Saint Mary’s B-Side Defeats Sierra College 95-17 | Christian Portillo

MORAGA, CALIF. - Although the A-Side had the day off and the C-Side match against the University of Portland was cancelled, there was still Gael Rugby to be played at the Saint Mary’s Stadium this past Saturday. The B-Side took on Sierra College from Rocklin, California in a full 80 minute match and then 20 minutes of extended play.

Winger Derek Ellingson, the 6’1’’ junior from nearby Walnut Creek, got the Gaels off to a quick, hot start by scoring a try on the right side. Vicente Cunha-Vaz, the sophomore from Portugal, successfully made his first of many conversions.

Although you can usually see him scoring tries for the A-Side, Tommy Wallace was getting some reps with the B-Side and scored a try off of a Kraig Roscoe assist only four minutes into the match. Cunha-Vaz’s conversion was good to give the Gaels an early 14-0 lead.

Eight minutes later, prop Peter Walden put his head down and scored in the left corner. Cunha-Vaz sent a beautiful, high-arching kick through the uprights to make the conversion and extend the lead to 21-0.

Once the Gaels were in the red zone again, the ball was swung to the left side and Tommy Wallace made a beautiful one hand catch in the corner and spun to score another try in the left corner. The conversion was signalled good to give the Gaels a 28-0 lead.

After a kick was caught and brought down in the right corner for an unconverted try, hooker Nick Hyrekewicz burst through the right side for an unconverted try of his own.

Five minutes later, Alejandro Duran received a clean offload and took it through the throat of the defense for a try. For the first time in the last three attempts, the conversion was good and extended the Gaels’ lead to 45-0 with ten minutes remaining in the first half.

With 7:20 to go until halftime, Sierra College got on the scoreboard with a try of their own on the far right side. The conversion also went to the right, but too far to the right and missed. With this try, Sierra College was down 45-5.

Saint Mary’s responded by scoring a try up the middle to reach the 50 point mark. Not only did Cunha-Vaz make the conversion, he also placed a perfect kick to the right side of the field, where it was easily caught and taken in for another Saint Mary’s try.

To end the first half, Tommy Wallace sped up down the left sideline and managed to touch the ball down in the try zone while simultaneously being brought down along with the try zone pole for a hat trick. Cunha-Vaz’s eighth made conversion (out of ten attempts) was perfect from the left side and gave the Gaels a 66-5 lead heading into halftime.

A little bit more than six minutes into the second half, it was Tommy Wallace again who picked up a loose ball and took it in for his fourth try of the afternoon.

After a Sierra College player was given a yellow card and had to sit out for ten minutes because of a high tackle, Saint Mary’s took advantage of having one more man on the pitch and scored a try on the power play to expand the lead to 76-5.

After some good passing, Derek Ellingson found a big hole open up before him and just exploded through for his second try of the day. This unconverted try was followed by another Saint Mary’s try after an inside cut to the middle of the try zone. The successful conversion put the score at 88-5, Gaels.

With 18:30 remaining in the game, Sierra College’s 8-man scored a try on the right side of the goalpost. The conversion was made and got Sierra 12 points. Moments later, after good running by the whole team, Sierra College’s fullback ran down the left sideline and placed the ball in the middle of the try zone for their third and final try of the game to give them 17 points on the day.

Saint Mary’s was not quite done yet and a stolen ball followed by a nice run led to the Gaels’ final converted try for a grand total of 95 points on the day to win by a score of 95-17.

Although the full 80 minutes had been played, both sides opted for some more rugby, because why not? The two sides played a twenty minute match in which Saint Mary’s scored on both sides of the goalposts before allowing Sierra to burst through the middle for a try of their own. Each side had one player receive a red card and both were subsequently disqualified by the young referee. Paul Tiernan put the finishing touches on the day by also breaking free for a try and to end the twenty minutes in the Gaels’ favor once more, 15-5.

The Saint Mary’s B-Side continues play next week at Cal Berkeley on March 25th after the A-Side match, which is at 5:00 P.M.