ARIZONA WINS THIRD STRAIGHT AS ALUMNI WEEKEND BRINGS CATS BACK TO CAMPUS
#11 Arizona 50
Wing Jeremy Fleet was superb on Saturday, scoring a hat trick in front of a packed house at Sitton Field. (Photo Credits: Henry O'Keefe)
Feb 12- Arizona returned to action on Saturday as they welcomed Grand Canyon University to Tucson while also welcoming their alumni for the 2017 Alumni Weekend celebration.
The Wildcats got on the scoreboard early with some strong attacking play, as Wing Jeremy Fleet got what was a special day for him started with a try in the sixth minute to make it 5-0 Arizona. Ben Joseph continued his strong stretch of play with a try seven minutes later before the play of the half, a fantastic attacking stretch by the Wildcats off of a kickoff that led to PAC Player of the Month Ryan Fitzpatrick touching down to make it 15-0 for the home side. A GCU try was responded to quickly by Center Luke Thayer, who slotted two conversions in his first start to make it 21-5. Fleet continued his big impact, touching down just before halftime to make it 26-5. While the Wildcats were obviously happy to be on the right end of the scoreboard at halftime, the coaching staff set out to improve upon some sloppy mistakes in the second period. "I think we were inconsistent to say the least in the first half" said Head Coach Sean Duffy "we set out to be a bit more clinical in the second and clean up some of the mistakes."
In the second half the Wildcats accomplished that, putting together some strong phase play and taking advantage of some astute tactical kicking. The beneficiaries of the visits inside the Lopes' 22 were Sean Coleman, Steven Branham, and Fleet, with the backbreaking three try surge in a five minute stretch. Fleet's hat trick is the first of his career, and a great sign for the young Center/Wing from San Diego. Tyler Hansen capped off the scoring with a quick tap penalty to make it 50-12 and secure the third straight win for the Wildcats.
The victory had special significance as it took place in front of a large crowd at Sitton Field, with the program's 48th anniversary celebrations taking place. The weekend featured the 18th Annual Dave Sitton Strong & Tough Golf Tournament along with the 1st Annual Arizona Rugby Hall of Fame Celebration where former Coach Mike Veth was inducted. "We told all of our guys what this weekend was about and we're thrilled to be able to get a win in front of our alumni" said Head Coach Sean Duffy "our players are all grateful for those that have come before them and they know they are able to do what they do because of those who blazed the trail in our rich history." Players from many generations were on hand to congratulate Coach Veth and family and the Wildcats look forward to continuing this tradition in the years to come.
Arizona now embarks on a three game road stretch, starting with this weekend's matchup with #19 San Diego State on Saturday.
Tries: Fleet (3), B. Joseph, Fitzpatrick, Coleman, Branham, Hansen
Conversions: Thayer- 2/8
Penalties: Thayer- 2/2