By Dave Redden
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Kentucky faced South Carolina in the second of two semi finals in the Southeastern Collegiate Rugby Conference on Saturday.
The Wildcats opened the game on the front foot as they scored the first three tries to open up a 19-0 lead within 11 minutes of kickoff. That lead had been extended to 33-7 at the half.
Kentucky felt comfortable enough to use six of their eight substitutions early in the second half and that decision almost cost them the game as South Carolina powered their way back to create a nail-biting final ten minutes for the traveling Wildcat fans.
Bryce Reardon scored in the 59th minute to push Kentucky out to a 38-17 lead only to see the Gamecocks score two converted tries in the final ten minutes to pull the score back to 38-31. Kentucky was able to hold off a spirited final attack by the Gamecocks to claim the win.
Tries from Dom DeGeronimo, Brendon Esson, Anthony Mencini, Jacob Goeppner, Logan Butler and Reardon all crossed for Kentucky tries while Esson added four conversions from his six attempts.
The Wildcats will face Alabama in Sunday’s final as the Crimson Tide fought back from a 14-0 deficit at the half against Tennessee to win 21-17 in another tight affair.
Kentucky moved to 6-1 on the season with the win, and will try to improve that record and become SCRC champions in back-to-back seasons.