Tritons Kick off the Season

POSTED BY LIZ HENRY

This Saturday, January 28th, marked the beginning of the Tritons’ season for the year. After a turning out to support the women’s rugby team’s victory against UCLA, the boys readied up to play hard in their first season game. In the first half of the game, the team held together a solid defense and refused to allow LMU to put the ball down in their side. The teams were pitted against each other and the back and forth could only be broken through bomb kicks overhead to the other side of the field. The Tritons made a few mistakes in their own half that allowed LMU to take kicks to the goal and end the first half with no tries scored but UC San Diego trailing behind by a few points.

In the second half of the game, some substitutes were rolled around and the Tritons came back onto the field to take the lead by scoring. After a few back and forths and a penalty against UC San Diego in their own 40 meters, LMU patted their lead with another kick through the posts. The Tritons reevaluated and hit hard against the LMU defense. Strong lines and passes by the UC San Diego backline and forward charges, the Tritons drove LMU into their own territory. After a penalty and a wide ball, flyhalf A.T. sent center Michael Andrews through the defense numerous times for him to score for the Tritons and lower the difference between LMU and UC San Diego. A.T. kicked the conversion and the Tritons were ready to score another.

The Tritons received the kick and engaged in another back and forth with LMU. LMU snuck through a close call penalty with the referee and with the confusion as to whether a penalty happened, LMU was able to use it to their advantage, making their first try against the Tritons. The boys shook off the bad call and accepted that they needed to make up the difference to catch up. A.T., Michael, Sean Martinez, Judah Word, and George McMahon bulldozed through the defense, to set up another score for winger Omar Kaprielian to sneak through the defense to put down another try to bring back the competition for the Tritons. A.T. converted the kick, helping the Tritons catch up to a close game.

The last ten minutes of the game, the Tritons were down by 3 but after a few mistakes, LMU kicked through the goal, extending their lead. The boys were taken advantage of through another penalty and LMU slipped through, scoring again to ensure their lead. The Tritons still did not give up and combatted through the defense to set up for another score in the last few seconds of the game. After a serve with A.T. and George, center Ryan Callahan kicked the ball over the heads of LMU and Sean Martinez chased the ball down, dove for it, and scored it for the final play of the game. Ryan then converted the ball from a far edge bringing up the score to being down by a try. The Tritons didn’t give in and won’t falter when they Pepperdine at their home for their next season game.

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Tritons Suffer Defeat at the Hands of Mira Costa

POSTED BY LIZ HENRY

On the afternoon of October 29, the UCSD Men’s Rugby Team took the field for the first time to scrimmage against the Mira Costa Men’s Rugby Team. As both squads fielded their young teams, the competition proved exciting as Mira Costa and UCSD both performed well. The first half was extremely tense, UCSD started slow out of the blocks and allowed Mira Costa to score twice. UCSD then rebounded as thanks to a series of beautiful passes and crushing runs by George McMahon, UCSD scored and the game was on again. New players for UCSD stepped up offensively, leaving Mira Costa exposed in the latter half of the first half. In addition, UCSD’s defensive play was strong and led to turnovers, but it was not enough to stop Mira Costa from scoring twice more. The second half was much more challenging as fatigue began setting in for both teams but especially UCSD, as the big hits by Mira Costa caused UCSD to lose their spirit. Mira Costa took advantage of this situation and scored multiple times to increase the lead and fluster the UCSD defense. Unfortunately, UCSD succumbed to their fatigue, which helped Mira Costa cruise to a winning score of 41-24.

-Judah Word

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The Tritons Shock the Toreros

POSTED BY LIZ HENRY

On the afternoon of October 22nd, the UC San Diego Men’s Rugby Team took the field for the first time to scrimmage against the USD Men’s Rugby Team. Although both teams were young, the competition proved exciting as USD and UC San Diego both performed well. The first half was extremely tense as UC San Diego and USD were offensively inept but defensively sound. After a series of beautiful passes, Kyle Jo struck gold, putting UC San Diego on the board first. New players for UC San Diego stepped up defensively, leaving USD stunned throughout the first half. In addition, UC San Diego’s offense scored in droves and created a comfortable lead going in to the second half. The second half was much more challenging as fatigue began setting in for both team, which created a mental and physical battle for both teams. USD took advantage of this situation and scored multiple times to lessen the lead. However, both teams succumbed to their fatigue, which helped UC San Diego hold on for a winning score of 24-21.

-Judah Word

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Cal State Northridge

POSTED BY MICHAEL ZHONG

UC San Diego played their third game of the season this past Saturday on the road at Cal State Northridge. Despite dominating the time of possession in the first half, the Tritons committed some critical mistakes that allowed the Matadors to score several times on them and to pull away in the second half, handing UC San Diego their third loss of the season.

