CATS TAKE DOWN DOWN CAL POLY TO CLOSE REGULAR SEASON
#9 Arizona 35
Cal Poly 30
Sean Coleman and the Wildcats rose to the challenge against Cal Poly and now look ahead to the 2018 playoffs. (Photo credit: Nikki Adams)
March 26- Arizona wrapped up one of their most successful regular seasons in recent years on Saturday at Kino Sports Complex, taking down Cal Poly and likely punching their ticket to the 2018 postseason.
While the Cats would end up on the right end, it was the Mustangs who got things started, working their way downfield for an early penalty to make it 3-0. While a Dante Weeks try in the corner off of a Cal Poly turnover would be an initial response, it was the visitors who took advantage of penalties and touched down twice for a 15-7 lead at halftime. At the break, it was the leadership of players like Captain Kyle Rogers who helped steer the change. "Kyle flexed his leadership muscles at half, got guys back on track, and that made our tactical adjustments easier" said Head Coach Sean Duffy.
The second half saw much more of what has made the Wildcats a top ten team this year, with two Weeks tries to give him a hat trick that were converted by Anton Grigoriou before the young Flyhalf put Rogers through a gap to make it 28-20 with just over twenty minutes left in the game. Another score from Center Tom Molloy made it 35-20 but the Mustangs would not go away, scoring in the 73rd minute to make it 35-27 before hitting an 80th minute drop goal to make it 35-30. From here the Wildcats defense sealed the victory, with impact reserves Kyle Fulton and Chaz Huntsman helping steer some strong defense to seal the win and move the Wildcats to 7-2 on the season. "So proud of the guys and their response in the second half, especially our reserves like Chaz Huntsman and Kyle Fulton who made real impact on this win. A nice step forward in the growth for Anton Grigoriou which is exciting, and Dante Weeks continues to show why he's the best finisher in the country. We win these games because of our experience in Argentina on tour, no doubt in my mind. Best playoff preparation we could ask for" said Duffy. "A special thanks to John Rouff for hosting us at Kino Sports Complex for such a special event for the city of Tucson."
The Wildcats, currently ranked #9 in the country, have put themselves in a strong position for a return to the 2018 playoffs. Arizona's lone loss on US soil to #3 Cal together with impressive wins over ranked sides puts them in position to build on 2017's playoffs where they reached the national semifinal for the first time.
Arizona Second XV also secured a strong win on Saturday, defeating Cal Poly Second XV 52-15 in a total team effort led by hat tricks from Scrumhalf Jonah Eldridge and Flanker Ben Scoular. The Wildcats reserve side will have one final audition for spots in the team's playoff pool in two weeks when they take on New Mexico at Sitton Field.
Scoring vs Cal Poly
Arizona 35-30 San Diego State
Tries: 5- Weeks (3), K. Rogers, Molloy
Conv: Grigoriou- 5/5
Scoring vs Cal Poly Second XV
Arizona 52-15 Cal Poly
Tries: 8- Scoular (3), Eldridge (3), Niethammer, Figley
Conv: Figley- 6/8