When two teams lay it all on the line, you get a game full of mixed emotions. On the one hand, there’s the heartache of a loss, but the knowledge that you did your best. On the other, there’s the thrill of victory, but the awareness that you still have work to do.
On a sunny and gusty day in Ellensburg, Central Washington and Saint Mary’s fought for sole possession of 2nd place in the College Premier Division Pacific Conference. And despite a plethora of fundamental mistakes, Saint Mary’s barely got by Central 22-18, scoring in the final minutes to win.
“We were our own worst enemy today,” Saint Mary’s Head Coach Tim O’Brien said. “We played well, but made a lot of errors with the basics and were fortunate to get a win today.”
The game started extremely slow for both teams with array of penalties and knock-ons that halted any chance of scoring. When the score read 6-0 at half in favor of Central, it was obvious that both squads still had a lot left in the tank.
The second half started with quick pacing of the rucks and scores from both squads. Saint Mary’s scored the next two tries to gain slight momentum, but Central countered quickly off the next kickoff with a Tim Stanfill try to get the home crowd back on their feet. However, when Saint Mary’s outside center Tim Maupin scored the last try from 60 meters out, the scoreboard and momentum went back to the Gaels for good.
“I am extremely proud of our team and the way they fought,” Central Washington head coach Bob Ford said. “We played great rugby for a full 80 minutes and I couldn’t ask more from them.”
Now Saint Mary’s can breathe easy with a playoff berth and will look to end their season on good note in two weeks against UCLA. For the Wildcats, it’s all about pride when they take on UCLA next week and finish out their season against San Diego State.
St. Mary's 22
Tries: Maupin, Evans, Haley, Brewer
Tries: Stanfill, Hamilton
Pens: Hamilton 2