On the first possession of the game, the Tritons showed some improvements and their intentions, collecting the ball and marching down the field only to be stopped a mere five meters from the end zone. From there on the next twenty minutes were all CSUN, with the Matadors scoring four tries on a Tritons defense that lacked some intensity and missed some tackles. The Tritons, who were missing at least 5 starters due to injury and some bad luck responded however, scoring two tries in the final fifteen minutes of the first frame. Prop Henry Song concluded a good sequence of play from the Tritons forward by scoring UC San Diego’s first try of the game, and winger Davit Shahmanyan had a nice run of his own, overpowering a couple of CSUN players to bring the Tritons back into the game, down 28-10 at halftime.

Despite gaining momentum in the end of the first half, the Tritons could not carry it into the second half. The Tritons ran out of gas and lost a few players on injuries, and the game got out of reach after CSUN scored another couple of tries. With the commanding lead, CSUN cruised to the victory over the Tritons on the day.

UC San Diego will be back at home for their first home game of the regular season next Saturday against league-leading Claremont.

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Azusa Pacific

POSTED BY MICHAEL ZHONG

In week 2 of their league schedule, the Tritons Men’s Rugby team was back in action on the road at Azusa Pacific. Two weeks after their opening defeat to CLU, the Tritons could not muster much offensively and suffered greatly against a Cougar offense that wanted it more on the day.

UC San Diego had issues containing APU’s number 8 in the beginning of the game, as he scored 2 tries on the Tritons’ defense. All throughout the first half, UC San Diego constantly missed tackles, allowing APU’s player to roam freely behind the Tritons defense as the Cougars dominated with free flowing and offload heavy rugby.

In the second half, APU continued to put pressure on the Tritons, scoring another couple of tries right out of the gate. Despite having one of their players sent off on a yellow card for a late tackle, the Cougars clamped down on the Tritons on defense and blanked the visiting team in the A-game.

The Cougars and Tritons played a B-side game of 10 against 10. This game highlighted the Tritons backline’s speed as center Sam Lam pierced through the Cougars defense for a 50 meter try and winger Pierre Karpov scored another try off of a beautiful kick by fly-half Matt Vianni. Despite the effort, UC San Diego fell in that game as well, ending the day on a bitter note.

UC San Diego has a week off but is back on the road for week 3 of league matches against Cal State Northridge on Feb. 20.

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UC San Diego vs Cal State Fullerton: January 30, 2016

POSTED BY MICHAEL ZHONG

The UC San Diego Tritons took on Cal State Fullerton in a non-league friendly match on Saturday, January 30th, at Warren Field. Despite scoring two tries, UC San Diego was outmanned against their D1 opposition and eventually lost the game.

UC San Diego and CSUF played 3 halves of 40 minutes. In the first 20 minutes of the game, UC San Diego was outpaced as Fullerton broke through a couple of runs straight through the Tritons defense. UC San Diego rectified their defense in the following minutes, limiting the scoring outburst. In the second half, UC San Diego answered back, scoring one of their two tries of the day through their scrumhalf Jonathan Reyes. Despite playing a little bit more of occupation rugby, UC San Diego still suffered from their lack of possession. Losing a lot of their scrums, UC San Diego lost too many balls to compete, and despite a late try by winger Raghav Bhardwaj, the Tritons could not avoid defeat.

The Tritons are back on the road next week for their second league match at Azusa Pacific.

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Men’s Rugby Season Opener at Cal Lutheran

POSTED BY MICHAEL ZHONG

UC San Diego Men’s Rugby opened up regular season play on the road at California Lutheran University on Saturday. After a much disputed first half, the Tritons could not keep up with the Knights and were ultimately defeated 45-5.

The opening day of Gold Coast Division II play saw the Tritons face up against a determined CLU team. The match was even in the first half as teams traded scoring occasions until CLU’s winger broke through at the 20th minute to make the score 5-0 in favor of the home team. Shortly after, the Triton’s own eight-man, Carlos Munoz, got just a few meters away from scoring the equalizing try, but was penalized for dangerous play and lost possession of the ball. CLU then exploited a 4 on 2 opportunity on the wing to score their second try through their fly-half with just 5 minutes left to play in the first half. The Tritons finally broke through with a minute remaining, when captain Judah Word took the ball on a pick-and-go and scored the try to bring the score to 5-12 at halftime.

UC San Diego returned to the field in the second half full of good intentions but got caught cold when CLU scored two tries in the first 10 minutes of the 2nd half. The Tritons kept getting beat out wide, and despite a solid scrum, lost too many possessions on their lineouts to rival with CLU’s wingers speed. With two more tries, the score held at 33-5 with 20 minutes remaining in the game. The Knights were reduced to 14 players for 10 minutes after a dangerous play, but UC San Diego could not exploit it ultimately falling 45-5 after two more tries by CLU.

With the final score, UC San Diego fell 7 tries to 1, but the score overlooked the fact that for most of the game the Tritons matched up well with CLU. The Tritons now have to regroup before they play Fullerton in a friendly next weekend at home. Their next league game is scheduled for Saturday Feb. 6 at Azusa Pacific.

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Men’s Rugby Tackle the UC Tournament

POSTED BY MICHAEL ZHONG

UC San Diego Men’s Rugby took part in their final preparation games before the start of their league season next week against Cal Lutheran. This past Saturday, the Tritons were up at UCLA to play in the UC Tournament, along with No. 2 California, No. 23 UCLA, No. 28 UCD and UCSC, all division I programs.

