– written by Public Relations Chair Adam Bushell
USC traveled down the peninsula to take on UC Santa Barbara at the picturesque Palos Verdes High School. With no 7’s commitments this weekend, the Trojans had their full complement of players available for the first time this Fall season.
UCSB plays in Division 1-A, which is a division higher than USC, so the Trojans understood the challenge before them. Out of the gate, the Gauchos put the Trojans under pressure by dominating possession inside the USC half. However, a turn of events returned possession to USC and allowed for fly-half Adam Bushell to supply a grub kick through to inside center Joey Krassenstein. A fortunate bounce placed the ball into Krassenstein’s hands and it was try time Trojans. Off the restart, UCSB again pounded into USC’s territory and came inches from the try line, but was denied points by a supreme goal line stand by the Trojans over several phases of play.
Back with possession, USC took the ball into the opposite half and the test of goal line defense was now on UCSB. After a number of phases, hooker Michael Cesar pummeled over the line to score USC’s second and the convert made it 14-0. UCSB managed to nudge a penalty kick over for three, finishing the half with the score 14-3. The second half saw the forwards dominating the play once more, holding off the Gauchos from scoring for the entirety of the half. A penalty kick was scored by USC early on. Cesar once again proved too much for UCSB to handle as he rolled another one over the line following a long drive by the forward pack. The final try of the day was scored when Krassenstein exploited an opening off of a quick-tapped penalty. Dancing around two UCSB players and brushing off another, Krassentein’s individual effort was awarded with his second try of the game. All tries converted, the final score equated to 31-3, marking a dominant win for the Trojans. The forward pack had been rock solid in all aspects of the game and were responsible for the score difference between the two teams.
Coach Loa Milford commented on the performance, “I thought we were solid in defense, though I’d like to see us apply more pressure in the opposition backline. We need to continue to work on our attack and patterns of play. I thought it was a solid performance but we still have a long way to go. UCSB blooded over 20 rugby neophytes so the final favored us a bit.”
In the 2nd XV’s match, USC showed some resilience and came away with a victory as well. Tries went to Nick Ludwig, Oliver Dabao, Robert Sieh, Gordon Stewart, making the final score 25-17. Ludwig’s intercept try at full-time sealed the deal for the men of Troy.