The Mustangs enjoyed a very successful home match-day (Sat 12/2) against a talented and competitive Long Beach State club, winning all three grades.
The Cal Poly attack was on full display in A Grade, resulting in nine tries and some highly entertaining rugby. Coach Tesoriero asked his team for width, depth, and variety in attack, and was pleased with the way his team complied. “We are always trying to find a balance between playing expansive rugby and respecting possession to minimize turn-overs. We didn’t always get that balance right today, but when our attack clicked it looked great. The attacking interplay between our forwards is something that has built out of familiarity, and keys guys playing together for a number of years. Seniors Eddie McFarland, Connor Cudeback, Sal Guevara and Jake Heene all broke the line at different times, and also threw passes to lead team-mates into line breaks”.
Once again the rookies were influential in the result, with five freshmen included to the starting 15. Rookie Kyle Hegarty, starting at flanker, scored three tries in 60 minutes. Rookie flyhalf Kirt Achterman (two ties) and prop Jasper Stone also scored. Stone scrummed very effectively until he was replaced with 20 minutes remaining. Satchel Collins made his first A Grade appearance as the starting halfback, and provided considerable poise and quick service while being pressured by an aggressive CSULB defensive line.
The Mustangs controlled possession in the first half, and didn’t concede points until the 40th minute when an errant kick was compounded by a disjointed chase, and the Long Beach back three opened us up to score from long range. Poly took a four tries to one advantage into halftime. Coach Tesoriero rolled the replacements after the halftime break, fresh legs allowing the scoreboard to continue ticking over. In the final quarter of the match Long Beach State showed the talent and explosive point-scoring ability that has powered them to 9 wins from 10 matches thus far in the Fall. With more favorable possession and territory in the final period, the Beach backline stretched the Mustangs and crossed for a number of late tries.
A Grade- Cal Poly 59 def CSULB 24
Kyle Hegarty 3, Kirt Achterman 2, Jasper Stone, Salvador Guevara, Brandon Puccini, team tries, Alex Wormer 7 conversions.
The B Grade side also enjoyed a comprehensive win against a quality opponent. Poly controlled the set piece and thus enjoyed more possession that CSULB. Coach Alex Frost considered it “a good team win, with plenty to build on”, and praised Freshman Ryan Dowgiewicz as the B team’s best on the day. Dowgiewicz was aggressive in defense, made a number of strong runs, and pinched opposition balls on a number of occasions to get the team out of trouble. Halfback Matty Hazelwood was very dangerous with ball in hand, and provided steady leadership. Captain Jake Becker was also solid, and led a great set piece effort. “If we stick with our shapes moving forward we can beat anyone,” added Frost.
B Grade- Cal Poly 55 def CSULB 25
The Womens team played their final match of the Fall season, and finished with a well deserved win against a large and physical Long Beach team. Beach were the stronger team to start the match, however playing with only 16, ran out of steam against a fast-finishing Poly team. The Poly ladies showed the benefit of depth of numbers, and of the tough conditioning work undertaken throughout the Fall. The Cal Poly girls were down a score to the visitors with 20 minutes remaining, but scored two late tries to pull ahead, and seal the match.
Elena Strom had her best match of the season, and was a difference-maker at lock. Her powerful ball running against a fatigued opponent broke the game open and was decisive in the win. Halfback Rylee Birdsall also had a great game in possibly her final game in a Cal Poly jersey. Women team President Jessica May, playing her final game after five years with the club, was emotional after the victory and was proud of how far the women team had progressed in two short seasons.
Womens- Cal Poly 26 def CSULB 19