ROGERS AND SAN PIETRO HELP CATS RETAIN PARSEGHIAN CUP
#15 Arizona 62
Notre Dame 12
Jack San Pietro's hat trick helped Arizona to their third straight victory on Saturday.
Mar 13- Arizona looked to head in to spring break with a spring in their step but faced a test against Notre Dame on Saturday, with the Fighting Irish traveling to Tucson for the fifth annual Parseghian Cup.
The early minutes of the match were marked by some strong phase play by Arizona, with the momentum finally paying off in the 11th minute when Kyle Rogers threw a dummy that opened a gap for the first of two tries in the half by the captain on his way to a hat trick. Ten minutes later it was the Fullback Jack San Pietro who made his presence felt, scoring the first of his own three tries, giving the home side a 19-0 lead going in to the break.
Despite the lead, the Wildcats looked to ramp up the execution in the second half, a sentiment echoed in the team huddle. "Usually at halftime we end our talk with a 'finish.' Today when I walked away it was 'execute.' I didn't ask them to do that, but I credit Kyle Rogers for deciding that was what was needed." said Head Coach Sean Duffy. Execute was the apt word for the Wildcats in the second half, with a 19 point burst in the first eight minutes of the half putting the match out of reach, as Centers Luke Thayer and Ben Joseph got in on the scoring along with San Pietro's second of the day. The play of the day had to come from Wing Dante Weeks, with the speedster taking advantage of some great counterattack and scoring a backbreaking try that made it 52-12. Not to be outdone, reserve Shane Dempsey bowled over an Irish defender on the way to a try of his own before Rogers capped off the scoring and made the final entry of the day for the Wildcats.
The win secured a 7-2 record for Arizona going in to spring break, and means the Parseghian Cup will remain in Tucson for the fifth straight year. In addition, the match and preceding dinner raised funds for the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation, with just under $30,000 raised on the weekend to fight Niemann Pick Type C disease. "We're honored to join with Notre Dame and the Parseghian Foundation on this cause, and we look forward to raising more funds in future to find a cure for this disease. On the field, proud of how we put together a more complete performance and it was great to see guys like Kyle Rogers and Jack San Pietro get some rewards for all the hard work they're putting in" said Duffy.
Arizona Second XV also continued their hot streak, scoring a 57-0 victory over Notre Dame Second XV to remain undefeated on the season. They will also head in to spring break with momentum and look to end their season in April with challenging fixtures against New Mexico and Northern Arizona University.
Tries: San Pietro (3), K. Rogers (2), M. Rogers, Thayer, B. Joseph, Weeks, Dempsey
Conversions: Thayer- 5/9, M. Rogers- 1/1