeat the Glendale Raptors, 15-14, in the USA Rugby Men's Club Division I Championships today at Glendale's Infinity Park.

"Glendale did a good job pressuring us," Life's player/coach Scott Lawrence said. "I am just happy to have walked away one point ahead. I attribute a lot of it to our strength and conditioning program. Our team works unbelievably hard during the season and our goal is to come alive in the last 20 minutes."

Both teams played tough defense and the match remained scoreless until, in the 34th minute, Glendale scored their first converted try. Life countered in the second half, and then went on to score the next 15 points to take an eight-point lead over the home crowd favorite. In the very last minute of the game, however, Glendale came back to score a converted try. It brought the Raptors to within one, but as time ran out, Life University was still on top.

This win marks the team's first title in Division I in its long and established history. In comparison, the Raptors, who are just finishing their second full season as a club, also mark their best finish as runners-up.

The Division I consolation match pit Pearl City against the top-seeded Olympic Club. Both teams were coming off a tough semifinal battle and it was the Olympic Club that held its composure and walked away with the third-place finish, beating the Iowa-based club, 49-17.

Red Mountain clinched the Division II National Championship with its convincing 41-18 win over the top-seeded Brandywine side in today's afternoon match. Red Mountain actually led 17-8 at halftime and never looked back, scoring another 17 consecutive points in the second half en route to its first National Championship title, as well.

"We came out extremely aggressive and were able to maintain that level throughout," Red Mountain Coach Kevin Torkelson said.
"We have been in three USA Rugby National Championships now, and we know what to expect. I think that kind of experience helps in a number of ways.

"I have to give Brandywine credit, though, they really stayed after it the whole time and in both of our games this weekend - the score didn't necessarily reflect the difficulty of our competition.

That was also true in the Division II consolations, as the Wisconsin side beat Detroit in the day's first match 24-16.

In Division III, the Reno Zephyrs marked their second Championship title in just six years, beating Michiana 31-27, in match that came down to the wire.

"It was a good, exciting game and we were very evenly matched," Coach Rich Lair said. "They played really quick ball and we played good defense on our part. We really owe a lot of our team's success to Nelo Lui, (this year's DIII MVP). He leads the squad on and off the field and has a lot to do with our improved conditioning."

According to Nelo, he advised the squad to forget what had happened throughout the season, and just focus on making the most out of this Championship match. "In most of our matches this year, we would get a bit sloppy towards the end. This time, our last 20 minutes worked out for us. It shows that our emphasis on conditioning is paying off, but more than that it shows a lot of heart."

Men's Club Championships
Day 2

DI Championships
Life 15, Glendale 14

DI Consolation
Olympic Club 49, Pearl City 17

DII Championship
Red Mountain 41, Brandywine 18

DII Consolation
Wisconsin 24, Detroit 16

DIII Championship
Reno 31, Michiana 27


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