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Rugby Red Wolves fall to California in semifinal round of national championship

April 30, 2010 -- Palo Alto, Calif. – Arkansas State University’s dream season for its growing men’s rugby program came to an end when the Red Wolves were handed an 83-37 defeat by the University of California in the semifinal round of the 2010 USA Rugby Collegiate National Championship played Friday evening in Steuber Rugby Stadium on the campus of Stanford University.

It was the first-ever trip to a Division 1 national championship for the ASU rugby team in its first decade of existence. ASU finished the season 10-3 overall after earning the right to play in the Final Four by knocking off St. Mary’s (California), 29-23, and San Diego State, 17-10, in the Elite Eight tournament in Santa Barbara, Calif.

“I’m so proud of this team,” said first-year head coach Matt Huckaby. “These guys played with lots of heart and lots of class. I’m proud of their effort. They never quit, even though they were scoring a lot of points on us, we still had our moments.”

Despite being down early (24-3), Huckaby’s young squad, which entered the semifinal match ranked third nationally, scored more points on the Golden Bears than any team California played this season. Cal, the top-ranked team, has averaged 55 points per victory throughout its 25-0 slate.

The Red Wolves never backed down and never quit, scoring twice in the waning minutes of the match.

“Cal is a very technically sound team, and they do the basics better than anyone else,” Huckaby said. “We learned that we can compete with a team like that. We learned what we need to do to compete with a team like that.”

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