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It’s an early-season result for both teams, but one the Indianapolis-based Cathedral team will be happy to take.
“I’ve never seen them play or coached against them,” said Cathedral coach Scott Peterson. “But I’ve played for [outgoing Xavier coach] Mike Tolkin and I have a lot of respect for him. They are a great program.”
Cathedral went into the game without their starting flyhalf, Greg Wood, who sustained an injury in a game Saturday.
“Without him we figured we needed to concentrate on our defense, and that’s what we did,” said Peterson.
Cathedral scored early and led 15-3 before Xavier was finally able to get a try in late.
“The coaches are really proud of the team’s defense,” said Peterson. “That’s what won it for us.”
Scrumhalf Joe Sullivan had a strong game for the Irish, while No. 8 Joe Schroeder was excellent, controlling the lineouts and leading the team all over the field.
Meanwhile Xavier doesn’t have much time to rest, as they take on touring Houston team St. Thomas Tuesday.
“Cathedral is an excellent team and a very well-run program,” said Xavier coach Joe Sweeney. “They've got strong, fit athletes and they are very well coached. They defend with disciplined order, they tackle well, and they pass and ruck well. Their program is class, soup to nuts.”
While Xavier has been #1 or #2 in the nation the last two years, they are a young side this year with a lot to prove. Both teams, in fact, were lacking seasoning, but in different ways.
“We started ten juniors yesterday and it showed in the basic mistakes we made,” said Sweeney. “The mistakes caused us to play most of the first half in our own end. Cathedral's good enough that you're not going to put many points up on them and we're just not there yet.”
Meanwhile Peterson has a slightly older team, but it’s one that is not experienced in rugby.
“We have a few juniors and seniors, but they are new players and we’ve got a lot of work to do to bring them more into the game,” Peterson said.
Xavier plays St. Thomas and will look ahead to McQuaid, Fordham Prep and several other tough opponents. Meanwhile Cathedral has schedules Westerville in their search for tough opponents as they look ahead to nationals.
Both teams have accepted invitations to the new National Invitational Championships – Xavier to the single-school tournament, and Cathedral to the high school club tournament.