WILDCATS TAKE HOME PLATE IN CRC WARM UP
Ryan Hudson had a stellar weekend for the Wildcats, scoring a number of key tries in the team's final tuneup before the Collegiate Rugby Championship. (Photo credit: Alex Ho)
May 21- Arizona completed their final warm up tournament of the year this weekend, competing in the USA Rugby College Sevens Championships at Infinity Park. Slotted in Pool C, the Wildcats had a strong day one and showed great progress on day two to take home the plate in this year's event.
DAY ONE- CATS CRUISE IN POOL C
Arizona opened the College Sevens with Nevada, and it was the Wolpack who got the edge early, jumping to a 12-7 lead at halftime. Matt Rogers made his presence felt for the Wildcats, scoring twice and hitting a number of tough conversions to push Arizona ahead 26-12 and finish a 19-7 second half showing to move them to 1-0.
In game two, Arizona focused on starting well and certainly did so against Florida International, as Jonah Eldridge's first minute try and a double by Ryan Hudson sent the teams to the break at 24-0 Arizona. In the second half, some stout defense and George Niethammer's second try of the game ended a 31-0 performance and put the young speedster from Sacramento in the books for his first two career Sevens tries.
Game three featured the Wildcats and fellow in-state side Grand Canyon with the Lopes hoping to play the role of underdog. Ryan Hudson and Matt Rogers pushed the Wildcats to an early lead and while the Lopes threatened, some impact minutes from Kyle Rogers setting up a Jon Rogers try put the nail in the coffin and clinched the pool for the Wildcats with a 22-12 victory.
DAY TWO- CATS FALL TO KUTZTOWN, POWER TO PLATE OVER INDIANA
As Pool C winners the Wildcats drew Kutztown in the Cup Quarterfinal to start day two, responding to an early try with a Hudson score to make it 7-5 early in the half. A tough try by the Bears to end the half gave them momentum and it was the Pennsylvania school that would continue that surge, scoring two more tries to advance to the Cup Semifinal and send the Wildcats to the plate bracket against Arkansas.
In the plate semifinal against Arkansas, Head Coach Sean Duffy continued the theme of rotating selections to give multiple players opportunities to impress. In the plate semifinal, a slow start was culminated in a massive team try, with Fabian Lumsden touching down for his first sevens try to end a 19-14 victory and punch the Wildcats' ticket to the plate final against Indiana.
In the plate final, the Wildcats found themslves matched up against a side they will see in this year's Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship, Big Ten champions Indiana. With hardware on the line it was the Hoosiers who struck first which Jon Rogers responded to, with fellow Freshman Niethammer putting him through for a long try to give Arizona a 7-5 lead. A Sinclair Clinton try just before half made it 14-5 but it was stout defense that sealed the win, as Indiana scored to make it 14-12 and the Cats held on to take home the plate and finish the weekend 5-1.
"Overall a good weekend for us, we're excited to have such a great opportunity like this to test players and combinations and while we have work to do still, I'm really pleased with where we are and the mental approach to things these guys have right now." said Duffy. The Wildcats will resume training before traveling to Philadelphia next week for the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship on ESPN Networks June 2-3.
Game one vs Nevada
Arizona 26-19 Nevada
Tries: M. Rogers (2), Scoular, Walker
Conv: M. Rogers- 3/4
Game two vs FIU
Arizona 31-0 FIU
Tries: Hudson (2), Niethammer (2), Eldridge
Conv: Eldridge- 3/4
Game three vs GCU
Arizona 22-12 GCU
Tries: Hudson, M. Rogers, Scoular, J. Rogers
Conv: Eldridge- 1/2, M. Rogers- 0/2
Cup quarterfinal vs Kutztown
Arizona 7-29 Kutztown
Conv: Eldridge- 1/1
Plate semifinal vs Arkansas
Arizona 19-14 Arkansas
Tries: Clinton, Figley, Lumsden
Conv: J. Rogers- 1/3
Plate final vs Indiana
Arizona 14-12 Indiana
Tries: J. Rogers, Cliton
Conv: J. Rogers- 2/2