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Rugby hosts senior-day rivalry tomorrow vs. ASU

CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Senior Justin Kunz moves the ball upfield during Arizona's match against San Diego State Feb. 18 at Estevan Park. Arizona defeated the Aztecs 16-15.
By David Vickter
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, March 25, 2005
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No matter what sport, the rivalry between Arizona and ASU is always there, and it holds true when the Wildcats' men's club rugby team faces off against the Sun Devils tomorrow at Estevan Park at 1 p.m.

Arizona looks to extend its 20-year win streak against ASU after a week layoff over spring break.

"We needed to get back into our rugby mindset," said Arizona assistant coach Tyson Swetnam.

In order to prepare for the match, the team worked on keeping possession in confined positions while getting rid of the ball in pressure situations. On the defensive end, a series of drills were introduced to assure quick footwork during the match.

Although the game does not affect the SoCal conference standings, the team is working just as hard to come ready to play and perform well because of the rivalry.

"This is a game of pride and heart," said senior lock Mark Handin.

While any match against the in-state rival draws attention, the match holds much sentimental value as well.

Nine seniors - team captain Justin Kunz, Scott Albrechtsen, Nate Eggman, Mark Handin, Matthew Keeler, Aaron Land, Chuck Loftin, Paul Robinson and Quincy Pearson - step onto the field for their last matches as Ruggers.

"This is a big day for our program and a long day of rugby," said Arizona head coach Dave Sitton.

The varsity game will be preceded by two games tomorrow morning.

Arizona's "under 19" team begins the day playing Mesa at 10:30 a.m., followed by the junior varsity match at 11:45 a.m. against ASU.

Following the varsity game, the union team caps the weekend at 2:30 p.m.

Alumni will be on hand barbecuing to accommodate fans.

Laxcats host rival Panthers

The No. 6 Arizona men's club lacrosse team heads full steam into their third conference game of the season Friday evening at 7 at Murphy Stadium when No. 20 Chapman arrives looking for an upset.

The game bears special significance for the Laxcats who can advance in the USLIA's next polls after powerhouse No. 2 UC-Santa Barbara was upset by No. 4 BYU 8-4 Wednesday.

Chapman and Arizona share a bitter rivalry that dates back to two years ago, when Arizona's postseason hopes were crushed when Chapman midfielder Matt Goto scored the winning goal to defeat the Laxcats 9-8.

Two meetings last year gave Arizona the opportunity to avenge the loss.

The Laxcats managed victories in both games, 12-6 in the regular season and 19-9 in the playoffs.

Arizona's head coach Ken Broschart introduced a new offensive system this week to increase the squad's offensive threat.

"We need to play 60 minutes of our style lacrosse," said sophomore midfielder Scott Rickert.

Chapman's offense remains versatile with its senior attackman Danny Metoyer, a two-time All-American, who scored three goals before the Panthers were eliminated in the WCLL quarterfinals in 2004.

Chapman has a complex offensive rotation working behind the cage and through the crease.

The Laxcats anticipate many shots from Goto, who is also an outside threat.

Unfortunately for the Laxcats, several players, including sophomore attackman, Harrison Crawford and freshman attackman Eric Poole, will head to the bench with injuries.

"Friday night, every player on the field will have to step it up," said senior attackman Dave Sherman.

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