BOULDER, Colo. – Given the return of six AIG Men’s Collegiate All-Americans from last year’s D1A National Championship team, less well-known commodities of Saint Mary’s No. 2-ranked side can get lost in the mix. However, if D1A’s Player of the Week, Mike McCarthy, continues to play as he did against Santa Clara, it will be difficult for the fly half to hide from the headlines going forward.
Deserving a rest after a grueling spring season of matches, standout center Dylan Audsley was held out of Saint Mary’s April 11 game against the Broncos. With Audsley sitting on the pine and Head Coach Tim O’Brien mixing up combinations on the afternoon, McCarthy replaced his usual No. 10 jersey for the No. 12 shirt, and responded with two tries and 26 total points.
“From the first second I saw Mike I thought he was a natural,” recalled O’Brien of the sophomore. “Natural in the way he carried the ball, held the ball, passed and received the ball – he’s smooth as silk.”
After a rough start to 2015, by Saint Mary’s standards, the progression of McCarthy and scrum half Holden Yungert have been a brig reason why the Gaels are back in familiar water – undefeated California Conference Champions, and poised to make a run at another National Championship.
“He’s not blessed with significant size or speed, but Mike’s pursuit of greatness keeps him a step or two ahead of his rivals,” O’Brien explained. “College rugby needs more players like Mike McCarthy.”
The Business major from San Francisco won’t take the pitch this weekend, as Saint Mary’s has earned a Round 1 bye in the D1A Playoffs, but expect McCarthy to make an impact when the Gaels play the winner of Cal Poly versus Utah.