Life did just enough to win Pool B Friday. The Running Eagles opened the day with a 31-0 defeat of Texas. Given the Longhorns reached the Cup Quarterfinals of the CRC in June, that originally seemed like a good result, but by the end of day one, Texas scored just 12 points en route to 0-3.
Life’s second opponent, Cal Poly, was a much more formidable bunch, and it took all 14 minutes and a clutch kick from Colton Cariaga to oust the Mustangs.
Cal Poly’s Mathew Verga scored a converted try with just over 40 seconds left in the game, according to the scoreboard. With the illuminated time at 0:00, the ref ordered one more restart, which Life fielded deep in its own end. With the help of a pair of Cal Poly penalties, Life marched down the field for the tying try.
Kicking from about 20 meters from touch, Cariaga tucked the ball inches to the right side of the left upright to give the Running Eagles the 19-17 victory.
Cal Poly entered the third round of pool play 1-1, having overcome a 7-point halftime disadvantage to beat Wisconsin 24-12 earlier. Cal Poly knew it needed points to advance, as only the top two second-place teams would reach the Cup Quarterfinals, and poured it on Texas in a 35-5 win.
“The thought was always there, you’ve got to win first,” said Cal Poly coach David Burnett, “and then the bonus point comes after that. I think the second half was better than the first.”
Life seemed to have the pool wrapped up, heading into its final pool game 2-0. However, Wisconsin, which had given everything it could handle earlier, was eager to find a consolation prize for the day.
Life led almost the entire game, and by two scores for much of it. The Running Eagles even escaped a one-man disadvantage from a Cameron Dolan sin bin unscathed, but Wisconsin dotted down two tries in the game’s final minutes to draw level.
The Badgers’ final score was a breakaway from Ryan McGlynn. Once he wriggled free, only the intimidating Dolan loomed before the try line. Dolan gave McGlynn the touch line, so he couldn’t cut towards the posts. McGlynn took it, and grounded the ball before being pushed out of bounds by the massive forward.
The conversion attempt missed, resulting in a 17-17 tie. Displeased by the day’s performance, Life moves on to the Cup Quarters.
“We’re going to go back, watch some video and talk about some things,” said Life coach Paul Emerick, “but our goal is to do some small fixes every game and just keep moving forward.”