CATS TAKE LESSONS FROM ROAD DRAW

Arizona 28-28 Grand Canyon

 

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Zach Barker was a standout for the Wildcats, scoring his second try in two games. (Photo credits: Isaiah Willhoite)

Feb 7- Arizona traveled to Phoenix on Saturday for their first road test, taking on #17 Grand Canyon in a non-conference matchup. The Wildcats started well, with Flyhalf Robert Figley setting up Wing Jacob Broselle on a cross kick try that put the visitors ahead 7-3. The Arizona lineout then began to exert pressure on the Lopes, and ultimately capitalized with a maul in the right corner that sent Flanker Jack McCrossin over for his first try of the season and a 14-10 lead. A GCU penalty tightened things up before another Arizona maul, this time with Hooker Zach Barker at the back, touched down to give the Cats a 21-13 lead going in to the break.

The second half, like last week against the Bruins, was a tight, well-contested 40 minutes that made it clear that College Rugby is back after a COVID-19 hiatus. Despite multiple forays into the Lopes' 22, the Wildcats could not convert, and pressure from GCU created scoring opportunities that got the home crowd in to the game. A third try off a maul, this time a penalty try made it 28-13 before a GCU response closed it to 28-20. Another GCU try, this time taking advantage of an Arizona penalty made it 28-25 with little time left. Then a turnover by the Lopes created a difficult shot at goal that was hit, tying the game giving the Wildcats one more chance to seal the win and move to 2-0 on the year. Unfortunately for the visitors, that opportunity was not to be and the draw puts the Cats at 1-0-1 on the year. 

Despite the many standouts, what stood out more to the Wildcats was the lost opportunities and the lack of care for possession. "Disappointed, but it's early and we know these types of lessons are huge. Missing guys like Jon Rogers and a few others hurt, but you go in to every game expecting a level of decision making and execution that just wasn't there" said Director of Rugby Sean Duffy. "I'm also disappointed in the approach to the game from some outside of our group. I think some coaches conflate emotion with caring. I don't feel the need to inject what's already a pretty exciting sport with additional drama. We're focused on our development each day, and using this sport to teach life lessons. Trying to goad me or our athletes in to something that goes against that mission is a waste of their time."

The Wildcats head into a well-deserved bye week before welcoming Cal to Sitton Field on February 19th.

Scoring vs GCU

Tries- 4- Broselle, McCrossin, Barker, Penalty Try

Conversions- Figley- 4/4

ROSTER vs GCU

1- Seamus McCarthy

2- Zach Barker

3- Harry Bluck

4- Jack Brown

5- James Rivers (C)

6- Jack McCrossin

7- EJ Freeman

8- Carter Clarke

9- George O'Brien

10- Robert Figley

11- Jacob Broselle

12- Lucas Agasse

13- Matthew Start

14- Kyle Fulton

15- Ted Champion

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16- Cameron Blair

17- Caeden Chase

18- Dalton Slaughter

19- Aidan Hendry

20- Tyler Heer

21- Maxime Cathala

22- Solomon Hutchings

23- Ian Furst