– By Adam Bushell, Public Relations Chair
The 7’s team travelled to Cal Poly, SLO this past weekend to compete in this year’s West Coast Sevens tournament. Going into the tournament ranked eleventh of twelve teams, USC had much to prove in their quest for recognition amongst the best of the west.
Early morning pool play proved a tough entrance into the tournament, going up against reputable sides San Diego State and Arizona State. The opening game against SDSU proved a greater challenge than expected, with USC conceding several early tries to the Aztecs and failing to maintain possession of the ball for more than one or two phases. The Trojans fell 34-0. The second match saw ASU mark their territory with a confident win over the Trojans. USC made strides in the game, holding the eventual pool winners to a 35-5 victory. Hooker Michael Cesar scored an unconverted try for USC.
Finishing pool play in third, USC was relegated to the Bowl playoffs. Facing teams more equally matched, USC now had a chance to turn the day around. The team met the University of Nevada, Reno in their first play-off matchup and were finally able to develop a rhythm to their play. Carl Aguirre scored twice and Joseph Krassenstein and Mitch Suzuki each scored once. The game finished 22-17 in favor of the Trojans who advanced to play Stanford in the Bowl final. Stanford showed fatigue from their semi-final match against SBCC and were unable to match the pace of USC’s play. USC showed its depth as substitutes took the place of the day’s starters seamlessly, keeping pressure on Stanford for the duration of the game. The formation and strategy of USC was arguably the best we have seen yet. Final score: 20-5 in favor of the Trojans.
Coach Adam Siddall summarized the day, “The team started slowly in pool play against tough opposition but showed heart and continued to fight for everything. In the playoff stages with more possession and a better understanding of the pattern, the team illustrated its attacking danger with many line breaks and tries”
USC won the Bowl and finished the day ranked ninth, a two-place improvement from the beginning of the day. In theory, USC could have done better had their draw not been so difficult. SDSU took the Plate and ASU lost in the Cup final to Cal. USC has another two chances to prove their worth, first at an SDSU hosted sevens tournament on October 24th and then on to the annual PAC-12 tournament on November 7th.