BOULDER, Colo. – Oregon State and UC Santa Barbara participated in tournaments this past weekend to prepare themselves for their spring seasons. The Beavers hosted the Pac North Tournament, while the Gauchos traveled to UCLA to take part in the Dennis Storer Classic.
In a round robin-formatted tournament involving Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Washington State, Oregon State went 1-2 on day one and were left without a match on the tournament’s second day after Oregon cancelled on the Beavers.
Playing 50-minute matches, the hosts began the tournament on a high note by besting Washington State, 15-0. The University of Washington then blanked Oregon State, 10-0, in a match that still saw the Beavers put together several quality phases of rugby that encouraged the team’s coaching staff.
Utah, who coasted to a perfect record on the weekend, throttled Oregon State to a tune of 47-0.
“We were unable to get much possession, and Utah’s experience and pace out wide undid our young back line,” said Oregon State Head Coach Anthony Lally.
The 150 minutes of rugby was valuable to a Beavers team that has as tough a conference schedule as any team in the country playing in the Pac Rugby Conference. The busy afternoon also saw a number of players raise their hands as team standouts including senior Andy Zimmer. The English-born Zimmer saw time at both fly half and full back, and his presence was missed in the Utah match when he had to step off the pitch due to an eye injury.
Lally was also pleased with the way his forward pack performed. Team captain and prop Dakota Parker and lock Connor Henry were excellent in the set pieces and in the loose.
The tournament seemed to be beneficial for all who were involved, and the Beavers especially drew positives from the weekend.
“This was the perfect preseason opportunity to play together with an eye to future conference matches,” Lally said.
Oregon State begins those conference matches Jan. 31 against a talented UCLA unit.
At the Storer Classic, UC Santa Barbara finished 2-1 with the team’s only loss coming to eventual Champion Cal.
In their victories, the Gauchos shut out UC Santa Cruz, 12-0, and UC Davis, 10-0. While the matches were just 40 minutes each, the refusal to allow any points on defense could spell a hallmark for the California Conference side moving forward.
Scrums were a strong point on the day for Santa Barbara, with front rowers Myles Han, Dante Russomanno, and Edgar Vega giving a solid push. In the backs, fly half Alex Asturias showed well with the ball in hand, and captain Jimmy Peniston continued to lead by example from his inside center position.
This Saturday, the Gauchos take on one of the best D1AA teams west of the Mississippi in Long Beach State.