Spring Week 2 Recap

D1A Rugby: Spring Week 2 Recap
Photo Credit: Karen Drinkwater
After the long winter break, D1A rugby is finally back with a handful of important west coast matchups. Over the weekend, teams in the PAC and California conferences kicked off regular season action and looked to start off with a bang.

Following an impressive fall 7s showing and preseason, #13 Arizona started its 2018 campaign off strong with a 53-22 victory over D1A independent  Grand Canyon University. Arizona’s offense looked potent in this leadup to PAC conference play, with dynamic back play headed by wing Dante Weeks who put in four tries and scrumhalf Matt Rogers who added two more.

For Grand Canyon University, its difficult independent schedule continues next week with another top opponent in #10 San Diego State.

In a non-conference bout, USC took on UC Santa Barbara. After going 2-3 in conference play last year, UCSB came out strong, defeating the Trojans 42-24. After a back-and-forth first half with each team matching scores, USCB took a 17-14 lead into halftime before tightening its defense and exploiting holes in the USC line to add to the lead. UCSB head coach Tim Lewis saw both positive and negatives from his Gauchos after a productive preseason.

“This was probably the best buildup we’ve had in my six years as coach,” Lewis said. “We don’t have a huge amount of depth, so we tried to build experience into this game. We put in hard work with effective phases that were often followed by lapses in concentration, so we will try to clean that up.”

In another Golden State matchup, #1 St. Mary’s began California conference play against Santa Clara. Coming off a 73-5 win last week against #18 Central Washington, the Gaels continued their early season domination with an 84-0 trouncing of Santa Clara. Though the Gaels suffered a red card just before half, they were able to keep possession and control the pace of the game. Senior Wing Derek Ellingson led the scoring for St. Mary’s with five tries while Charlie Loudon, Brandon Calk, and Tommy Wallace each scored twice.

Next up for the Gaels are two more road games against UC Santa Barbara on January 21st and San Diego State on the 27th.

Teams from both the California and PAC conferences squared off in the Dennis Storer Classic over the weekend. UCLA, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, and UC San Diego travelled to Cal in order to get one last hit out in before regular season play. It was Cal who prevailed after dominating the opposition, and amassing a for and against record of 240-7. The rest of the teams walked away with a mixed bag of results. UCLA and UC Davis both went 1-2 while, Santa Cruz went 2-1.

Cal will face of against Cal Poly next weekend.