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Granite Bay's rise in national rugby rankings is put on hold in NorCal semifinal

By: Bill Poindexter/Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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Granite Bay must wait until next season to resume its climb up the national high school rugby mountain following a 24-20 loss to national power Lamorinda on Saturday in the Northern California Invitational Tournament semifinals at Cherry Island.

“It was a very close, tough match,” Grizzlies coach John Kimble said. “We had a couple of chances to punch the ball in in the closing minutes. Lamorinda had a strong defensive hold against us.”

Key plays by Michael Schmitt and Garrett Marion kept the Grizzlies in the match.
Granite Bay bounced back Sunday to beat Marin 25-7 for third place.

Lamorinda went into the NCIT as the No. 3 team in the national club rankings, according to www.rugbymag.com. Granite Bay was ranked fifth and Marin 11th. The Grizzlies also defeated Dixon, a highly ranked single-school team, in the Kick Off Tournament early this season.

Marin received an invitation to the national tournament. Kimble hopes Granite Bay receives an invitation next season.

“Being a newer program, we weren’t really recognized as a team to be invited to the nationals,” he said. “Sunday was a very good game for us.”

Lamorinda, which draws from Lafayette, Moraga and Orinda, defeated the 16th-ranked Islanders of Sacramento for the championship.