SMC Men’s Rugby Defeats UCSB Gauchos in the Gaels’ First Home Match

In the November 18 battles, both Gaels A-Side and B-Side win resounding victories.

by Forrest Page '25 | November 19, 2023

The Gaels kicked off the first matches of the home season by winning a pair of resounding victories over the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, with the Saint Mary’s A-side winning 88–12 and the SMC B-Side racking up a resounding 108–0 shutout.

First Points on the Board—and No Looking Back

In what was a well-fought game by both A-Side teams, the Gaels quickly gained the high ground over UCSB with the first points on the board made by King Matu ’24, No. 8, within the first few minutes. The mud and rain didn’t manage to slow down the Gaels, as they utilized No. 10 Eric Storti’s MA ’24 kicks with quick ball movement on the wing between No. 11 Zach Pua ’26 and No. 15 Iosefa Toia’ivao ’26. Toia’ivao was able to score on one of Storti’s kick to the wing within seven minutes into the first half.

Rugby Playing on the field
Cathal Coakley '24 looks for the advantage through the UCSB defense.

The Gaels showed a strong forward pack in the lineouts and scrums, and they capitalized on the penalties against UCSB. Saint Mary’s put points on the board with their unstoppable malls, and highlights of the play included great trys from No. 7 Kaipono Kayoshi MA ’24 and No. 2 Kieran Tingin ’26.

But the Gauchos were not backing down. UCSB put up points after a try from No. 11 Quin Massy 10 minutes into the game and again at 23 minutes with No. 14 Luke Green. The Gaels managed to prevent UCSB from putting any more points on the board for the remainder of the match, and a few more Gaels got on the scoreboard. 

Saint Mary’s No. 13 Sosia Pongi ’26 and Matu went on to score a majority of the trys for the Gaels throughout the rest of the match. No. 9 Hunter Modlin ’24 made the majority of this game’s conversions, showing his ability to bring organization over the field as scrumhalf.  No. 4 Cathal Coakley ‘24 brought a strong finish with a try, and No. 22 Noah Miller ‘27 scored the last try of the game. The match concluded after a conversion made by Coakley, with a final score of 88–12 in favor of the Gaels.  

Rugby kicks for conversion
Hunter Modlin '24 kicks to start the game.

The Unmatchable Gaels B-Side

The SMC  B-side came out strong while moving with sheer intensity against the UCSB B-Side. For the fans gathered in Moraga, it was really fun game to watch the Gaels were able to utilize every part of the field. Sant Mary’s delivered seemingly endless big hits, brave offloads, and powerful runs. 

No. 1 Andreas Angelopoulos ’25 hit hard and scored an impressive try after a classic offload from No. 5 Brian Mc’Keon ’25. Gaels freshman No. 12 Ethan Younger '27 played a vital role in the match, demonstrating incredible field vision and knowledge of the game. This opened up space for the Gaels to get creative in their game while UCSB seemed to play more head-on. Altogether, the Gaels showed a flawless chemistry, setting an unmatchable pace.

No. 6 Mathew Abbes '26 had an exceptional game with his ability to break the UCSB defense, putting a lot of points on the board. No. 3 Daniel Fukofuka '25 and No. 19 Zachary Allen '24 continuously put pressure on the UCSB defense. No. 18 Tristen Mc’Alister '24 and No. 18 Cade Lujan '24 also were aggressive on offense, which actively pushed UCSB’s defense back and led the Gaels on to gain more ground. Without a dull moment throughout this entire match, the final score was a remarkable 108 to 0 in favor of the Gaels.               

rugby player with the ball
Michael Curran '24 pushes through the UCSB defense.

LEARN MORE about Men's Rugby at SMC

View the Game Day program and roster.

Recruiting questionnaire available for interested prospective students. 

READ MORE: “With an Eye on the National Championship, for Saint Mary’s Rugby There’s Always More to Do“

Story updated November 20, 2023 at 9:30 a.m.