Oregon State took their undefeated record to Seattle this weekend for an NCRC matchup with the Washington Huskies. And despite strong opposition, Oregon State continued with their formula of success to run past UW 66-10 and clinch the playoff berth.
Sunny conditions blessed the skies of the Emerald City and made for a spectacular day of rugby. The Huskies objective; play confident at home and prolong the Beavers shot at a league championship. For the Beavers; get a win and move on.
UW used a loss to Western the weekend before as motivation to make it very difficult for the Beavers from the initial kickoff. Oregon State struggled early with some handling errors, but was able to break the fringes of the Husky defense with scores from flanker Mitch Fargher and captain Mike Gamm for an early 14-0 lead.
For the next ten minutes, UW aimed to pin OSU deep into their territory with a field position and strong counter attack game-plan. However, a Husky turnover at mid-field and swift movement through the backline saw yet another strong run by winger Nate Kimmel for a 21-0 score.
The Huskies gained some momentum back with strong phase play and committed defense to pressure the Beavers and keep all scoring idle for the next ten minutes. UW would get on the scoreboard with less than five minutes left with a penalty kick for a 21-3 lead.
Unfortunately though, it would be OSU with the final say in their first half with a late score with less than a minute to play with a score of 26-3. OSU threatened to score a few more times, but a tightfisted defense by UW, especially fullback Justin Santos, saw two potential scores stay clear of the scoreboard.
In the second half, OSU came out with a spark and chip on their shoulder to prove why they have been the class of the NCRC. Three quick scores again from Fargher, Gamm and Kimmel and two conversions by fullback Carl Pitzer saw a complete turn of events for the game and a lopsided 45-3 lead.
UW would get some slight payback when OSU flanker Cam McDonnell had a loose pass intercepted by UW’s Kiel Rasp who pinned his ears back and sprang 40 meters for the Huskies first and only score 45-10.
This wouldn’t phase the Beavers and through some quick passing and excellent pace to thin out the UW defense, OSU’s Steven Fenaroli would add to the scoreboard. Pitzer would nail the kick to make it 52-10 and put away any doubts about OSU getting into the playoffs. Last two scores would be credited to Sean Clark and reserve Emerson Helbling for a 62-10 final.
“Getting this win was very good, but we left some scores and phases on the pitch that need to be addressed going forward,” OSU coach Anthony Lally. “Very pleased with the guys for not taking the foot off the gas and playing through the full time. We didn’t get loose when replacements were on the field which is critical to keep a balanced squad and have success in big matches ahead.”
With the win and WSU’s loss to Western, Oregon State defends its league title and clinches a berth to the Sweet 16 in Palo Alto, CA. As it stands the pool likes like it will include: UCSB (Santa Barbara), Santa Clara, OSU and possibly San Diego State.