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St. Mary's won the Battle in the Bay collegiate 7s tournament Sunday, defeating Cal in the semis and Central Washington in the final in impressive fashion.
Bolstered by some superb play from Garrett Brewer, Cooper Maloney, and Joey Reavey, along with some key contributions from a large group of athletes, the Gaels were clearly the best team at the tournament.
In the semis, St. Mary's fell behind 10-0 to Cal, but clawed their way back with a try from Brewer near the end of the first half. That made it 10-7, and then in the second half, the adventurous Gaels torched Cal for two more tries, with Holden Yungert capping off a movement during which Maloney made the key run. Reavey was good on the conversion, and then Kevin O'Connor was over for a superb try, and Reavey slotted the even more superb kick to seal the game.
Cal got one more back from Jesse Milne, who was very good for the Bears, but it wasn't enough.
Meanwhile CWU put Western Washington to the sword to make the final.
In the final, Central looked to press their physical advantage, but failed.
A nifty run up the weak side from a maul set up the first St. Mary's try, and dynamic passing, along with aggression on restarts set up tries for Chase Herring, Yungert, and Maloney.
Reavey put the cap on a dismal first half for CWU with a pop kick over the defense and a chase that saw the flyhalf just touch the ball down before it rolled dead. Up 22-0, St. Mary's scored once more in the second half, again exploiting a CWU mistake. Then Central came back. Tyler Coffman, a converted wide receiver from football and the Wildcats' best performer in the final, charged down the sideline for a try.
Then Andrew Nelson raced over and the CWU players were running to the kickoff, feeling they had a shot.
"We definitely thought we could come back," said Coffman. "After Drew scored that second try, we knew we had a chance. We had cleared up the mistakes from the first half and were definitely playing better."
But it wasn't to be, as St. Mary's scored once more to put the game away.
"I am really proud of the guys, it was a real team effort," said Gaels 7s Coach Tony Samaniego. "We are still working on improving our 7s, but this was a good weekend. We are learning to use everyone on the field."
Cooper Maloney led the St. Mary's effort as captain and a finisher who passes.
Cal finished third after defeating a young Western Washington team. Cal Poly rode a solid Sunday to win the Plate over San Diego State, and UCLA went 3-0 with a young squad to win the Bowl.
Final St Marys 32-19 Central Washington
3rd/4th Cal 49-5 Western WashingtonPlate Cal Poly 26-19 San Diego State
7th/8th Arizona State 17-0 Santa Clara
Bowl UCLA 24-0 U. San Diego
11th/12th Sacramento State 38-12 Santa Rosa JC
Shield UC Davis 26-5 UCSB
15th/16th Stanford 21-10 Chico State