PROVO — The BYU Cougars advanced to the College Premier Division rugby semifinals by beating the visiting Navy Midshipmen 64-12 on South Field Saturday.
BYU will face the Arkansas State Redwolves Saturday, May 14 at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colo. The Redwolves beat St. Mary's College at home in Jonesboro, Ark., 30-17 to punch their semifinals ticket.
Kickoff between BYU and ASU has yet to be determined.
The CPD semifinals will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com and tape delay broadcast on ESPNU starting at 10.30 p.m. Saturday night.
In what was a hotly contested match against the Midshipmen at the breakdown, flanker Apenisa Malani led the Cougars.
"Navy is a big team," Malani said, "And they're a tough group of guys. So we just needed to do the same and it paid off."
Early on the Cougars pressured Navy by stringing phases together in Midshipmen territory. The pressure paid off as the Cougars were awarded a penalty 28 meters straight in front of the posts.
BYU scrumhalf Shaun Davies converted the penalty kick giving the Cougars the 3-0 lead two minutes into the match.
Minutes later the Cougars scored again, this time at the hands of fullback Andrew Harrison, who took a wide needle-threading pass from flyhalf Dylan Lubbe from 20 meters out for the game's first try. Davies’ conversion made it 10-0.
Later, a Navy turnover deep in the BYU half in the 11th minute offered lock Viliami Vimahi a chance to counter attack. Vimahi lumbered up field and found wing Adam Kuchin who stepped in and away from the Midshipmen cover defenders for a long 60-meter run and try.
A wide pass from Lubbe to center Jared Whippy, led to a try in the 17th minute to put BYU up 17-0.
True to form, the Midshipmen didn’t roll over.
With a long and strategic kicking game Navy created pressure in the BYU backfield. The eventual pressure offered the Midshipmen two well-worked tries with the first in the 24th minute by captain Sean Rohr’s and the second in the 34th minute by scrumhalf Ricky Feller.
"I thought we worked hard," said BYU head coach David Smyth. "But Navy showed some glaring things we need to work on this coming week."
Amongst the Navy pressure the Cougars would respond intermittently with tries from captain Ryan Roundy as well as Malani.
In all the Cougars repelled a surging Navy attack close the BYU try line on numerous occasions, most notably in the second half where the Midshipmen controlled the field position and possession for the first 20 minutes.
BYU absorbed Navy pressure and finish the final 20 minutes of the game with a scoring spree via Malani, wing Zeke Mendenhall and hooker Ishmael Tilialo.
"Our defense held overall against a very physical and determined team," Smyth said, "It wasn't a complete performance by any means, but that will help us stay focused and working hard. We're back to the semifinals and we're looking forward to it."
BYU 1st XV vs. NAVY: 1- Mike Suva; 2 - Ishmael Tilialo; 3 - Ray Forrester (Inoke Hafoka @ 15' Blood & 65’); 4 - Mark Bonham; 5 - Viliami Vimahi (Braden Bair 65'); 6 - Joey Mount (Joey Mount @ 57’); 7 -Apenisa Malani; 8 - Ryan Roundy @ (Kumi Tua'one @ 70'); 9 - Shaun Davies; 10 - Dylan Lubbe; 11 -Zeke Mendenhall; 12 - Jared Whippy; 13 - Seki Kofe (Josh Webber 50′); 14 - Adam Kuchin (Joseph Nicholls @ 55'); 15 - Andrew Harrison.
SCORING SUMMARY: 2' Davies 3 (Penalty) 6' Harrison 5/Davies 2 11' Kuchin 5/Davies 2 17' Whippy 5 29' Malani 5/Davies 2 37' Roundy 5/Davies 2 HALFTIME: BYU 34, NAVY 12: 60' Malani 5/Davies 2 64' Malani 5/Davies 2 68' Mendenhall 5/Davies 2 73' Tilialo 5/Davies 2 FINAL SCORE: BYU 64, NAVY 12
The BYU Rugby program is one of the school's most winning sports teams with just 19 losses in over 20 years. BYU Rugby won the 2009 Collegiate National Championship and has promoted 28 players to All-American status. For more news go to www.byurugby.com.