UC San Diego opened up the day playing California. Berkeley was playing their development side, full of 1st and 2nd years, but the quality and physicality of their players were too much to handle for the Tritons. The Golden Bears’ 8-man scored twice, while their full-back took a ball deep into his field and brought it into the end zone for 5 more. With their kicker knocking in eight out of nine conversions, the Tritons fell down early and suffered a shutout defeat against the No. 2 team in the nation.

After an hour off to correct some of the mistakes committed in that first game, the Tritons were back on the field to take on the Aggies. Once again, the Division I team was too strong for the Tritons, but UC San Diego showed a better face than they had against the Golden Bears, missing less tackles and keeping the ball more. Lineouts and scrums were also improved, but the Tritons could not score and got shut out for the second consecutive game.

Against UCLA, UC San Diego came out strong, and equalized at 7-7 on a beautiful try set up by Captain Judah Word for wing Sean Martinez and converted by Andrew Dries. But a couple of mistakes allowed the Bruins to get ahead, and the No. 23 team in the country handed the Tritons their third loss of the day, 4 tries to 1.

At last, the Tritons were playing UCSC in the final game of the day. UC San Diego played them earlier in the fall quarter, and the rematch promised some sparks. A much improved Tritons team manned up against the Banana Slugs in the first half, answering every time Santa Cruz scored a try. UCSC took a 7-0 lead, but the Tritons answered quickly with another try by Martinez. The Banana Slugs then scored another try, taking a 14-5 lead. In the dying seconds of the half, Pablo Volpe of UC San Diego took the ball out of wide and just missed Christian Espinoza on a 2-on-1. UC San Diego used improved ball retention skills to continue the sequence, and another escape by Martinez tip-toeing along the goal line was good enough for a second try for the Tritons. UC San Diego’s Andrew Dries converted the kick, making it 12-14 at halftime. However, UCSC put in some fresh players in the second half and UCSD was overwhelmed after a long day of rugby. The Tritons eventually lost the game 4 tries to 2, but not without showing a much better face than just a couple of months ago.

Despite the losses, the Tritons came out strong and combative throughout the day against some of the top teams in the nation. UC San Diego opens up the season next week at Cal Lutheran with the home opener coming just a week later.

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Men Rugby Nov. 21

POSTED BY MICHAEL ZHONG

After a one-week hiatus, UC San Diego Men’s Rugby took the field again this Saturday, November 21st, to take on the San Diego Armada at Robb Field in Ocean Beach. The Tritons dominated early, taking a five tries to zero lead. In what was their last game of the preseason, the Tritons had problems closing the game out, conceding two tries, but ultimately prevailed.

In the first 20 minute period, UC San Diego dominated the rucking area and captured multiple turnovers that went for long distance tries. Winger Pierre Karpov had two tries in the opening period, using his speed off of the turnovers to convert the opportunities. The Tritons continued to go wide in the second period of the game, exploiting two on ones and three on ones on the outside. It was two forwards however who scored in the second period, one by Judah Word on a 20 meter zigzag through the opposing defense and one by George McMahon on a pick and go. The Tritons added another try for good measure and went into the half up five tries to zero.

UC San Diego subbed in a few fresh players to start the third period, and the Tritons lacked the cohesiveness they displayed in the first 40 minutes. The Armada confiscated the ball and put two tries on the board after some nice movements by their forwards near the end-zone. Despite not being able to convert any of their set-pieces into points during that second half, the Tritons held strong and clinched a decisive five tries to two victory.

The forward and back of the day for UC San Diego were Andrew Clawson and Eric Golant. At the flank, Andrew held strong on defense near the rucks and was aggressive on the opposing crash balls. He also had a strong showing in the lineouts throughout the day. For the backs, Eric launched the offense from his inside center position and had a couple of big tackles. Taking over at the fly-half position in the second half, he had a couple of nice runs inside the armada defense and some nice kicks behind the defense, setting up the Tritons with good field position that they almost converted in tries.

With their preseason now over, the Tritons will be looking forward to the start of their regular season early during winter quarter. Between now and then, they will also head to UCLA for the UC Tournament during the second week of January.

