Rugby Tramples Pt. Loma

    With tackles so hard that the flesh-on-flesh impact could be heard from across the field, the UCSD men’s rugby team defeated Point Loma Nazarene University 28-5 in its second game of the preseason. The win improved the team’s preseason record to 2-0.

    Sanh Luong/Guardian
    Senior Trevor Adams (top) rips down a hapless Point Loma Nazarene player in the rugby squad’s dominant 28-5 win on Oct. 21 at Warren Field.

    The Tritons dominated from the first minute of the game, scoring 21 points in the first half. Despite a less-than-impressive second-half showing, head coach Tim O’Hara was pleased with his team’s performance.

    “I thought we played really well in the first half but let up a little in the second,” O’Hara said. “This is only the second game of the preseason, so I’m not worried.”

    Senior captain and inside center Nik Cherwink echoed O’Hara’s sentiment.

    “I think we displayed real good teamwork,” Cherwink said. “We played as one team rather than 15 individual members.”

    During the first half, the Tritons were relentless at keeping the ball in the Sea Lions’ half of the field. Cherwink and the other Triton forwards pulled off one strong gain after another as they marched toward the end zone. Junior hooker Anthony Gannon earned the first try for the Tritons, eight minutes into the first half.

    Fellow junior fullback Will Cowell followed with a kick conversion, which was his first of four on the day. Junior trop Tyler Barret then contributed two tries just before halftime to make the score 21-0.

    Point Loma Nazarene University seemed to get back on track as it controlled the ball for the early part of the second half and scored a try, but missed the kick conversion.

    That score seemed to wake the Tritons up again, as they proceeded to shut the Sea Lions down for the rest of the game.

    The remainder of the half looked very much like the first half with the Tritons in control of the ball and in their opponent’s territory. Junior outside center Kevin O’Leary found himself in the try zone for the team’s only points in the second half.

    According to Cherwink, Barret carried the Tritons to victory.

    “Tyler was unstoppable today,” Cherwink said. “He was running over people and no one could stop him.”

    Following a somewhat mediocre season, due to injuries and a small roster, the Tritons aim to erase last year’s memories with a raised bar of expectations for this year’s team.

    “As opposed to last year, we have a larger rookie class,” junior scrum half Brady Ruebusch said. “We have more players and have a big and solid team. This year we’ve revamped our method of playing guys. It’s going to be a new season.”

    With two early preseason wins, the Tritons have high expectations for this year. The team looks to make a push for the league title and qualify for a playoff berth.

    “I expect to be very competitive this year,” O’Hara said. “We have nearly all returning players starting. I think if this squad can play the way we can, we have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs. But we have some really tough competition and it won’t be easy.”

    Only the top two teams from the league will go on to the nationals, and the Tritons are optimistic that they will be contenders.

    “I think it’s the best team in the four years I’ve been here,” Cherwink said. “Cal Poly [San Luis Obispo] and [UC] Santa Barbara will be our main competition. I expect us to compete for that second seed.”

    The Tritons are back in action on Oct. 28 at 1 p.m. at the Rookie Tournament hosted by the University of San Diego.

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