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Central Washington soundly defeated Arizona State to the tune of 72-10 in the first round of the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Saturday. Minus a 10-minute lapse in the first half, the Wildcats dominated the game.
The Wildcats blitzed the Sun Devils early, scoring three tries in the first 10 minutes. Corbin Lindell opened the scoring, and Ian Wright doubled the lead before Gavin Schag dotted one down under the posts for a 17-0 advantage.
“The stakes are high and it's win or go home,” said CWU coach Tony Pacheco. “We handled the nerves well, and scoring three quick tries will always help calm a team down.”
Arizona State responded nicely, scoring two tries minutes apart to cut the lead to 17-10. For the Sun Devils, however, it would be the only points they would muster all afternoon.
“I think we kind of took our foot off the gas pedal a little bit, but then we kind of bounced back,” Pacheco said.
Central Washington got back on the front foot thanks to captain Aladdin Schirmer extending the lead to 24-10. Right before halftime, Scott Dean broke a 75-meter run to the try zone, hampering any chance of an ASU comeback.
“I think it was a really a back breaker in the match for them,” Pacheco indicated.
The second half was all Wildcats as they added five more tries including a second for Dean and Wright. In total, Central Washington scored 55 unanswered points to cruise to victory. Pacheco praised the play of Schirmer at the back of the scum and his flyhalf, Dean, for orchestrating a potent Wildcat offense.
“We had the majority of possession throughout the day, and when we did were able to put up points,” Pacheco added. “We moved the ball exceptionally well against a defense that was moving up the field really hard. That was how they wanted to play. We would quickly move into space and get on top of them, break the line and finish opportunities.”
Pacheco was very happy with his team defensively, despite a 10-minute period where the squad lost focus. “Other than a 10-minute lapse, where we let in a couple tries, it was really outstanding. We really didn’t have line breaks all that much.”
Central Washington will take on Utah in a rematch of the 2014 Varsity Cup Quarterfinal. CWU won that match on a late penalty 26-24.