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Men’s Rugby 2015-10-31

POSTED BY MICHAEL ZHONG

After hosting the University of Sydney on Wednesday and attracting a crowd to Warren Field for their only home game of the preseason, UCSD Rugby was back on the road at Ocean Beach to play Point Loma University. The Tritons showed up with a thin squad but battled hard, ultimately going down by the slimmest of margins to PLMU after four quarters of 20 minutes.
The day started off badly for the Tritons who lost three players after barely 10 minutes of play. UCSD would not let this drag them down however and continued to battle hard during the first quarter, which ended on a score of one try to two in favor of PLNU. The second quarter was as shaky as the first, but was highlighted by some nice runs from rookies George McMahon and Eric Golant as well as a beautiful 50 meter solo try by Pierre Karpov. UCSD leveled the score at the end of the second quarter and picked up the intensity for the following 40 minutes.
Everything got together for the final 40 minutes as UCSD started exploiting what PLNU was giving them with more efficiency and played together as a team. The defense made stops, despite allowing PLNU to score on some inattention errors. On offense, the progress made since the beginning of the preseason was visible and led to scores from Damon and Noah Lee to close out the game, on a beautiful run that saw the rookie get past half the PLNU defense to score the try. At the end of the day, UCSD showed up with intensity and determination to battle their rivals from San Diego but ultimately fell by one try to PLNU.
The two players of the game were Lewis Langi for the forwards and Max Pregoni for the backs. Lewis was one of the most active forwards for the Tritons, tackling and rucking on seemingly every play. He got out of the scrums quickly and put pressure on the opposing scrum-half and fly-half. Max got into the game in the second half and got his first meaningful minutes on the wing. He was credited with a few nice tackles and provided speed on the edge for an increasingly tired Triton team.
UCSD is back on the field next weekend at the San Diego City Championship where they will face City Rivals PLNU, San Diego State University, and University of San Diego at the little Q field.

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Santa Cruzin’

POSTED BY MICHAEL ZHONG

The UC San Diego Men’s Rugby team drove up north to take on some top tier Division I NorCal opposition at the annual UCSC Rugby Tournament. The only SoCal representatives, the Tritons played well in their three games on Sunday and got meaningful playing time in for those who made the long road trip.

The Tritons opened up the day with a game against the UCSC Slugs, the tournament’s hosts. With a few players out of position and a good mix of new guys mixed in with veterans, the Tritons held their own against a DI powerhouse. Despite suffering in set pieces and being deprived of good attacking opportunities, UCSD fared well and mounted a terrific goal line defense early in the first half. Some of the issues were corrected in the second half, and even though they did not score a try, the Tritons matched the Slugs’ intensity in the last 20 minutes and held UCSC to three tries on the day. After a long layoff in between the first and second games, UCSD was back in action against Santa Clara. After working on their rucking in between the two games, the Tritons came out aggressively and improved their ball retaining skills. With cleaner balls, the Tritons launched some good offensives against another good team and put pressure on the opposing defense. UCSD was held in check by Santa Clara, but their improvements held some promise for their last game.

Against arguably their toughest opponents of the day, Humboldt State, a diminished Tritons team showed heart and spirit, making the Lumberjacks work for every points they could get. The tired Tritons were no match for Humboldt’s speed, but UCSD put up great efforts to prevent the Lumberjacks from scoring tries, stuffing them before the goal line a couple of times. The thin Triton squad received help from a few UCSC players, in a display of tremendous sportsmanship and a true showing of rugby spirit.

The Tritons of the day were Wilf Dunne for the forwards, rewarded for his leadership on the defensive side and his continuous rucking and tackling. On the back line, Sean Martinez was recognized. The rookie held his own against some tough competition and played the whole three games for the Tritons, getting meaningful playing time and experience on the wing. UCSD is back at it this week, hosting the University of Sidney for a joint practice on Monday and a game on Wednesday night at Warren Field at 7pm, before going to downtown San Diego to play Point Loma University on Saturday. We hope to see a rally of support at our home match against Sydney.

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Season Opening for Men’s Rugby

POSTED BY MICHAEL ZHONG

This Saturday was our first game of the season, and for many, their first game of rugby. It was under the scorching Californian sun that we fought against the USD’s Toreros. USD is historically known to be better than UC San Diego at rugby, but despite having mainly rookies on our team, we made the Toreros work hard for their win.

Even if about a third of our players never played rugby before, they applied the little that they were taught within two weeks of training. Very few penalties were called and everyone played hard.

The rewarded back and forward of the game were Noah Lee and George McMahon respectively. Noah ran several great strike lines and broke through USD’s defense to score our first try, earning him the honor of Back of the game. And George played with an impressive intensity putting the Toreros on their heels after every run. Another notable player from this match was Pierre Karpov completing an impressive try from deep in our own 22. Pierre with great awareness initial kicked the ball over the entire USD defense and successfully chased the ball giving one finally kick to reach the Toreros try line were Pierre dove onto the ball for the score.

Our performance was, of course, very far from perfect and this is why our practices are now focused on correcting the recurrent errors that were noticed during the game. We are currently working hard on adjusting our defense and setting up a counter attack, and we hope to apply that next weekend against Point Loma Nazarene University.

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Cal State Northridge

POSTED BY MICHAEL ZHONG

UC San Diego played their third game of the season this past Saturday on the road at Cal State Northridge. Despite dominating the time of possession in the first half, the Tritons committed some critical mistakes that allowed the Matadors to score several times on them and to pull away in the second half, handing UC San Diego their third loss of the season.

On the first possession of the game, the Tritons showed some improvements and their intentions, collecting the ball and marching down the field only to be stopped a mere five meters from the end zone. From there on the next twenty minutes were all CSUN, with the Matadors scoring four tries on a Tritons defense that lacked some intensity and missed some tackles. The Tritons, who were missing at least 5 starters due to injury and some bad luck responded however, scoring two tries in the final fifteen minutes of the first frame. Prop Henry Song concluded a good sequence of play from the Tritons forward by scoring UC San Diego’s first try of the game, and winger Davit Shahmanyan had a nice run of his own, overpowering a couple of CSUN players to bring the Tritons back into the game, down 28-10 at halftime.

