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Red Wolves advance to Elite Eight with
29-23 rugby win over St. Mary's

April 16, 2010 --  Arkansas State University’s men’s rugby team advanced to the Elite Eight of the Division 1 USA Rugby national playoffs after knocking off St. Mary’s University of California, 29-23, Friday afternoon. The Red Wolves, now 7-1 overall, will face San Diego State in the semifinal match Saturday, April 17, at 3 p.m. Central, at the University of California-Santa Barbara's Harder Stadium.

“The match was a thriller,” said ASU first-year head coach Matt Huckaby. “It went back and forth and literally came down to the last 30 seconds for the win. St. Mary’s was able to score late, but our defense played hard and continued to hold strong. They did a great job.”

Huckaby praised the efforts of three-time All-American player Roland Evans, saying the junior center-forward from Cape Town, South Africa, led the ASU surge. ASU was up 22-3 at the half and led 22-13 with 20 minutes remaining in the contest. The Gaels of St. Mary’s cut the lead to 29-18 with a minute-and-a-half remaining before adding their final points with 30 seconds remaining.

“St. Mary’s came on a late surge and scored once more,” continued Huckaby. “They play extremely fast.”

He also noted the efforts of Matt Guest of Brookland. “Matt was really impressive. He has stepped up his individual effort.”

San Diego State is ranked third nationally and Huckaby said the Aztecs are favored over the Red Wolves. ASU is ranked fourth.

“Our guys are so excited right now, who knows what will happen,” said Huckaby. “It’s difficult to advance to the final four teams, but I know our team will play hard and leave it all out on the field. We’ll have to see what happens.”

The national championship will be held April 30 and May 1 at Stanford University.

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