Utah Defense Fuels Win Over Rhode Island in MCLA D-II National Championship


ROUND ROCK, Texas — With its typical stingy defense and opportunistic scoring, Utah rolled to the Division II title over Rhode Island, 13-7, at the 2022 MCLA National Championships presented by New Balance, which was held at the Round Rock Multipurpose Complex.

Utah (14-3) becomes the first program from a varsity school to win the MCLA championship.

The Utes opened the scoring on a Trevor Douglis goal coming on the fast break, but it was quickly answered by Rhode Island (12-3) attackman Jack Duffy on a crease roll.

Cort and Cade Rogers both potted goals for Utah to break the tie and give the Utes a 3-1 lead, but the Rams answered before the end of the first quarter when a shot from Keegan Reilly deflected off a stick and trickled into the net.

The second quarter saw Utah take control of the game.

Douglis converted another fast break 1:27 into the second before Owen Edwards delivered a pair of goals two minutes apart to give Utah a 6-2 edge with under six minutes left in the half.

Rhode Island managed to trim the lead to 6-3 before the break thanks to another Reilly marker.

The Utes opened up the third quarter with another two goals that pushed the lead to 8-3 and effectively ended the game. The lead swelled to as many as eight in the fourth quarter, 13-5, before a couple of late Rams goals led to the 13-7 final.

Like all tournament, the Utah defense was spectacular. Senior close defender Connor Kuhl was awarded the Most Valuable Player of the championship game for his work on the backline.

Edwards and Cade Rogers both finished with three goals and an assist for Utah, while Zach Tripp was solid in net, making 12 saves before being subbed out late.

Reilly finished with four goals to lead the Rams, and Hunter Billings made 11 saves in the loss.


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