Cal Wins Against Air Force & Cal Maritime

February 21, 2016

Cal Wins Against Air Force & Cal Maritime

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Photo: ABFlyer Photo

Cal Bears Press Release: February 20, 2016

“BERKELEY – Competing in front of a national TV audience as well as seven different national championship teams who were back at Witter Rugby Field for their five-year through 35-year reunions, California beat Air Force, 65-12, following the Golden Bears’ 35-12 win over Cal Maritime on Saturday.

Eight Bears scored a total of 10 tries against the Falcons, with fullback Evan Coleman and scrumhalf Nicklas Boyer contributing two apiece. Boyer finished with 25 points total against Air Force, adding six conversions (6-for-10) and a penalty kick (1-of-1) to the Cal scoreline.

In its win over the Keelhaulers to start the two-match Saturday in Strawberry Canyon, Cal got two tries from match captain Matt Ternan and two penalty kicks from Matthew Coyle as the Bears’ two victories moved the team to 9-1 overall (2-0 PAC) in its spring schedule.

Patchwork lineups ran onto the pitch to represent the Blue and Gold in both matches on Saturday. After beating Cal Maritime with a team that included two forwards, Nate Becker and Alexander de Gentile-Williams, at the wing positions, the Bears faced a fit Air Force side with a lineup missing usual starters Scott Walsh at prop and Russell Webb at flyhalf. Additional injuries forced head coach Jack Clark to make do without Eakalafi Okusi, Patrick Barrientes, Miles Honens or Lucas Dunne, all of whom were unavailable to help a rather decimated backline.

Adversity awaited the Rugby Bears in their meeting with Air Force as Falcons lock Grigor Kerdikoshvili converted his own try in the fifth minute to put Cal at a 7-0 disadvantage. But Boyer scored his first try five minutes later and the squad found its footing over the next 10 minutes.

Air Force flanker Hunter Hancock gave his team a chance to tie the match in minute 23 after his try, but the conversion attempt by Kerdikoshvili was no good. Kerdikoshvili missed a 40-meter penalty attempt in minute 33 that could have given the visitors a lead; after that, Cal scored 51 unanswered points to put the game away.

“We’re battling through a lot injuries right now and the younger guys on this team are stepping up,” said James Kondrat, who played all 80 minutes at lock. “It might even be a little intimidating to play in front of all these great national-champion alumni. But every time we lace up our boots, we are trying to strive for that bar they’ve set so high.”

“Not only are we going to the same university, we’re playing for the same coach,” added Anthony Salaber, the starting outside center who was joined on the field by his brother, Nick, a second-half reserve, as their father, Rob Salaber ’85, watched from the stands. “Playing in front of alumni is very a special opportunity, but we always have the spirits of the old teams watching us,” said Anthony, whose father was a member of Jack Clark’s first title team. “They remind us of what it takes to get to a championship level.”

The Bears will face UCLA in their next match, held Saturday, Feb. 27, at 3 p.m. on Witter Rugby Field. It will be a battle for a share of first place in the PAC Rugby Conference, as the Bruins will be defending one half of the top spot in the PAC, having defeated Arizona, 18-12, Saturday to improve to 3-0 in conference play, while Utah also stayed a perfect 3-0 in the PAC with its 72-13 win Saturday at Oregon State.

Following the Bears’ Feb. 27 meeting with the Bruins, the final two matches of Cal’s conference quest are March 12 at home vs. the Beavers at 1 p.m. and March 26 at Utah, where the Utes could prove to be Cal’s opponent in the PAC decider for the fourth straight year.

Between Cal’s date with UCLA and the final two matches of the Bears’ PAC schedule is a showdown with Saint Mary’s in Moraga at 11 a.m. on March 5. That battle is followed four days later by a home night match vs. Santa Clara at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 9, when the younger echelons of the roster figure to represent their University.

The decisive Canadian chapter of the “World Cup” series is Saturday, March 20, at 1 p.m. in Thunderbird Stadium, and the regular season ends Wednesday, March 30, in Steuber Rugby Stadium at Stanford, where frosh-soph Bears are expected to be selected for match for the Scrum Axe against the Cardinal at 6 p.m.

The Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Rugby Championship national postseason begins with first-round action April 9 and culminates May 7with the championship final, after which Cal will turn back to the Olympic style of the game at the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship June 4-5 ahead of the return of rugby to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.”

The Scoring Timeline vs. Air Force

05:00 Air Force (Grigor Kerdikoshvili) 5, 2

10:00 Nicklas Boyer 5, 2

18:00 Jesse Milne 5, Nicklas Boyer 2

23:00 Air Force (Hunter Hancock) 5

36:00 Nicklas Boyer 3

39:00 Evan Coleman 5

40:00 Evan Coleman 5, Nicklas Boyer 2

Halftime Score: California 29, Air Force 12

48:00 Scott Sullivan 5

53:00 Thomas Robles 5

60:00 George Vrame 5, Nicklas Boyer 2

72:00 Anthony Salaber 5, Nicklas Boyer 2

76:00 Nicklas Boyer 5, 2

80:00 Jake Goena 5

Final Score: California 65, Air Force 12

The Lineup vs. Air Force

15. Coleman, 14. Goena, 13. A. Salaber, 12. Milne (Howells @ 29:00) , 11. Maggs (Maggs @ 65:00), 10. Adolphus, 9. Boyer, 1. Sullivan (Ogburn @ 54:00), 2. Bush (Haynes @ 55:00, Bush @ 62:00), 3. Vrame (Baylor @ 76:00), 4. Kondrat, 5. Zerbino (Sweet @ 69:00), 6. Robles, 7. Mirhashem, 8. Gaffney

The Scoring Timeline vs. Cal Maritime

03:00 Louis Le Merle 5

06:00 Cal Maritime 5, 2

11:00 Matthew Coyle 3

15:00 William Fuller 5, Matthew Coyle 2

19:00 Cal Maritime 5

29:00 William Fuller 5

36:00 Matt Ternan 5, Matthew Coyle 2

Halftime Score: California 27, Cal Maritime 12

54:00 Matthew Coyle 3

58:00 Matt Ternan 5

Final Score: California 35, Cal Maritime 12

The Starters vs. Cal Maritime

15. Kawash, 14. de Gentile-Willims, 13. Fuller, 12. Ternan, 11. Becker, 10. Coyle, 9. Goodwin, 1. Sekona, 2. Joyce, 3. Douglas, 4. Bixby, 5. Paylor, 6. Damas, 7. Frey, 8. L. Le Merle

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant