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In a friendly, St. Mary's defeated Olympic Club, 36-31, in Moraga, Calif., Saturday. Both sides used the match as a tune up for a tough spring campaign. St. Mary’s is preparing for a tough stretch where it plays Utah and BYU on consecutive days, followed two weeks later with a visit to Cal. Also slated on St. Mary’s schedule is Dartmouth and an East Coast trip to West Point to take on Army.
For Olympic Club, it will turn its attention to the Pacific Rrugby Premiership, starting with a matchup with SFGG next weekend. Despite St. Mary’s being a collegiate side, Olympic coach Ray Lehner indicated that that the Gaels were one of the best tune-ups for the PRP. “They are the classic student rugby, Lehner said of St. Mary’s. “They are fit. They play fast and really try to avoid the forward competitions and move the ball out to the wide channels.”
In the first half, Lehner believed his side outworked the opponents, but the Gael’s explosiveness earned them points. “We worked pretty hard for our tries and then every time right after we scored they came right down the field and scored,” said Lehner. At times Olympic Club strung together long periods of possession, keeping the talented St. Mary’s backline at bay.
Nevertheless, a lack of consistency plagued Olympic Club. Unforced errors, numerous phases where it did not move the ball, and players straying away from the pattern led to some dangerous positions. St. Mary’s, needing no invitation, pounced on the opportunities and with 15 minutes left in the game held a 12-point lead. Olympic Club scored a try late in the match, but it wasn’t enough to secure a victory.
Despite the loss, Olympic Club saw the match as a good starting point for the season. “I am disappointed we did not win the game because it was there for us to win, but I am pleased with the effort overall and I think for our first outing we had a lot of things to build on going into the PRP season,” added Lehner.
St. Mary’s moved to 3-1 in its spring campaign. After an early January loss to SFGG, the Gaels have reeled off impressive wins over Utah, Arizona State and Olympic Club.