CATS FINISH FINAL PREP FOR PHILLY
Lucas Bartzis put in a solid performance for the Wildcats as they prepare for next weekend's championship. (Photo credit: Alex Ho)
May 27- Arizona took the field in their hometown for one last time this weekend, hosting the 63 team USA Rugby College Sevens at Kino Sports Complex. With next weekend's Collegiate Rugby Championship fast approaching, this weekend's matches served as a final audition for the roster next week.
In pool play, Arizona opened strongly against Northeastern, with Center Lucas Bartzis touching down twice in the 38-14 victory. Next up was Arkansas, with the Razorbacks and the Wildcats playing a back and forth match that went the way of the hosts thanks to scores from Kyle Fulton, Louis MacLaughlin, and George Niethammer. With a chance to win the pool, Arizona started well thanks to two Jonah Eldridge tries and held on for the 28-26 victory to win Pool B and advance to Saturday's cup quarterfinals.
On day two, Arizona drew American International College and started well thanks to an Eldridge try, but could not string together the performance needed, dropping a 26-12 game and moving to the Plate Semifinal against Notre Dame College. In need of a bounceback performance, the Wildcats got that and more from Kyle Fulton, with the Sophomore scoring a hat trick and Matthew Start chipping in the deciding score in a 26-22 victory. In the final match of the weekend, Ohio State matched up with Arizona again, and despite a Lucas Agasse score and a late Garrett Walker Try, the Buckeyes evened things up with Arizona and put the Wildcats in 6th to end the weekend.
Despite the 6th place finish, the overall goals were reached for Arizona. "Always nice to win, but like last year, we used this tournament as a hugely valuable weekend for us to develop depth, expose some weaknesses, and pick our very best team for Philly" said Head Coach Sean Duffy. In addition to the on-field growth, Tucson also featured as the tournament hosts, with 63 teams from around the nation descending on the city and Kino Sports Complex providing a first class venue.