LOCKDOWN WILDCATS SHOW WELL IN TREASURE ISLAND
Ben Scoular and the Wildcats went 5-1 on the weekend in their final tuneup for PAC-12 Championships. (Photo credit: Alex Ho)
October 22- Arizona Sevens continued their preseason this weekend in San Francisco, traveling to the West Coast Sevens on Treasure Island with eyes on claiming a title on their way to next month's PAC-12 Championships.
Arizona opened the weekend with UC-Santa Cruz, a new opponent for the Wildcats with some new faces in their own lineup also making their debuts. Kyle Fulton scored the first try of his career in the first half, one of four by the Wildcats to jump out to a 26-0 lead that they would not relinquish. Second half scores by Lucas Bartzis, Robert Figley, and Lou MacLaughlin finished off the Banana Slugs and moved the Wildcats to 1-0 with a 43-0 victory.
In their second match of the day against University of San Diego, Joe Sargeant continued his strong form, touching down in the first minute for the second straight match but the Wildcats had to rely on their defense, holding a 12-0 lead at halftime. In the second half, some adjustments and a bit of patience resulted in 26 points, led by Riley Kerr's first career try and second tries of the match from Sargeant and Walker. The 38-0 victory and continued defensive dominance was a theme that would serve the Wildcats well moving ahead.
Arizona closed the day with a showdown against UC-Davis, with Pool C on the line and the Wildcats hoping to continue to grow each match. Doubles from Rogers, Walker, and Sargeant spurred the Wildcats to a 45-7 victory and secured the pool, slotting them in to the cup quarterfinals on day two.
Arizona opened day two with a cup quarterfinal against Cal Maritime, with the upstart Keelhaulers finishing second in Pool B. Making his presence felt to kick off day two was Vice Captain Ben Scoular, with the double from the Hooker and tries by Rogers, Kerr, Fulton, and MacLaughlin advancing the Wildcats to the cup semifinal with a 40-0 victory.
In the cup semifinal, Arizona took on Cal, with both squads taking a look at players but having an eye on each other following Arizona's victory over the Bears in last year's PAC-12 final. A quick penalty and try by the Bears got them going but it was the captain Matt Rogers who responded, touching down twice to send the teams in at half tied 10-10. The Wildcats took their first lead with an 8th minute try by Prop Fabian Lumsden before the Bears responded with their own, making it 17-15 with little time left. Despite possession in the Bears' 22, the Wildcats were unable to punch it in, sending them to the third place match against Cal Poly.
Arizona set out to close the weekend on a high, and got started early with one of the stars of the weekend Joe Sargeant scoring early and late. The young Center's double along with tries by Heisterkamp, MacLaughlin, and James Karton's first career score earned the Wildcats a 27-7 victory to end the weekend 5-1. Sargeant's seventh try of the weekend gave him the team lead for the weekend and the preseason, a great step for the Freshman.
Despite the loss in the semifinal, Head Coach Sean Duffy was thrilled with the growth in the past two weeks since their first tournament. "We always want to win, but our goal with these two tournaments was to rotate players and grow our talent pool heading in to next month's championships. We accomplished that, and unearthed some gems along the way that will benefit from this experience not just next month but also this coming Fifteens season and beyond. We felt the true cup final of the tournament was our match in the semifinal, and we look forward to putting our best foot forward next month."
The Wildcats have a bye next week before traveling to Berkeley for the 2018 PAC Rugby Sevens Championships where they hope to defend their title and will do so on the national stage of the PAC-12 Network.
Game 1 vs UC-Santa Cruz
Tries: Sargeant, Heisterkamp, Fulton, M. Rogers, Bartzis, Figley, MacLaughlin
Conv: M. Rogers- 3/4, Figley- 1/3
Game 2 vs San Diego
Tries: Sargeant (2), Walker (2), Kerr, Lumsden,
Conv: Walker- 3/4, Figley- 1/2
Game 3 vs UC-Davis
Tries: M. Rogers (2), Sargeant (2), Walker (2), Figley
Conv: M. Rogers- 4/5, Figley- 1/2
Cup Quarterfinal vs Cal Maritime
Tries: Scoular (2), Rogers, Kerr, Fulton, MacLaughlin
Conv: M. Rogers- 2/3, Figley- 3/3
Cup Semifinal vs Cal
Tries: Rogers (2), Lumsden
Conv: M. Rogers- 0/3
Third Place Match vs Cal Poly
Tries: Sargeant (2), Heisterkamp, Karton, MacLaughlin
Conv: Figley- 1/5
West Coast Sevens- Treasure Island
-Rogers, Matt (C)
-Scoular, Ben (VC)