Cal Advances To National Championship Following Last Minute Try Against Saint Mary’s

Saturday, April 27, 2019By Michael Murphy, Class of 2019

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MORAGA Calif. - Two weeks after delivering Saint Mary’s their first loss in Berkeley, Cal hopped over to Moraga and ended the Gaels season with a last minute try in the D1A Western Regional Championship.

Fourteen minutes after the noon kickoff at Saint Mary’s Stadium, Sean Yacoubian (Scrumhalf, Sr.) put SMC on the board slotting a penalty kick after Cal was caught jumping offsides. Shortly after, Bears hooker Jack Manzo utilized the work of the forwards and snuck over and Sam Walsh converted putting the bears ahead 7-3.

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After a series of knock-ons from both sides, SMC found themselves scrumming five meters out and a swift pass from Yacoubian to Pite Lopeti (Center, Soph.) allowed him to slice through and score. Yacoubian converted and the Bears lead was cut to four.

Cal had the final say in the first half as Sam Walsh found his way into open field. After converting his own try, Cal was ahead 21-17 going into halftime.

With 57 minutes gone, Ronan Murphy (Flanker, Jr.) was able to put SMC within reach. His try along with Yacoubians kick once again cut Cal’s lead to four.

In the 74th minute, Yacoubian received a quick pass from Murphy and found his way in to score in the corner and successfully converted to put the Gaels ahead 24-21.

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Cal answered back in the final minute. After a shifty move out on the wing, Sam Cusano was able to seal the deal for Cal scoring beyond fulltime to put the Bears ahead 28-24 at the final whistle.

The Bears handed Saint Mary’s their only two losses of the season. Cal will face Life University for the second year in a row in the D1A National Championship on Saturday May, 4 at Santa Clara University.