Friday, May 2--Palo Alto, Calif.—The Saint Mary's Men's Rugby team lost to Cal this afternoon by a score of 41-31, in the team's first-ever semi-final match. The Gaels end their season at 20-4 overall.
The Gaels played a tough match from the opening kickoff, though Cal got on the board first with three converted tries, making the score 21-0. Pat Grass ('11) blocked a kick in the first ten minutes to keep the ball in the Gaels' possession.
With that momentum, prop Matt Crawford ('11) scored the Gaels' first try, converted by senior flyhalf Matt Leatherby. Two minutes later, Saint Mary's scored again on a bobbled pass from senior wing Ryan Martens to freshman fullback Austen Mount, who was following closely in support and scored in the corner. The unconverted try by the Gaels and a penalty kick by Cal put the scoreline at 29-12 at halftime, in favor of the Golden Bears.
In the second half, Saint Mary's kept the pressure on and spent most of their time on the attack. Cal struck first, putting the score at 36-12, and SMC came back with a score of their own. Freshman scrumhalf Chad Clark touched the ball down under the posts to make the score 36-17, and Leatherby converted to make the score 36-19. Cal scored another unconverted try about five minutes later.
The Gaels re-gained their strength and momentum near the end of the game, again scoring two tries within minutes of each other. With three minutes to go, sophomore lock Kyle Batten scored and Leatherby converted to bring the score to 41-26.
Capping a 5-year career with the Gaels, senior hooker Conor Coyne scored the Gaels' last points, touching down a try as time expired. Leatherby's conversion attempt was only inches off, hitting the left goalpost to leave the final score at 41-31.
Highlights of the Gaels' season this year include a South American tour and several upset wins. With the leadership instilled in the group and the youth and skill present on the team, Saint Mary's looks to return a strong team next year.
The Gaels would like to thank everyone who supported the team this season!