Despite gaining momentum in the end of the first half, the Tritons could not carry it into the second half. The Tritons ran out of gas and lost a few players on injuries, and the game got out of reach after CSUN scored another couple of tries. With the commanding lead, CSUN cruised to the victory over the Tritons on the day.

UC San Diego will be back at home for their first home game of the regular season next Saturday against league-leading Claremont.

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Cal State Northridge

POSTED BY LAUREN SAWVELLE

UC San Diego played their third game of the season this past Saturday on the road at Cal State Northridge. Despite dominating the time of possession in the first half, the Tritons committed some critical mistakes that allowed the Matadors to score several times on them and to pull away in the second half, handing UC San Diego their third loss of the season.

On the first possession of the game, the Tritons showed some improvements and their intentions, collecting the ball and marching down the field only to be stopped a mere five meters from the end zone. From there on the next twenty minutes were all CSUN, with the Matadors scoring four tries on a Tritons defense that lacked some intensity and missed some tackles. The Tritons, who were missing at least 5 starters due to injury and some bad luck responded however, scoring two tries in the final fifteen minutes of the first frame. Prop Henry Song concluded a good sequence of play from the Tritons forward by scoring UC San Diego’s first try of the game, and winger Davit Shahmanyan had a nice run of his own, overpowering a couple of CSUN players to bring the Tritons back into the game, down 28-10 at halftime.

Despite gaining momentum in the end of the first half, the Tritons could not carry it into the second half. The Tritons ran out of gas and lost a few players on injuries, and the game got out of reach after CSUN scored another couple of tries. With the commanding lead, CSUN cruised to the victory over the Tritons on the day.

UC San Diego will be back at home for their first home game of the regular season next Saturday against league-leading Claremont.

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Feb 27 M Rugby

POSTED BY MICHAEL ZHONG

Claremont Colleges

UC San Diego had its first home game of the season this past Saturday against Claremont Colleges. Claremont tops the table in the Gold Coast Rugby Conference’s DII and played like it, handing the Tritons a loss.

Despite owning a good part of the possession and territorial occupation, the Tritons had trouble finding any consistency in the first half and saw themselves exposed to counter-attacks, which Claremont exploited. The Tritons held up in the scrums, but could not contain Claremont’s 8-9 combination as they launched countless attacks right through the middle of the Tritons’ defense. UC San Diego had a couple of scoring occasions in the first half, most notably on a goal line stand by Claremont that resulted in a scrum to the visiting team after the ball was buried in a maul.

With an injury depleted side, UC San Diego continued to fight in the second half but couldn’t muster much offensive momentum. Claremont continued their aggressive showing on the day and scored a few more tries, before the Tritons saved their honor on an action that saw the ball go out wide through the hands to center Sean Martinez, who fixed a defender and passed to winger Rohan Floegel-Shetty who made the smart decision to pass the ball back inside, allowing Martinez to cross the end-zone line and score the final try of the game.

UC San Diego has two more occasions to compete in the regular season when it goes to Pepperdine next weekend and when it hosts UC Riverside two weeks from now.

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Feb 20 M Rugby

POSTED BY MICHAEL ZHONG

Cal State Northridge

UC San Diego played their third game of the season this past Saturday on the road at Cal State Northridge. Despite dominating the time of possession in the first half, the Tritons committed some critical mistakes that allowed the Matadors to score several times on them and to pull away in the second half, handing UC San Diego their third loss of the season.

On the first possession of the game, the Tritons showed some improvements and their intentions, collecting the ball and marching down the field only to be stopped a mere five meters from the end zone. From there on the next twenty minutes were all CSUN, with the Matadors scoring four tries on a Tritons defense that lacked some intensity and missed some tackles. The Tritons, who were missing at least 5 starters due to injury and some bad luck responded however, scoring two tries in the final fifteen minutes of the first frame. Prop Henry Song concluded a good sequence of play from the Tritons forward by scoring UC San Diego’s first try of the game, and winger Davit Shahmanyan had a nice run of his own, overpowering a couple of CSUN players to bring the Tritons back into the game, down 28-10 at halftime.

Despite gaining momentum in the end of the first half, the Tritons could not carry it into the second half. The Tritons ran out of gas and lost a few players on injuries, and the game got out of reach after CSUN scored another couple of tries. With the commanding lead, CSUN cruised to the victory over the Tritons on the day.

UC San Diego will be back at home for their first home game of the regular season next Saturday against league-leading Claremont.

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Feb 6 M Rugby

POSTED BY MICHAEL ZHONG

Azusa Pacific

 

In week 2 of their league schedule, the Tritons Men’s Rugby team was back in action on the road at Azusa Pacific. Two weeks after their opening defeat to CLU, the Tritons could not muster much offensively and suffered greatly against a Cougar offense that wanted it more on the day.

