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Ruggers sweep San Diego, Laxcats split with Utah

CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Arizona's Justin Kunz moves the ball upfield during Arizona's match against San Diego State Friday afternoon at Esteban Park. Arizona defeated the Aztecs 16-15.
By David Vickter
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, February 21, 2005
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The Arizona men's club rugby stared an eight-point deficit in the face Saturday, rallied for the win and improved to 3-1 by sweeping two San Diego schools over the weekend.

The Ruggers found success in a 41-0 thrashing yesterday against San Diego at Silverlake Park. Although the venue had been changed due to inadequate field conditions from Saturday night's rain showers, the Wildcats were able to complete the weekend sweep after a 16-15 win Friday over San Diego State.

The Ruggers controlled a majority of the game's possessions, as the Toreros were unable to compete with quicker, bigger Arizona.

Senior team captain Justin Kunz scored a try to open the game to begin a first-half run for the Wildcats, who entered halftime with a 17-0 lead.

"Our support was excellent today," said senior Mark Handin. "Because our forwards and backs worked together, we weren't that tired."

Senior Chuck Loftin and junior Michael Tovani each added tries in the win.

"We played with heart today, and that's where we start," said Arizona head coach Dave Sitton.

Senior Marc Gallo led the Ruggers against the Aztecs Friday at Estevan Park.

Gallo scored the last nine points of the match with three penalty kicks.

Prior to Gallo's game-winning scoring run, Arizona was staring at an eight-point deficit with eight minutes left in the game.

The Aztecs brought pressure both offensively and defensively early in the second half, but Arizona was able to make one key standoff deep in their own territory and prevent San Diego State from extending an 8-7 lead.

From there, the Ruggers played strong and dominated the outsides, chipping balls into the corners as Gallo's kicking expertise persisted.

"We knew we were better conditioned than they were, so we knew the last 20 minutes were going to be ours, and that's exactly what happened," Kunz said.

Arizona makes its third trip of the season to California over the March 5 weekend. The Ruggers compete against Santa Barbara and defending league champion Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo.

Laxcats dig deep for split with Utes

Following a 10-6 loss to No. 5 Sonoma State Saturday, the Arizona men's club lacrosse team bounced back to beat Utah 10-8 yesterday at Murphy Stadium.

"We need to score more than single digit goals in lacrosse," said Arizona assistant coach Tim Spruyt. "We need to put at least 10 away in order to play a solid match."

Arizona struggled out of the gates, failing behind 4-1 at halftime after five penalties put the Laxcats into a hole.

The deficit lit a fire under Arizona, and the team scored eight second-half goals.

Junior midfielder Nick Barrow and sophomore defender Michael Cappo both scored their first collegiate goals in the win over the Utes.

Arizona used the Utah game to rebound from Saturday's loss to the Seawolves.

"Be mad, that's fine. But we're going to come out here tomorrow and start something new. I will not let this team fold," Laxcats head coach Ken Broschart said after Saturday's loss.

Yesterday's game went back and forth, as junior attacker Greg Polheber began the seesaw battle with a goal assisted by junior attacker Adam Paris.

Arizona's penalties began to affect the team early in the second half, as one of the penalties overlapped from the last minute of the second quarter.

Many of the Laxcats penalties were a result of good ball control by Sonoma State.

Arizona went shorthanded by two men at one point, leaving the goal open for Sonoma State to net a quick go-ahead goal for a 3-2 lead.

Senior attacker Dave Sherman and junior midfielder Brian Etheredge then combined for five goals, one of which tied the game at

6-6 with five minutes to go.

Arizona had an opportunity to pull ahead of the Seawolves with a one-man advantage, but could never get ahead of Sonoma State, which closed the game with a 4-0 run.

Broschart said he looks forward to playing the Seawolves again.

"We're going to see these guys again. They're not going to want to be the winning team going into the next match," he said.

The Laxcats play BYU Wednesday followed by Division II squad New York Tech on Friday. Both games will be played at Murphy Stadium.

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