Gaels Defeat UCSB Gauchos 94-0
Gaels Defeat UCSB Gauchos 94-0
By: Christian Portillo
January 14, 2017
MORAGA, CALIF. - The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos made the trip up north from beautiful Isla Vista to the quiet town of Moraga. The talented, albeit young, team came into the match more concerned about how they play as a team than they cared about the final score against a team that has appeared in the national championship four years in a row. This strategy employed by Coach Tim Lewis was the right one, as Saint Mary’s defeated his Gauchos 94-0.
The first half belonged to the Wallaces of Saint Mary’s. Tommy and Mike Wallace combined to score Saint Mary’s first four tries of the match, which were all successfully converted. Five minutes into the match, Tommy Wallace picked up a loose ball near midfield and sprinted all the way down for the first try of the game. Dylan Audsley’s conversion was good per usual. About fourteen minutes later, Mike Wallace took a forward fumble down the right sideline for a converted try of his own. Less than two minutes later, Tommy Wallace scored on the left sideline for his second try of the match. Six minutes later, captain Kevin O’Connor offloaded the ball to Tommy Wallace, who scored once again for a hat trick of tries, which must have made his dad, John Wallace, smile while providing live commentary for GaelVision.
Down 28-0 after the combined damage courtesy of the Wallaces, UC Santa Barbara could not get into much of a rhythm. This was evident when Vili Helu deflected a Gauchos’ lineout pass, leading to a try from freshman Payton Telea with the assist coming from sophomore Nick Hryekewicz after great side-to-side passing from the whole Gaels’ side. Audsley made his fifth consecutive conversion to begin the game and to give Saint Mary’s a 35-0 advantage.
Mike Wallace continued his stellar play with an incredible one-handed behind-the-back offload to Vili Helu, who had to extend his long frame just to reach the try line and score. As the clock was winding down to halftime, Kevin O’Connor got past the try line just in time for the try to give the Gaels a 45-0 lead.
Payton Telea received the second half kickoff from the Gauchos and nobody could take him down. It will be fun to watch him progress throughout the season because he is only a freshman and has lots of potential as a member of the front row for years to come.
Alejandro Duran, who came in as a reserve, had a good run that was followed by some good passing and was capped off with Kevin O’Connor assisting Helu for a try on the left side. Although the conversion missed to the left, the Gaels had scored an even 50 points.
Ten minutes into the second half, fifth-year senior Alec Barton used a great mix of skilled footwork, strength, and balance to find his way into the try zone. The Gauchos had a hard time tackling Telea whenever he had the ball and his power led to a try by sophomore Aaron Matthews three-and-a-half minutes later. Henry Hall got into the action with a try of his own on the right side as well to extend the Gaels’ lead to 67-0.
With just under twenty minutes remaining, reserve Cory Kroeger faked and stiff-armed his way to the left side of the try zone. Kroeger then initiated a play in which fellow reserve Charlie Louden assisted reserve Alejandro Duran for a try seven minutes later. Anthony Rodriguez also scored on the left side on the try zone just five minutes after.
After successfully converting the first five tries of the game, Dylan Audsley sprinted down the left side of the pitch for a try of his own. Barton easily scored his second converted try of the match to cap it all off at 94-0.
Saint Mary’s scored a total of 16 tries and made seven conversions. Their defense looked good as UC Santa Barbara didn’t get past the line of scrimmage often and struggled to make anything happen near the try zone. However, the Gaels will need to work on their scrums and on committing fewer mental errors that end up in knock ons, dropped passes, and penalties.
Although the young Gauchos weren’t able to get on the board against the Gaels, they saw what a championship-caliber team looks like early on in the season and will greatly learn from this experience. Granted, not every team they will face is a consensus top-five team in the country, and they have a good chance of achieving their goal of ending their playoff drought.
Next up for the Gauchos are the Long Beach State 49ers on Saturday, January 21st, at 1:00 PM at UC Santa Barbara. Their next California Conference match is on January 28th against the Sacramento State Hornets at home as well.
As for Saint Mary’s, who are in the midst of a four game homestand, next up on the schedule are the Utah Utes on Saturday, January 21st, at Saint Mary’s Stadium. The Gaels’ next California Conference matchup is against the Santa Clara Broncos on January 28th to finish the January homestand.