 

UC San Diego had issues containing APU’s number 8 in the beginning of the game, as he scored 2 tries on the Tritons’ defense. All throughout the first half, UC San Diego constantly missed tackles, allowing APU’s player to roam freely behind the Tritons defense as the Cougars dominated with free flowing and offload heavy rugby.

 

In the second half, APU continued to put pressure on the Tritons, scoring another couple of tries right out of the gate. Despite having one of their players sent off on a yellow card for a late tackle, the Cougars clamped down on the Tritons on defense and blanked the visiting team in the A-game.

 

The Cougars and Tritons played a B-side game of 10 against 10. This game highlighted the Tritons backline’s speed as center Sam Lam pierced through the Cougars defense for a 50 meter try and winger Pierre Karpov scored another try off of a beautiful kick by fly-half Matt Vianni. Despite the effort, UC San Diego fell in that game as well, ending the day on a bitter note.

 

UC San Diego has a week off but is back on the road for week 3 of league matches against Cal State Northridge on Feb. 20.

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Nov 21 M Rugby

POSTED BY MICHAEL ZHONG

After a one-week hiatus, UC San Diego Men’s Rugby took the field again this Saturday, November 21st, to take on the San Diego Armada at Robb Field in Ocean Beach. The Tritons dominated early, taking a five tries to zero lead. In what was their last game of the preseason, the Tritons had problems closing the game out, conceding two tries, but ultimately prevailed.

In the first 20 minute period, UC San Diego dominated the rucking area and captured multiple turnovers that went for long distance tries. Winger Pierre Karpov had two tries in the opening period, using his speed off of the turnovers to convert the opportunities. The Tritons continued to go wide in the second period of the game, exploiting two on ones and three on ones on the outside. It was two forwards however who scored in the second period, one by Judah Word on a 20 meter zigzag through the opposing defense and one by George McMahon on a pick and go. The Tritons added another try for good measure and went into the half up five tries to zero.

UC San Diego subbed in a few fresh players to start the third period, and the Tritons lacked the cohesiveness they displayed in the first 40 minutes. The Armada confiscated the ball and put two tries on the board after some nice movements by their forwards near the end-zone. Despite not being able to convert any of their set-pieces into points during that second half, the Tritons held strong and clinched a decisive five tries to two victory.

The forward and back of the day for UC San Diego were Andrew Clawson and Eric Golant. At the flank, Andrew held strong on defense near the rucks and was aggressive on the opposing crash balls. He also had a strong showing in the lineouts throughout the day. For the backs, Eric launched the offense from his inside center position and had a couple of big tackles. Taking over at the fly-half position in the second half, he had a couple of nice runs inside the armada defense and some nice kicks behind the defense, setting up the Tritons with good field position that they almost converted in tries.

With their preseason now over, the Tritons will be looking forward to the start of their regular season early during winter quarter. Between now and then, they will also head to UCLA for the UC Tournament during the second week of January.

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Nov 7 M. Rugby

POSTED BY MICHAEL ZHONG

UCSD Men’s Club Rugby took on some tough opposition at the San Diego City Championship at the little Q arena, home of the OMBAC Rugby Team. The Tritons played San Diego State’s A and B teams, Point Loma Nazarene University and University of San Diego in an action packed Saturday. UCSD finished the day with three defeats and one win, but performed well against upper division level teams.

UCSD opened the day with their B team against SDSU’s B team. With a lot of new faces on their team, UCSD fared well against a tough opponent. UCSD’s B team had a couple of nice breaks, but was missing the experience necessary to conclude their actions. The Tritons had a strong showing in the first game of the tournament but ultimately fell to SDSU B.

In the second game, UCSD A had its best game of the fall season, thrashing SDSU’s A team by five tries to one. UCSD started off with a couple of sloppy plays, but retained the ball effectively and got a first try of a quick ball to the left of the field by Sean Martinez, after a nice quick ball play by Jonathan Reyes and George McMahon. UCSD pounced the ball into the end-zone one more time after a quick tap of a penalty led to a breakaway try from Pierre Karpov. Coming into halftime with a two tries lead, UCSD had to make some changes due to several injuries. The Tritons kept the same intensity in the second half however, scoring three more tries. The two first one were scored by standout Noah Lee, who zig-zagged the defense for the first one and cut back inside to score another one from 20 meters out. The third one was scored on a class action by the Tritons who went weak-side to sneak one in. SDSU scored one back before the end of the game, but UCSD dominated and left the pitch victorious.

After a two hour layoff, UCSD was back on the field against PLNU. The Tritons suffered from the injuries that occurred earlier and PLNU’s energy proved too much for the UCSD. A lot of newcomers had a good run with the designated B side of the Tritons, who defended valiantly but lacked the discipline to defeat the Sea Lions. In the last game of the day, a banged up UCSD-A side was no match for USD’s speed. The Tritons looked sluggish on defense and USD took the gaps, scoring several times and got away with the win.

