CAL POLY DEFENDS HOME TURF AT WC7S SLO TOURNAMENT

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The Cal Poly Rugby Club enjoyed a very successful home tournament in the first of two West Coast Sevens events. The club entered two teams, competing as Cal Poly in the Division 1 competition, and as Mustangs in Division 2. Both teams enjoyed highly successful tournaments, finishing a combined 6 wins and 1 loss in front of a large cohort of alumni, including most of the famed 1977 Cal Poly team.

Enjoying the strong home support, the Mustangs started with comfortable first up wins against the Gauchos (USCB B) and Broncos (Santa Clara B) teams in the Div 2 competition, scoring 9 combined tries and entertaining the home crowd. The final Div 2 match was far more competitive, facing a tough and athletic Claremont team. In the match’s closing moments Claremont led 17-12 with an attacking lineout deep in Mustangs territory. The Mustangs stole this lineout, fed Bill Campuzano for a midfield break and a try assist to James Zanoli, who ran 60m to score a game-tying try. Bobby Kaehms cooly iced the winning conversion to secure a 19-17 win and an undefeated day for the development team. Coach TJ Olsen praised the depth in the program and identified Chip Jones, Jake Heene, Matt Hansell and Justin Lego as standouts for the Mustangs.

Div 2 Results
Match 1- Mustangs 26 def UCSB 0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaEDTyzWRmA&feature=youtu.be
Match 2- Mustangs 31 def Santa Clara 0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoAo4TCSRJI&feature=youtu.be
Match 3- Mustangs 19 def Claremont 17 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPVqLUpMFQU&feature=youtu.be

In the top division, Cal Poly were drawn in a difficult pool, alongside a dangerous Fresno St and the powerful Cal. The Poly team was clinical and disciplined in their first pool match against Fresno, dominating possession with conservative attacking play. Off the back off this possession advantage, and displaying excellent conditioning, Poly scored multiple tries late in both halves for a comfortable 32-10 win. Next up in pool play was Cal. To beat an elite opponent, mistakes needed to be minimized an a complete performance required. Poly was unfortunately short of this standard at kickoff and the breakdown, which proved the difference in the teams, Cal winning 31-7.

With a win and a loss from pool play, Cal Poly qualified for the Plate Semi-Final against a tricky UCSB team. The two teams had played ‘friendlies’ the week prior, and only a golden point try gave us the win on this occasion. An early kick and chase from rookie Spencer Bazar set up Connor Miller for the first Cal Poly try. A second try seemed certain until a dropped ball led to a 90m UCSB breakout score. A quick tap and quick recycling led to Connor Miller’s second try of the half. Cal Poly regained the kickoff following the Miller try, were awarded another penalty and again quick tapped for a score, to take a 19-7 lead into the half time break. UCSB scored first in the second half, and at 19-12 late in the the game, the match was tight and tense. Alex Wormer stole ball from a UCSB ruck and scored a long-range try to provide some breathing room for a 26-12 win.

The team was thrilled to qualify for the Plate Final, yet understood the job was not yet finished. Despite both teams playing their fourth matches of the day, the first half was played at a high tempo, with few whistles and stoppages. The UC Davis defense proved difficult to unlock, until four consecutive offloads in contact led to a Brandon Puccini try. The second try came easier, Connor Miller dancing through the defense to score for 14-0 lead. A UC Davis try before the halftime break and two more after, gave Davis a slim 15-14 lead, however Davis missing all three conversions would prove significant. With the game in the balance, Alex Wormer again stepped up with the decisive play. Wormer made a long break down the sideline, was held in contact and threw a spectacular reverse flick pass to rookie Spencer Bazar, who sidestepped a defender to score the Plate-winning try.

Alex Wormer was brilliant throughout the day, providing leadership, playmaking and veteran decision-making. When a big play was needed to get us out of a hole, Wormer was at his best. Rookies Pat Madden and Spencer Bazar continue to impress in their early involvements with the club. Connor Miller was also a top performer, scoring numerous individual tries through the day.

Div 1 Results
Pool Match 1- Cal Poly 32 def Fresno St 10 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6nuxlYbUvU&feature=youtu.be

Pool Match 2- Cal 31 def Cal 7  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8huYCUkyAE&feature=youtu.be

Plate Semi Final- Cal Poly 26 def UCSB 12 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOy5rKm8FhY&feature=youtu.be

Plate Final- Cal Poly 19 def UC Davis 15 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvLJoycOY6w&feature=youtu.be

Cal Poly will take great confidence into the second West Coast 7s event in Treasure Island on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd of October. We hope to see all our supporters, family and alumni at SFGG for this tournament.

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