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.