Cal Poly Makes Strong Start to Fall Friendlies

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Cal Poly Rugby Club has made a successful start to the Fall 15s season, winning in all grades against Fresno State in Fresno yesterday (Sat 10/28).

The women’s team, in only its second year of existence, won a competitive match by 6 tries to 3 against a deep and talented Fresno St team. A number of ladies played their first games of rugby and made very impressive starts. The veteran players such as Captain Liz Segars, halfback Rylee Birdsall, lock Elena Strom and flyhalf Kellie Cochran provided enough leadership and direction to allow the new girls to learn the game and make big improvements within the match. Despite limited preparation, the team’s defense was impressive, and the lineout was highly effective. Flanker Sidney Swney was outstanding, making numerous line-breaks and scoring two tries. Halfback Rylee was active in attack and defense, and poached several balls from Fresno players. Women’s President Jessica May regularly hit her lineout targets with highly accurate throwing. To place this win in perspective, the women’s team traveled to Fresno for the same match this time 12 months ago, and conceded almost 100 points in a mismatched loss. The ladies are seeing the results of much hard work.

Cal Poly Women’s 32 (Sidney Swney 2, Alyson Martin 2, Cassidy Butler, Elena Strom tries) def Fresno State 17.

Cal Poly men’s fielded a relatively inexperienced A Grade side. With the Sevens squad players unavailable for the weekend, many Freshmen and Sophomores filled out the A grade jerseys, and did so very capably. Coach Tesoriero asked his team for ball-security and width in attack and communication in defense, and was pleased with the way his team responded. “Friendly matches at this time of year are more about process than results, but we always keep an eye on the scoreboard to track our progress. Both the score and performance were pleasing. We were able to starve Fresno of possession, and the weight of possession allowed our attack to find its rhythm”. Bobby Kaehms was exceptional at center, providing a mix of playmaking and ball running, and scoring twice. Captain Eddie McFarland provided the team with composure and experience in addition to his typically bruising play. Second year flanker Jacob Rossner was surprisingly effective, showing the benefits of a big offseason, and rookie flyhalf Kirt Achterman carried over the great form he displayed in recent Sevens tournaments, and looks to be a very positive addition to the squad.

Cal Poly A Grade 49 (Bobby Kaehms 2, James Zanoli, Matt Hansel, Jerod Adams, Jasper Stone, Matt Hazelwood, Kirt Achterman tries, Penalty try) def Fresno State 10

The B Grade lineup was a truly inexperienced group, matched against a similarly raw Fresno St team. A number of players from both teams played their first rugby in this match. Our team also included several more experienced rookies, such as halfback Satchell Collins and flyhalf Kevin McNally, both of whom were exceptional in this match. Outside of these two, centers Andrew Jarboe and Malcolm Smith-Fraser had time, space and quality possession with which to operate, and each took advantage. The big men set the platform for this win, however. Powerful prop Matthew Salinas had a breakout game, punching big holes in the defense with his ball carries, and reminding some of former A grade prop Mickey O’Crowley. Fellow big men Ryan Sparks, Matt Kirby and Josh Hansell set the platform for this win with high work-rates and quality involvements. “Today we unearthed some new talent”, said coach Tesoriero. “It is always pleasing to see new guys entering the program and showing such athleticism and abilities. Today we saw a glimpse of the club’s future in our B grade match, and it is very exciting”.

Cal Poly B Grade 38 def Fresno State 10