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