By Adam Bushell
USC travelled to UC Irvine on Saturday for their league opener in the Gold Coast Conference. After a successful Fall campaign, first year Head Coach Loa Milford tested his expectations for the Trojans. The game kicked off with the Trojans dominating play and the back line exploiting ample room. It took only three minutes for Center Joey Krassenstein to make a line break after showing a dummy and breaking free to score under the posts. The successful conversion made it 7-0.
Minutes later, the Trojans were back in their opponent’s half, making consistent strides toward the line through several phases of play. After stealing a lineount on the attacking 5-meter line, the USC forwards methodically drove closer to the try line. Lock DeMarco Scavuzzi made the final hit-up and scored in the corner. The conversion fell short. 12-0 Trojans.
Momentum stayed with the Trojans throughout the rest of the first half, allowing freshman Center Dmitry Veremeenko to find room out wide and score his first try for the team. Winger Mitch Suzuki also got his first score after a flawlessly executed play by the backline left the UC Irvine defense in shatters. The Anteaters got on the scoreboard with their only try of the half with some well executed forward play. Veremeenko got his second tally right before the half time whistle, putting the score at 31-5.
Momentum slowed in the second half as the Trojan’s indiscipline at the breakdown proved costly. A Trojan in the sin bin left the team a player down for ten minutes and USC were up against their goal line for a majority of that time. Eventually, UCI notched their second score of the match. Substitutions came in and USC went back to full strength for the closing passages of play. Replacement Hooker Oliver Dabao got his first career try from a quick-tapp penalty deep into Anteaters’ territory. The game finished 38-10, marking a convincing first win of the season for USC and a proud moment for Coach Milford.
The Trojans travel to CSU Long Beach this Saturday for an important early season encounter.