By Charles Renning
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, November 19, 2004
For more than a month, the Arizona men's club rugby team has had to deal with the harsh reality of being winless.
Come tomorrow morning, the Wildcats hope to ease their frustration when in-state rival Arizona State comes to town.
"We're better than that record shows," said head coach Dave Sitton. "We've been 0-2 for month now, and that's really stuck in everyone's craw. I definitely won't have to give a pep speech for this one."
"It's kind of been a bad taste in our mouths over the last month," said senior president Justin Kunz about the team's first 0-2 start in 14 years.
The Wildcats take on the Sun Devils tomorrow at 11 a.m. at Estevan Park in the team's final game of their fall schedule.
Arizona has not lost to ASU since 1984, and if Kunz has anything to say about the Wildcats' 20-year win streak, it will be extended to 21.
"I'm not going to let this 20-year skid end on my watch," he said.
Although the Sun Devils have been down in past years, Sitton said their program is improving.
"They've been getting better," Sitton said. "They're inching closer to us."
With 13 of 15 starters returning from last year's team, Arizona has high expectations for its upcoming spring season because all of the matches in the fall are considered non-conference events.
According to Kunz, a majority of the starters are seniors who have been playing together for four years, which makes the team more cohesive and experienced.
"We understand each other's style of play," Kunz said. "We have a good bond; a lot of the time we play like brothers on the field."
The Arizona rugby club will play a total of five matches Saturday. The developmental team plays a Tucson club team at 9:30 a.m., the junior varsity team plays ASU's JV team at 12:30 p.m., and the Wildcat A and B developmental teams play Northern Arizona at 2:30 p.m.
Sitton said this is one of the biggest rugby programs he has been involved with, fielding nearly 110 players in the program.
After this weekend, the Wildcats will not play another match until Jan. 23, when they begin their spring schedule.