Cats run wild in fall opener
Daniel Lopez and the Wildcats ran out to a strong early-season win on Saturday. (Photo credits: Josh Pearson)
October 2- Arizona got their Fall semester underway this past weekend as a young Wildcats' side opened against New Mexico at Sitton Field.
With 21 first-year athletes making their debuts, Arizona coaches would be forgiven for some nerves. "This first-year group has been so bought in and so tight, all we wanted was for them to play hard, maybe play well, and then we build from there" said Director of Rugby Sean Duffy. After a wild first few minutes, it was safe to say that the freshmen would exceed expectations. Jackson Kutcher would open the scoring for the Wildcats, spotting space on the edge and hitting the gap to make it 7-0 Arizona on the first of four tries for the young Winger. Scrumhalf Lucas Smith's dart down the left side helped set up another try, this time by Lock Will Berney to make it 14-0. From there, the Wildcats' attack was able to use their tactical kicking game from Flyhalf Andrew Newell to open things up. At half, the 45-0 score allowed the staff to bring in a number of fresh faces, with impact reserves Otto Hirstius and Kieran Quinn also getting tries of their own in the comprehensive victory to open the Fall.
For the Wildcats, getting off to a 1-0 start is a great first step on what is going to be a challenging Fall semester. "We are first off thankful to New Mexico. We consider them our neighbors and we look forward to working with them over these next few years. The score-line flatters us a bit, we got some lucky bounces, but this is a hard-working group that's already showing signs that they're ready to compete at the college level. Our older guys watched with excitement from the stands and now we put them all back together for what we know will be a good San Diego State side next week" said Duffy.
Arizona will host the Aztecs next Saturday at Sitton Field with some of the Arizona veterans set to make their season debuts. For the Wildcats' full schedule, click here.
Arizona 94-3 New Mexico
Tries: 14- Kutcher (4), Kemp (2), Berney, Jaffe, Rohrsheim, Lopez, Enegren, Quinn, Williams, Beatty
Conversions: Newell- 7/10; B. Liddell- 0/4