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gaels push past wildcats




Matteo Berenger and the Wildcats will look to rebound this after their first loss of the regular season. (Photo credits: Patrick Mulligan)

January 31- In a match up of two top eight sides, the Wildcats traveled to the Bay Area for the first regular season contest against Saint Mary's in over ten years. Having last faced the Gaels in the 2017 national semifinal, the Wildcats were looking to measure their progress and build on last week's victory over Washington.


Starting well on the road in college rugby is a must, and this time the Gaels got the upper hand early, slicing through for an early line break that they converted to make it 5-0 in the first few minutes. Saint Mary's would add another score on turnover ball, a theme for the day as the 4th ranked team in the nation made the Wildcats pay for mistakes. "You just can't start like we did. Even though we have experienced guys, the pressure and the desire to perform can make you force things, and when you do that to a good side, they can make you pay" said Director of Rugby Sean Duffy. At 10-0 the Wildcats would start to get back into things, using their strong scrum and a better defensive effort to put themselves into the Gaels' half. A well-worked move on first phase between EJ Freeman, Matteo Berenger, and Jacob Broselle made it 10-5 in the 14th minute on a 50 meter line break, the first try on the season for the 7s All American and recently named vice captain. A penalty to the Wildcats deep in their own half just after the ensuing kickoff created a chance to relieve pressure, but a missed kick for touch by was all the opportunity a squad like Saint Mary's would need, barreling back into the Wildcats' 22 and soon breaking the Arizona defense to make it 17-5. From there, the Wildcats began to claw their way back, working their way into the Gaels' 22 three times, but only coming away with points once. Saint Mary's would take advantage of another error, this time intercepting a pass and taking it back for the score to make it 22-5. Arizona would work their way into the Gaels' half and continue their improvement, scoring off of a well-worked maul when Mattox King's hard line made it 22-10. Point before and after the halftime break have a way of impacting matches greatly, and this time the Gaels took advantage, ripping a line break into the Wildcats' defense and supporting well to make it 27-10 forty minutes in.

Halftime adjustments helped settle things down for the Wildcats, but the theme of the day was lost opportunities and a strong Saint Mary's attack. Turnover ball and the ensuing Saint Mary's onslaught would prove too much, and a late Jacob Hall try off a Tucker Johnstone offload was all that the Wildcats could muster on the road, falling 48-15 and hand the side their first 1st XV loss of the year and a lesson on cherishing opportunities. "This was a great opportunity for us to measure our progress. You wonder what the game is like if we start better and just be a little bit sharper in our execution. I'm encouraged by not only our fight for 80, but also our impact reserves that came on and played well. We were able to slow the onslaught but it was too little too late. Credit to Saint Mary's they are a well coached side with great athletes and if we take care of business, we may see them again and get another crack at this." said Duffy.

Arizona 2nd XV also made the trip, and started well on the road but fell 17-10 to Saint Mary's 2nd XV. The Wildcats will look to rebound this coming week as they make another trip west to take on University of San Diego. 

For the Wildcats full schedule click here


Tries: 3- Broselle, King, Hall

Conversions: Berenger- 0/2, Hall- 0/1


1. Seamus McCarthy

2. Cameron Blair

3. Dalton Slaughter

4. Joey Lewis

5. Aidan Hendry

6. Jack Brown- C

7. Abe Turpen

8. Jack Bresland

9. George O'Brien

10. Seth Catchpole

11. Antonio Gonzalez

12. Mattox King

13. EJ Freeman

14. Jacob Broselle

15. Matteo Berenger


16- Tucker Johnstone

17- Caeden Chase

18- Liam Swanson

19- Pacific Smiley

20- Andreas Andersson

21- Jacob Hall

22- Will Rohrsheim

23- Mike McWilliams

2nd XV vs Saint Mary's 2nd XV

1. Logan Able

2. Henry Langrish

3. Lucas Holton

4. Jacob Jaffe

5. Harry Hobson

6. Tanner DeMassa

7. Troy Norman

8. Aiden Kemp

9. Lucas Smith

10. PJ Enegren

11. Daniel Lopez

12. Thomas Figley

13. Mike McWilliams

14. Jackson Kutcher

15. Connor McCormick


16. Aidan McCarthy

17. Jack Kerrigan

18. Charles Williams

19. Liam Parker

20. Kent Gamble

21. Otto Hirstius

22. Max Tenery

23. Kieran Quinn

24. Fletcher Popp

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