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Over the weekend, Arizona notched a convincing victory over Notre Dame at Steuber Stadium in Palo Alto, Calif. With the 47-10 win, Arizona retained the Parseghian Cup, an annual trophy established under the former head coaches of both programs.
Anticipation leading up to the annual match against Notre Dame was high. Not only was it a chance for Arizona to test its players against a quality opponent, but also to benefit a good cause.
“We were excited for this match and to play a game against a quality opponent in Notre Dame, and excited to raise some funds for a great cause in the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation,” Arizona head coach Sean Duffy said.
On Saturday, it was the Irish’s defense that proved to be most difficult for Arizona to crack. According to Duffy, Notre Dame’s defenders worked hard on the defensive line, forcing his players to play with patience and earn every point that went up on the board. That patience paid off in a big way for Dante Weeks, who led the team in scoring with three tries from the wing. Kyle Rogers also got a try, on top of slotting three of his hour conversion attempts. Adam Wilson also successfully converted twice.
The patience on offense by Arizona was complemented by solid performances in other areas of the game. Prop Mason Pedersen really stood out on the defensive line after returning from a stint with the USA U-20 squad. Captain Cesar Davila anchored a strong forward pack from the lock position. Arizona’s pack kept the scrums and lineouts solid throughout the match, providing a solid platform for the team to work from.
Saturday’s win was the third in a row for Arizona, a feat the team takes much pride in; and one Duffy hopes others will take note of.
“This was a fun game against a good opponent for a great cause heading in to Spring Break,” he said. “It's nice to get three wins in a row going into the break and the stretch run of the season for what we hope will be a playoff run. We still have a way to go but playing a tough schedule against four of the current Rugby Today top ten has prepared us well. We hope we'll be looked upon favorably as a team that's played a tough schedule while many others simply play their local opposition and call it a day.”
Arizona has a young team that has grown a great deal over the year. With the majority of the Wildcats being in the early years of their college careers, there is still more room for growth. Up next on Arizona’s schedule are Oregon State and TCU. After that, the D1A playoffs begin.