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With two explosive wins over this past week, the Cal Bears stretched their undefeated streak to nine games in 2017. Utilizing sides composed of predominantly freshmen and sophomores, Cal blanked Cal Maritime 87-0 on Wednesday and scored 45 points in the second half against Santa Clara to win 65-21. This Saturday, Cal will face a stiff test as it splits its squad to play back-to-back games versus Arizona State and Cal Poly at Witter Rugby Field in Berkeley, Calif.
Through nine matches this year, the statistics of the Bears have been astounding. Cal has totaled 497 points of offense for an average of 55.2 points a game. On the flip side, the defense is keeping their opponents to less than six points per game and has recorded five shutouts.
Displaying the overall depth of the Cal program, Coach Jack Clark played a total of 27 men in the two games this week with 15 playing in both games. Eleven players started both games allowing for consistency and better game flow. As a result, Cal scored a total of 26 tries while only yielding three tries to the opposition.
Against Cal Maritime on Wednesday, Aidan Flynn, Peter Sekona, George Salter, Justin Dunn (2), Ben Casey, William Fuller (4), Matt Coyle, Mike Goodwin, and McClain Marks scored in the 87-0 shutout. Additionally, flyhalf Elliot Webb totaled 17 points with a try and six conversions.
Three days later on Saturday versus Santa Clara, the Bears put up another 11 tries by 10 different players. The SCUTS put up a bit more of a fight than the Keelhaulers as Santa Clara’s Adam Leonard, Eric Winden, and Bobby Kregge racked up tries and Matt Fitzgerald connected on two penalties. After only leading by nine points at the half, Cal exploded in the second half to win by 44 at 65-21.
The likes of Matt Ternan, Ken Kurihara, Sid Holland (2), Peter Sekona, Justin Dunn, Nathan Becker, Christian Dyer, Owen Duvall, Josh Warnock, and Charlie Lagomarsino each scored in the victory. With his boot, Elliot Webb added five conversions.
Commenting on the wins last week, Coach Clark said, “We just had a little more talent on the field. Both Cal Maritime and Santa Clara are well-coached teams and they got a lot out of their teams, maybe even more so than we did. These are young players that we put on the field and we have a lot of lessons to learn. Both of those two contests were lesson rich. There were a lot of instances in the video and analysis where we can improve.”
Coach Clark is encouraged by the play of his underclassmen in the early season. Hooker Sid Holland and scrumhalf Ken Kurihara are both adapting to new positions at Call are excelling in their roles. Clark noted that both players have improved by leaps and bounds, as well as lock George Salter.
With Arizona State and Cal Poly this Saturday, Coach Clark said, “we have a tough weekend with two good teams coming in and we will have to split our team in order to play two first team games. This will be a challenge for us. I’m hopeful that we can find the form we displayed in the first 40 minutes versus Utah... Both of those teams are capable of winning on the day and we’ll have to play well to get the results.”
Next up for Cal is a home match against British Columbia on February 18th. As part of the two schools’ home and away “World Cup” series, the Thunderbirds beat the Bears twice last season. Cal look to avenge those losses in preparation for another deep run in the 2017 Penn Mutual Varsity Cup in April.