WILDCATS BEAT AGGIES IN PRESEASON OPENER
nEW mEXICO sTATE 10
Talia Ben-Yosef was one of the standouts in the Wildcats preseason-opening victory. (Photo credits: Josh Pearson)
Oct 3- With a new Head Coach, a new staff, new athletes, and a new season, optimism is high in Tucson as Women's Rugby hits the field for the first time. If Saturday is any indication, they are off to a great start under new Head Coach Tatum Quimby.
While a preseason match, the first step forward for the Women's Rugby program following the retirement of longtime Head Coach Rusty Wortman was a fitting tribute to his legacy, as the side showed great effort in attack, defense, and set piece against New Mexico State.
The Wildcats got on the board early thanks to some direct, fast-paced attack in the Forwards, pushing through the middle of the Aggies' defense to set up Amiyah Smith for a try in the fifth minute which Talia Ben-Yosef converted to make it 7-0. Ben-Yosef, one of the team leaders and key returners for a very young side, got in on the attack herself, making two key line breaks to put the hosts in position to score, with Teo Barney the latest finisher for the Wildcats in the 23rd minute. A late Smith try in the first half made it 19-0 at the break and allowed Quimby the opportunity to rotate athletes and combinations in the Wildcats' first match.
In the second half, the Aggies' attempt at a comeback started to make a dent in the strong Arizona defense, as the scoreline tightened to 19-5 after an early try in the corner. From there it was the Wildcat set piece that began to take hold, with strong scrums and increased pressure in defense forcing turnovers that put the Wildcats in attacking position. Landry Moore was one of those attacking players, touching down after multiple phases in the Aggie 22 to push the lead to 24-5 late in the game. A try a piece for each team very late, including a Wildcat try to end regulation by Sylvia Bruzga secured the 29-10 victory and Quimby's first as Head Coach.
"It was a great opportunity to watch everyone showcase their abilities" said Quimby "we came out of the gate strong and really started to flow as a team. I also want to applaud the returning players for stepping up to fill leadership roles both on and off the pitch." In just her first game as Head Coach, Quimby has new players and familiar ones working hard and relishing the challenge of the new season ahead. "Coach Tatum is a natural. Every practice we are seeing people's Rugby IQ and skill sets growing. The dynamic between Coach Tatum and her staff is great, and she is a great leader. We love how she is helping build connections across the entire Tucson Rugby community" said Ben-Yosef.
The Wildcats now have three weeks until their next preseason clash as Grand Canyon makes the trip to Tucson October 22nd. For a full Arizona preseason schedule, click here.
SCORING VS NMSU
Tries: Smith (2), Barney, Moore, Bruzga
Conversions: Ben-Yosef- 2/5