SEVENS FINISHES SECOND IN FALL FINALE
Jon Rogers and the Wildcats conclude a strong Fall as the only team to reach the cup final of both major events. (Photo credits: Alex Ho)
Nov 14- Arizona Sevens concluded their Fall this past weekend at Stanford University, reaching the cup final of the PAC-12 championship live on PAC-12 Networks.
Arizona opened their account with a young side taking on the hosts, keeping with the player development theme of the Fall. Sophomore Jack McCrossin opened the scoring with a first minute try before Freshmen Will McCausland and Brendon Paulsen each touched down for a 21-0 halftime lead. Following the break, it was more youngsters showing their progress, as Lucas Agasse, Matthew Start, and McCausland's second rounded out one of the more impressive performances for the program's young players. Final score: Arizona 40-0 Stanford.
In match two, the standouts from the opener continued to shine, as Paulsen and McCausland continued their standout first semester in Tucson. The Freshmen roommates outscored Oregon State 26-0 in the first half, with McCausland's fourth of the day the final notch in the win. Final score: Arizona 45-7 Oregon State.
To finish day one, Arizona took on UCLA with a score to settle from last month's last second Bruins victory over the Wildcats. A change in lineup from the first two matches did not change the tempo, as Zach Heisterkamp's defense and attack helped spur an early lead that set both Jon Rogers and Riley Kerr free for tries. A Matt Rogers score on the stroke of halftime made it 19-0 at the break but it was lockdown defense in the second half that sealed it, as a Joe Sargeant try was enough to secure the pool and a spot in the cup semifinal on day two. Final score: Arizona 24-12 UCLA.
In the cup semifinal against Utah, it was the depth of the roster that would be on display and some late heroics from Jon Rogers. A 7-7 tie at half after solid Utes pressure set the stage for Rogers, Heisterkamp, and Matt Rogers to make the late push and make it 17-7 before a late Utes try closed it to 3. The win punched the Wildcats' ticket to the Cup Final for the third straight year, and set up a showdown with Cal. Final score: Arizona 17-14 Utah.
In the final match of the weekend, the Wildcats were hoping to replicate the result from two weeks prior, when they took down Cal 21-5 at the West Coast Sevens Treasure Island. This time it was the Bears who got revenge, taking advantage of Wildcat mistakes to lead 12-0 early. Despite some valiant efforts by Ben Scoular, Matt Rogers, and others, the 17-0 halftime lead would be too deep, as a Sargeant try was all that the Wildcats could muster in the defeat. Final score: Arizona 7-24 Cal.
For the Wildcats, the result was a disappointing end to an otherwise highly successful Fall campaign in the Sevens format. "We made some big strides, particularly in our young players, but in Sevens you need to play well for 14. We didn't start well against Cal in the final, and that's the big lesson. We'll put a pin in the Sevens right now and pick it back up in May with the big tournaments on the line" said Director of Rugby Sean Duffy. The fall concludes with a 10-2 record and the Wildcats the only side to make the cup final of the two major tournaments on the west coast.
Arizona will now turn their focus to Fifteens, with one preseason match left this weekend and their 2020 season starting in January. Following the Fifteens season, the Wildcats will move back to Sevens for their Championship season.
Scoring vs Stanford
Tries: 6- McCausland (2), McCrossin, Paulsen, Agasse, Start
Conv: Paulsen- 5/6
Scoring vs Oregon State
Tries: 7- McCausland (3), Paulsen (2), Agasse, J. Rogers
Conv: Paulsen- 2/3, J. Rogers- 1/2, Cathala- 1/1, Agasse- 1/1
Scoring vs UCLA
Tries: 4- J. Rogers, Kerr, M. Rogers, Sargeant
Conv: J. Rogeers- 2/4
Scoring vs Utah
Tries: 3- J. Rogers (3)
Conv: J. Rogers- 1/3
Scoring vs Cal
Tries: 1- Sargeant
Conv: J. Rogers- 1/1
PAC Rugby Sevens Championship Roster