St. Mary's in red, Utah in hoops. Michael Geib photos.
St. Mary's weathered early Utah pressure and defeated the touring Utes 41-10 Friday in Moraga, Calif.
Utah had the lion's share of possession and territory in the first half, but were frustrated by the staunch Gaels defense, and even more so by the excellent St. Mary's counter-attack. The Gaels ran in three early tries, two from prop Nick Wallace, to take a lead they never relinquished.
St. Mary's captain Andrew Cook was pleased with his team's performance.
"Things kind of went our way today," Cook told RUGBYMag.com. "It was a super physical game and Utah put us under a lot of pressure. But they made some unlucky errors and we were working our pattern pretty well today."
It all came down to good D.
"They had a lot of ball, but we were able to weather the storm," said Cook. "Our defense was pretty tight today."
St. Mary's have been very active leading into this 2012 season. They played in two 7s tournaments (winning 10 and losing 2), and in 15s have played, and beaten, UC Santa Barbara, Diablo, SFGG, Back Bay, and Sacramento State.
"It's been nice to play these games," said Cook. "We look at it as taking a step forward rather than winning the game. We play, analyze the film, and learn from it. That's helped us work out the kinks. Against Utah, it's great to play such a physical team, but we came into the game feeling comfortable, and when we did get our hands on the ball were able to capitalize and score."
Cook singled out flanker/lock Kelly Harris for his outstanding work Friday.
St. Mary's 41
St. Mary's also won the B-side match.
Both teams are in action Saturday, with St. Mary's playing Chico State, and Utah taking on SFGG in two matches