DIAA Storm's Coming: UC Davis And NDC Battle Conditions, Each Other

DIAA Storm's Coming: UC Davis And NDC Battle Conditions, Each Other

UC Davis and Notre Dame College face off for the second time in a row in the DIAA college rugby final.

May 4, 2017 by Alex Goff
DIAA Storm's Coming: UC Davis And NDC Battle Conditions, Each Other
Both UC Davis and Notre Dame College remember all too well last year's DIAA championship match.

In that game, neither team came away satisfied, although Davis, which won, had to be a little happier. The rain and mist in Moraga, CA, meant an open, running spectacle wasn't so easy. Both teams are hoping for a drier Saturday in Marietta, GA. They likely won't get it. Rain is moving through Georgia, and it'll be a damp field for the DIAA final.

For UC Davis, a massive defeat of Florida State might not have been the best preparation. 

"As a team we go through our games with a zero-zero mentality no matter what the score is," UC Davis head coach Kal Incendy said. "And after the match, that's over. We don't live it. We look forward. If the intensity were to diminish, it might be because it's a long season and all players get tired. But our mentality is the same."

For Notre Dame College, it worked through a very tough fall schedule that included games against Wheeling Jesuit, Navy, Indiana, and Lindenwood-Belleville (all wins). The Falcons have had to bounce between sevens and 15s in the spring but got a good runout in a loss to Indiana that proved to be beneficial.

That game was 5-5 at halftime before IU pulled away, with NDC trying to get playing time for a large number of players.

"It was a great game for us because it showed us what we need to work on," NDC head coach Jason Fox said.

The Falcons then turned around to play the Cleveland Crusaders and won 59-14.

"It got the guys focused again," Fox said. "The kids are happy that UC Davis is our opponent. We felt we didn't play to our potential, and we dropped a lot of balls."

"Last year they were very athletic," Incendy said of NDC. "And we've seen on film they are still athletic on film. Their backs in general are fast, big, and powerful. Their No. 10 and No. 12 know how to play rugby."

That would be the elusive Corey Graham and the power-running Zach Forro. In addition, Marcus Tupuola -- one of the tops back in DI this fall -- and thundering runner Roneil Reynolds are also part of this imposing backline.

And Davis?

"They're a good team," Fox said. "They're a kicking team, well-coached, and they run inside very well."

Jacob Wright and Josh Farnsworth combined nicely at scrumhalf and flyhalf, and hooker Colten Collings leads a unified forward pack. And unified is the key word. 

"This year we've integrated the backs and forwards in all phases more cohesively than last year," Incendy said. "Everyone's going to the breakdown. Everyone's catching the ball, everyone's catching the ball. It's not a forward's job or a back's job."

And so it's a rematch with mismatches and huge challenges.

In the fall DIAA final, Notre Dame College absorbed huge amounts of pressure from Bowling Green, returned two turnovers for long-range tries, and pulled away late. If NDC shows that kind of patience and commitment to defense, the Falcons could be in a good position to garner some revenge. But Davis can handle a challenge, too.