Cougars host cats in playoff opener
#4 byu VS #5 arizona
Matteo Berenger and the Wildcats head to Provo for a rematch to open the postseason. (Photo credits: Linda Brothers)
Apr 6- Arizona opens their postseason on Saturday as the 5th-seeded Wildcats take on #4 BYU in Provo. The Wildcats have named a full-strength squad that comes off a bye week, with James Rivers captaining the side from his usual Lock position.
Just two other seniors will be in the team as Hooker Zach Barker and Prop Harry Bluck suit up for what they hope is the start of a long playoff run in their final season in Tucson. In the forwards, the group remains mostly unchanged from the one that shut out #1 Central Washington in the second half of a regular season-ending loss two weeks ago. "This will be a physical game, and our forwards are ready for the challenge. The leadership of our seniors, but also the guys emerging as leaders like Jack Brown, Jack Bresland, and Abe Turpen really set the tone in the trenches and we'll need that against a good BYU side" said Director of Rugby Sean Duffy.
In the backs, the new back three trio of Matteo Berenger, Ted Champion, and Jacob Broselle will get another start. "All three of these guys are dynamic, smart, and fast and we're loving what they are doing together as a group" said Duffy. Antonio Gonzalez is another back three speedster in the reserves that will look to make an impact if called upon.
With one of their deepest squads in recent years, a number of tested reserves are ready including Gonzalez and three first-year Wildcats that continue to impress in both training and matches: Isaac Morrill, Jacob Hall, and Charley Redknapp. With this the biggest game of the year, the Wildcats will need their entire 23 to take down the Cougars. BYU got the better of Arizona during their trip to Tucson in February, but much has changed since, with new personnel and a young team that continues to get better each week.
OPPONENT PREVIEW- BYU
BYU enters the contest at #8 in the national rankings, having put together a season where they won the Rocky Mountain Conference and took down #1 Central Washington. The Cougars defeated the Wildcats in last season's postseason, which the Wildcats will look to avenge this coming Saturday.
Kickoff is at 1 PM MST and can be viewed here.
18- Isaac Morrill
20- Charlie Green
21- Jacob Hall
22- Charley Redknapp
23- Antonio Gonzalez