FALL SCHEDULE SET: ONE WEEK UNTIL KICKOFF
PJ Coco and the Wildcats are gearing up for a big Fall semester. (Photo credits: Catherine Regan)
Sept 28- Arizona announced their Fall schedule today, with a beefed-up calendar of Fifteens and Sevens in store for the first semester.
Coming off of the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2022 season, the Wildcats knew there was one thing needed more than anything to help them take the next step: games. "Spring is the primary focus. But we must have a great preseason before we get there. With so many athletes locked down during the pandemic, and some things we wanted to change for the Fall, we needed games. What's been great to see is the number of schools that feel the same, and can play not just one but two sides so that we can really give everyone that opportunity" said Director of Rugby Sean Duffy.
These opportunities will kick off next weekend, as Utah Valley travels to Tucson for the first match of the 2022 Fall Friendly Series. The meeting will be the first in many years between the programs, and also be a feature of the university's Family Weekend celebration.
Later in October, Northern Arizona will travel to Tucson for the latest match in that series. The Lumberjacks are steadily improving, giving the Wildcats another in-state opponent to regularly play. "Love what NAU is building, and their staff is doing a great job in a school where it's very much a community that loves their Rugby. The state's three flagship schools are taking massive steps forwards institutionally every year and Rugby, both Men's and Women's, is going to be a great part of that in the coming years. Love to have like-minded schools, teams, and coaches dedicated to growing the game in our backyard" said Duffy.
To close out the Fall, the Wildcats will renew a long-standing series with San Diego State on the road in November. The fixture was a regular occurrence for a number of years that now looks to be back on the schedule.
The Arizona Sevens squad will also get their preseason underway this Fall, with a team of mostly returners from last year's run to the national quarterfinals returning to Tucson. After a two year hiatus, the West Coast Sevens at Treasure Island will return to the collegiate scene October 22-23 in San Francisco. Webcast details for the event are set to be released shortly.
After a three week break, the team will finish the Fall with the PAC-12 Sevens Championships, set for Stanford University November 12-13 on PAC-12 Network.
The Wildcats have assembled in Tucson for an important first few months of school, with over 70 athletes from around the world in a daily training environment. The team as a whole looks to take the next step in 2023, with attendance at Sitton Field hitting a new high last year and the Wildcats' self-produced broadcast network smashing expectations in just its first season.
For the Wildcats' full schedule, click here.