Buoyed by three Kelly Serfoss tries the Dolphins ran away 40-26 winners at the Pit this afternoon over the visiting EPA Bulldogs in USA Rugby Round of 32 action.
The Dolphins scored first in the 6th minute. After a long defensive stand the Dolphins struck when scrum half Andy O’Connor put in a nifty box kick. Fullback, Padraig Cremin caught the ball after the first bounce and streaked in for the touchdown. Flyhalf, Mathieu Lesgourgues, sideline conversion was good, 7-0.
Seven minutes later it was #8 Ken Aseme who dotted down under the posts. Aseme was simply in the right spot at the right time. Serfoss made an acrobatic catch in traffic and gained huge yardage before being dragged down. From the ground he offloaded to center Shane Morales who passed to Aseme and glory. The conversion was good, 14-0.
Three minutes after the Aseme try Serfoss dotted down for his first score of the day. Morales had done the hard yards and chewed up lots of real-estate before getting into contact. He was able to offload to Cremin who dished off to Serfoss. Serfoss turned the corner and scored under the posts. Despite the primo location, the kick was missed as it hit the right upright, 19-0.
In the 18th minute it was Captain and lock Aaron Davis who shrugged off several defenders on his 20 yard romp to pay dirt. Davis was only able to play 30 minutes before taking an unfortunate knock on his head, but lead from the front in his time on the field. Lesgourgues made the conversion, 26-0.
After twenty minutes of shock and awe where it seamed that the ball would bounce the Dolphins way all day, hard running and a few Dolphin mistakes kept the visitors in the game. At the 28 minute mark, one of the giant Bulldog forwards smashed over the line for a try, 26-7.
The Dolphin defense held for the rest of the half and looked to extend their lead as the second stanza opened. Morales, charged through the line, pinned his ears back and outpaced the defense on his way to the try zone. Unfortunately, Morales failed to ground the ball, and the Bulldogs seemed to use the gaffe to their advantage and caught their second wind. Using the momentum they’d gained, the visitors in blue scored a well earned try in the 47th minute to close the gap, 26-14.
The Dolphins continued to defend and couldn’t seem to earn the ball back, but Serfoss capitalized in the 54th minute. Getting the ball on the wing with little space, Serfoss chipped the ball into the gap behind the defense, he raced down and collected the ball in front of the fullback, and was able to squeeze out of the tackle to score, 33-14.
EPA was down but not out as they continued to pressure the Dolphin defense. Wave after blue wave of 300 pound man meat slammed into the Dolphin defense. While the home team defended well, the Bulldogs were able to find some chinks in the Dolphin armor and scored in the 62nd and 75th minutes to get the game to within 7 points, 33-26.
The Dolphins regained possession following the restart and wing Sean Pypers chipped over the top of the defense and collected his own kick. As he was getting tackled Pypers offloaded to Serfoss who finished the Dolphins 6th try, 40-26.
The win sees the Dolphins through to Dallas on May 18-19 where they will look to continue their running rugby on the way to the USA Rugby Final 4.
The Anchor Distilling Man-of-the-Match was open side flanker Taylor Manavian who was a menace in every sense of the word today on defense.
Santa Monica- 40
Tries- Aseme, Cremin, Davis, Serfoss 3
Conversions- Lesgourgues 5/6
1-Hill, Daniel; 2-King, Pat (De la Torre @75); 3-Kalemani, Epi; 4-Winter, Zac; 5-Davis, Aaron (Regal @ 30); 6-Woolley, Andrew (Killefer @ 50); 7-Manavian, Taylor (Osborne @ 75); 8-Aseme, Ken (Killefer @ 43, blood; Cohen @ 75); 9-O’Connor, Andrew (Carpio @ 55); 10-Lesgourgues, Mathieu; 11-Serfoss, Kelly; 12-Gibbon, Alan (Milford @ 60); 13-Morales, Shane (Martini @ 60); 14-Pypers, Sean; 15-Cremin, Padraig