LOS ANGELES – The University of California opened its 2012 season with two wins at the UCLA Tournament as 31 Golden Bears, including 18 underclassmen, helped position the Bears for a battle for first place against the host Bruins on Sunday at 1:30 pm PT by blanking USC, 66-0, and dispatching Oregon State, 50-3.
The Bears (2-0) advance to this tournament's final for the seventh straight year to play the host Bruins for the sixth straight time in the event also called the Dennis Storer Classic in honor of the former UCLA coach and first head coach of the U.S. National Team.
Against USC, head coach Jack Clark started eight freshmen and four sophomores, adding two more freshmen as reserves. Underclassmen occupied the entire front and back rows of the scrum, and, other than the halfback and pivot, the entire backline.
The team delivered 10 tries against the Trojans, with a hat trick from fullback Spencer Morris and a pair of tries from insider center Eakalafi Okusi. Senior Kyle Caravelli started at scrumhalf and ran the team well, while junior Brandon Kraft distributed the ball from flyhalf and connected on 8-of-10 conversion kicks.
The Trojans' best chance to score may have been from winger Tal Yogev, whose 38-meter penalty kick was short early in the first half.
A lineup that included five sophomores later took the pitch against Oregon State to score eight tries, with a 39-meter penalty kick by Beavers flyhalf Nick Cutrell the only points yielded by Cal on Saturday. Fullback Jake Anderson and wing Josh Tucker both scored pairs for the Bears, with flyhalf Andre Coquillard connecting on 5-of-8 conversions.
"After two weeks of training camp, it's really good to get out and play,"
said sophomore Paul Bosco, who handled the scrumhalf duties against the Beavers. "Some of the younger guys put in a good performance today. But we had some lapses in communication and there's a lot of stuff to work on."
"Obviously a lot to improve on, but a solid effort for the first day,"
added fellow sophomore Patrick Coleman, who played lock against Oregon State.
Added Scott Walsh, who played his first-ever match at prop in his collegiate debut against USC, "We're definitely happy for the first win.
In the last half we got a little sloppy ... we need to work hard at the tail end of games."
Tries: Morris 3, Frisinger, Chipman, Okusi 2, Melnick, Simons
Convs: Kraft 8
Tries Fach, Shaulis, Anderson, Tucker
Convs: Coquillard 2
Oregon State 3
Saturday Pool Results
UCLA 47, USC 0
Oregon State 13, Stanford 7
California 66, USC 0
UCLA 48, Stanford 7
California 50, Oregon State 3
Stanford 14, USC 14
UCLA 29, Oregon State 10
Pool A (W-L-T, Points)
California (2-0-0, 10)
USC (0-2-1, 2)
Pool B (W-L-T, Points)
UCLA (3-0-0, 14)
Oregon State (1-2-0, 4)
Stanford (0-2-1, 3)