The two rookies of the day for UCSD were Christian Espinoza and David Zhai. After sitting out with an injury after the first game of the season, Christian was a bright spot with his defense on the wings. He was credited with a few big tackles and a couple of nice runs, providing a spark on both sides of the ball. David was a force in the forward pack, providing good ball skills on offense and solid fringe defense on the defensive side.

UCSD gets a week off to rest and heal injuries before going out to play the Armada in the last game of the preseason in two weeks. With preseason over, the Tritons will then look ahead to the UC Tournament and the beginning of their regular season in January.

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Oct 31 M Rugby

POSTED BY MICHAEL ZHONG

After hosting the University of Sydney on Wednesday and attracting a crowd to Warren Field for their only home game of the preseason, UCSD Rugby was back on the road at Ocean Beach to play Point Loma University. The Tritons showed up with a thin squad but battled hard, ultimately going down by the slimmest of margins to PLMU after four quarters of 20 minutes.

The day started off badly for the Tritons who lost three players after barely 10 minutes of play. UCSD would not let this drag them down however and continued to battle hard during the first quarter, which ended on a score of one try to two in favor of PLNU. The second quarter was as shaky as the first, but was highlighted by some nice runs from rookies George McMahon and Eric Golant as well as a beautiful 50 meter solo try by Pierre Karpov. UCSD leveled the score at the end of the second quarter and picked up the intensity for the following 40 minutes.

Everything got together for the final 40 minutes as UCSD started exploiting what PLNU was giving them with more efficiency and played together as a team. The defense made stops, despite allowing PLNU to score on some inattention errors. On offense, the progress made since the beginning of the preseason was visible and led to scores from Damon and Noah Lee to close out the game, on a beautiful run that saw the rookie get past half the PLNU defense to score the try. At the end of the day, UCSD showed up with intensity and determination to battle their rivals from San Diego but ultimately fell by one try to PLNU.

The two players of the game were Lewis Langi for the forwards and Max Pregoni for the backs. Lewis was one of the most active forwards for the Tritons, tackling and rucking on seemingly every play. He got out of the scrums quickly and put pressure on the opposing scrum-half and fly-half. Max got into the game in the second half and got his first meaningful minutes on the wing. He was credited with a few nice tackles and provided speed on the edge for an increasingly tired Triton team.

UCSD is back on the field next weekend at the San Diego City Championship where they will face City Rivals PLNU, San Diego State University, and University of San Diego at the little Q field.

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Oct 24 M Rugby

POSTED BY MICHAEL ZHONG

Santa Cruzin’

The UC San Diego Men’s Rugby team drove up north to take on some top tier Division I NorCal opposition at the annual UCSC Rugby Tournament. The only SoCal representatives, the Tritons played well in their three games on Sunday and got meaningful playing time in for those who made the long road trip.

The Tritons opened up the day with a game against the UCSC Slugs, the tournament’s hosts. With a few players out of position and a good mix of new guys mixed in with veterans, the Tritons held their own against a DI powerhouse. Despite suffering in set pieces and being deprived of good attacking opportunities, UCSD fared well and mounted a terrific goal line defense early in the first half. Some of the issues were corrected in the second half, and even though they did not score a try, the Tritons matched the Slugs’ intensity in the last 20 minutes and held UCSC to three tries on the day.

After a long layoff in between the first and second games, UCSD was back in action against Santa Clara. After working on their rucking in between the two games, the Tritons came out aggressively and improved their ball retaining skills. With cleaner balls, the Tritons launched some good offensives against another good team and put pressure on the opposing defense. UCSD was held in check by Santa Clara, but their improvements held some promise for their last game.

Against arguably their toughest opponents of the day, Humboldt State, a diminished Tritons team showed heart and spirit, making the Lumberjacks work for every points they could get. The tired Tritons were no match for Humboldt’s speed, but UCSD put up great efforts to prevent the Lumberjacks from scoring tries, stuffing them before the goal line a couple of times. The thin Triton squad received help from a few UCSC players, in a display of tremendous sportsmanship and a true showing of rugby spirit.

The Tritons of the day were Wilf Dunne for the forwards, rewarded for his leadership on the defensive side and his continuous rucking and tackling. On the back line, Sean Martinez was recognized. The rookie held his own against some tough competition and played the whole three games for the Tritons, getting meaningful playing time and experience on the wing.

UCSD is back at it this week, hosting the University of Sidney for a joint practice on Monday and a game on Wednesday night at Warren Field at 7pm, before going to downtown San Diego to play Point Loma University on Saturday. We hope to see a rally of support at our home match against Sydney.

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Oct 10 M Rugby

POSTED BY MICHAEL ZHONG

Season Opening for Men’s Rugby

 

This Saturday was our first game of the season, and for many, their first game of rugby. It was under the scorching Californian sun that we fought against the USD’s Toreros. USD is historically known to be better than UC San Diego at rugby, but despite having mainly rookies on our team, we made the Toreros work hard for their win.

 

Even if about a third of our players never played rugby before, they applied the little that they were taught within two weeks of training. Very few penalties were called and everyone played hard.

