Saint Mary’s opens California Conference play with shutout over UC Santa Barbara

D1A Rugby: Saint Mary’s opens California Conference play with shutout over UC Santa Barbara
Photo Credit: Karen Drinkwater

LAFAYETTE, Colo. – A week after hammering Arizona State 96-0, Saint Mary’s shut out UC Santa Barbara by the same margin to open the California Conference season.

The third-ranked Gaels scored 47 of their 96 points in the first half. Winger Tommy Wallace ran in a hat trick, while Mike Wallace, Payton Telea, Vili Helu and Kevin O’Connor each dotted down once. All-American Dylan Audsley, slotting in at full back instead of his usual spot in the centers, was held without a try on the afternoon but managed to split the uprights on his first six conversion attempts.

The Gauchos couldn’t do anything to slow the Saint Mary’s attack in the second half, or string enough phases together to get into the try zone. Meanwhile, the Gaels didn’t skip a beat despite starting fly half Mike McCarthy missing the game while nursing an injury. Eight different Gaels crossed the line in the second 40, including senior All-American flanker Alec Barton and sophomore hooker Nick Hyrekewicz each adding a pair.

Saint Mary’s plays its fourth game in as many weeks Saturday, Jan. 21 at home against No.14 Utah. The Utes began its 2017 season with a 56-15 victory over Dixie State this past weekend. The last time Saint Mary’s and Utah battled was nine months ago in the Semifinals of the D1A Rugby Playoffs when the Gaels rolled to an 81-32 win. Saint Mary’s returns to California Conference play the following weekend against Santa Clara.

After a sluggish start to the 2017 season, UC Santa Barbara will have an opportunity to correct its mistakes in a nonconference contest against Long Beach State Saturday, Jan. 21 before getting back into its conference schedule at home against Sacramento State Jan. 28.