The Cup Final was as an enthralling encounter as you could have asked for. There were fireworks galore as each team showed how and why they had made it as far as they did in the tournament. The 49ers got things underway scoring the first two tries of the day in rapid succession. With the ring of the ref's whistle for the opening kickoff still reverberating around the stadium, Charlotte was up 14-0. All fourteen points courtesy of fly half and MVP, Michael Basnett. UW Whitewater, however, showed off their championship pedigree and responded to draw the game within two as time was winding down on the first half. In a sign of things to come in the second half the 49ers crossed once more thanks to Basnett to advance the score line to 19-10.
The first few minutes of the second half were back and forth both teams trying to get on the scoreboard and swing the match back to their favor. The 49ers were the team that was able to pounce first, and once they got their first of the second half the flood gates opened and tries were scored in rapid succession, again Basnett was in the thick of it scoring at will and orchestrating his offense to perfection. It was an immense victory for UNC Charlotte, especially considering the caliber of their opposition, UW Whitewater had won the past two 7s national championships as well as the last fifteens championship, they have been dominant in D2. Today's result could signal a changing in the guard.
The road to the final was a straight forward one for both teams. Charlotte was locked in early to a close battle with Principia in the quarterfinals, as at the half they were all tied up. However, as became a motif throughout their tournament the 49ers were dominant in the second half and scored 19 unanswered to break into the semis. Their opponent would be decided by the winner of Bloomsburg and Norwich. It was a tight affair with the scores see-sawing but eventually a missed conversion by Norwich was the difference and Bloomsburg advanced.
For UW Whitewater, they came out on fire and looked as if they had shuck off the rust that was showing a little in the previous day's play. They dominated Old Dominion shutting them out and putting up 6 tries on them. The catalyst in this performance was Alec Treuhardt who used his electrifying pace to break free of those around him and break the game wide open. Their opponent in the semifinal would be determined by the winner of North Carolina State and Hartford. In a hard hitting match, it was tough to tell who was going to win as both teams looked poised to take the lead. In the end, it was North Carolina state who advanced after squeezing by Hartford, 12-0.
In the semifinals, it was clear from the get go which teams were going to advance. The 49ers disposed of Bloomsburg with ease. Bloomsburg did give Charlotte a scare when they got within two points but again in foreshadowing effort, Charlotte blew the doors off and ran in five unanswered tries to book their spot in the Cup Final. UWW didn't have to worry about the game ever getting close in their semifinal. As Treuhardt put the team on his back and ran in five tries in the game including three tries in the space of three minutes. The semifinals indicated that the final would be high scoring and entertaining but few expected it to go the way that it did in the fashion that it did. UNC Charlotte were ecstatic with their win and rightly so. They know that beating a team of UWW's caliber doesn't happen every day.
Men's D2 Finals Results
Shield Final: St. Louis 26-5 North Texas
Bowl Final: William Paterson 26-5 Montana State
Plate Final: Principia 5-0 Hartford
3rd Place: Bloomsburg 17-5 NC State.
Cup Final: UNC Charlotte 38-10 UW Whitewater