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St. Mary’s College of California opened their two-game trip to Arizona with a 76-10 defeat of the University of Arizona varsity squad.
For good measure, the Gaels 2nd side upended the Wildcats’ JV squad 46-3.
“We were really pleased with our defense,” said St. Mary’s assistant Tony Samaniego. “Our B-side didn’t allow a try and our A-side just two. It was great to see a team that is just starting its 15s season play to a pattern so well.”
The St. Mary’s backline clicked nicely, with Joey Reavy and Garrett Brewery connecting at the halfback hinge. Reavy moved seamlessly to flyhalf when Brewer was taken out. Captain and wing Cooper Maloney was outstanding, and sophomore center Dylan Audsley played well at center and also kicked well from the tee.
Most notable for St. Mary’s in the backs was the return of Kingsley McGowan, the former USA U20 star back who has been out over a year with injury. McGowan suited up at outside center and played well.
Up front, hooker Mike O’Neill led the charge and scored twice. Another player back from injury, Henry Hall, was solid, while loose forwards Alec Barton (freshman) and senior Kyle Peterson roamed the field and were strong on defense.
“This was a tough game for us,” said Arizona Head Coach Sean Duffy, on the job for only a week after driving to Arizona from Pennsylvania to take the position. “We are a team that’s just getting to know each other and how we play. We’ve working on new terminology and a new approach. It’s tough. But the guys have really worked hard, and after this early run of games, we will certainly know where we are.”
In a schedule set up by late Arizona Head Coach Dave Sitton, who died in August, the Wildcats follow up their St. Mary’s match with a game against Utah at the LVI next week, Cal Poly, and then Cal.
Arizona had some bright spots. Captain Trevor Laue was a good leader at No. 8 – “if I showed up to coach a team that hadn’t nominated a captain, he would be the captain,” said Duffy – and converted wing Sam Peri was effective in the lineout.
While it was a “mixed bag” for Duffy and Arizona, “the effort was there.”
St. Mary’s now looks ahead to Arizona State on Sunday.