 

The rewarded back and forward of the game were Noah Lee and George McMahon respectively. Noah ran several great strike lines and broke through USD’s defense to score our first try, earning him the honor of Back of the game. And George played with an impressive intensity putting the Toreros on their heels after every run.  Another notable player from this match was Pierre Karpov completing an impressive try from deep in our own 22. Pierre with great awareness initial kicked the ball over the entire USD defense and successfully chased the ball giving one finally kick to reach the Toreros try line were Pierre dove onto the ball for the score.
Our performance was, of course, very far from perfect and this is why our practices are now focused on correcting the recurrent errors that were noticed during the game. We are currently working hard on adjusting our defense and setting up a counter attack, and we hope to apply that next weekend against Point Loma Nazarene University.

 

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Mar 12 M Rugby

POSTED BY MICHAEL ZHONG

Ending the Season with a Win

One week after picking up their first league win when Pepperdine forfeited the match, UC San Diego was back in action, hosting UC Riverside at Warren Field. The Tritons made it two in a row, picking up a convincing 36-7 win over the Highlanders to conclude their league season.

The Tritons took the game from the right end, putting pressure on Riverside from the start of the game. With a few opportunistic kicks and good lines from the backs, the Tritons camped in the opposing 22. On an opening, fly-half Andrew Dries took the gap and slalomed through the defense for the game’s first try. He added the conversion, making it 7-0 for the hosts. UC San Diego continued to camp inside their opponent’s 22, and after a series of penalties played quickly and tapped into touch, prop George McMahon crossed the line on a service by scrum-half Jonathan Reyes. UC Riverside reacted however, and on one of the last plays of the first half, scored a try on a powerful run by their forward pack, making it 14-7 for the Tritons at halftime.

UC San Diego came back to the field full of good intentions in the second half, looking to put the game away. The Tritons thought they had a try when their captain prop Judah Word crossed the line, but the referee called the try back on a double-move. UC San Diego continue to put the pressure and on a nice wide ball, Andrew Dries put away another one, his second of the day. Now up 19-7, the Tritons’ strong pack continued to dominate in the scrum, giving their backs a number of opportunities on the outside. Winger Sean Martinez took the opportunities to score two tries and assisted full-back Pierre Karpov on a last one, making the final score 36-7.

UC San Diego now gets 2 weeks off before the start of training in the spring.

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Jan 30 M Rugby

POSTED BY MICHAEL ZHONG

UC San Diego vs Cal State Fullerton: January 30, 2016

The UC San Diego Tritons took on Cal State Fullerton in a non-league friendly match on Saturday, January 30th, at Warren Field. Despite scoring two tries, UC San Diego was outmanned against their D1 opposition and eventually lost the game.

UC San Diego and CSUF played 3 halves of 40 minutes. In the first 20 minutes of the game, UC San Diego was outpaced as Fullerton broke through a couple of runs straight through the Tritons defense. UC San Diego rectified their defense in the following minutes, limiting the scoring outburst. In the second half, UC San Diego answered back, scoring one of their two tries of the day through their scrumhalf Jonathan Reyes. Despite playing a little bit more of occupation rugby, UC San Diego still suffered from their lack of possession. Losing a lot of their scrums, UC San Diego lost too many balls to compete, and despite a late try by winger Raghav Bhardwaj, the Tritons could not avoid defeat.

The Tritons are back on the road next week for their second league match at Azusa Pacific.

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Jan 23 M Rugby

POSTED BY MICHAEL ZHONG

Men’s Rugby Season Opener at Cal Lutheran

UC San Diego Men’s Rugby opened up regular season play on the road at California Lutheran University on Saturday. After a much disputed first half, the Tritons could not keep up with the Knights and were ultimately defeated 45-5.

The opening day of Gold Coast Division II play saw the Tritons face up against a determined CLU team. The match was even in the first half as teams traded scoring occasions until CLU’s winger broke through at the 20th minute to make the score 5-0 in favor of the home team. Shortly after, the Triton’s own eight-man, Carlos Munoz, got just a few meters away from scoring the equalizing try, but was penalized for dangerous play and lost possession of the ball. CLU then exploited a 4 on 2 opportunity on the wing to score their second try through their fly-half with just 5 minutes left to play in the first half. The Tritons finally broke through with a minute remaining, when captain Judah Word took the ball on a pick-and-go and scored the try to bring the score to 5-12 at halftime.

UC San Diego returned to the field in the second half full of good intentions but got caught cold when CLU scored two tries in the first 10 minutes of the 2nd half. The Tritons kept getting beat out wide, and despite a solid scrum, lost too many possessions on their lineouts to rival with CLU’s wingers speed. With two more tries, the score held at 33-5 with 20 minutes remaining in the game. The Knights were reduced to 14 players for 10 minutes after a dangerous play, but UC San Diego could not exploit it ultimately falling 45-5 after two more tries by CLU.

With the final score, UC San Diego fell 7 tries to 1, but the score overlooked the fact that for most of the game the Tritons matched up well with CLU. The Tritons now have to regroup before they play Fullerton in a friendly next weekend at home. Their next league game is scheduled for Saturday Feb. 6 at Azusa Pacific.

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