National Small College Rugby Organization LLC: Latest News: Cal Maritime Defeats Sonoma State in Hard Fought Game

Sunday, February 17
Cal Maritime Defeats Sonoma State in Hard Fought Game

February 16, 2013, Vallejo, CA

The California Maritime Academy Rugby Team defeated Sonoma State 29 - 19 in a hard fought match between 2 of NorCal Collegiate Rugby Conference's undefeated teams. Sonoma State came into the game with a 2-0 record having won a tight contests earlier against UOP and St. Mary's College (SMC's "C" side) while CMA had notched its first league victory over USF earlier. The Keelhaulers knew the importance of this game and knew Sonoma State was going to bring its big and powerful running attack. Sonoma State did not disappoint and started the scoring off with a powerful run by its #6 and scored under the posts, sending a message to CMA that the game was on. CMA countered with 30 minutes of brilliant attacking pressure that resulted in 4 tries in the last 20 minutes of the first half and a 26 - 7 halftime lead. Good defensive pressure allowed Maritime center and senior Brandon Teepen to pick up a loose ball and run untouched into the try zone for CMA's first score. Senior fullback Will Fitzpatrick would convert the scored try and bring the scores level. Senior lock Axel Krauter and freshman flanker Evan Chambers would both finish off multiple pass attacks with strong goal line charges and scores. Freshman hooker Codi Jones would score CMA's fourth try of the half right before the halftime buzzer. Fitzpatrick would convert 2 of the final 3 tries and bring the halftime score to 26-7 in favor of the Keelhaulers. However, bad decisions, failure to turn repeated offensive pressure into points, and defensive let downs would allow Sonoma State to launch 2 long try scoring runs of their own by their #12 and #8 in the second half. These scores seriously threatened CMA's lead before Fitzpatrick would kick a penalty late in the game to add 3 points and seal CMA's victory.

The Keelhaulers big defensive stand at their own goal line in the last 3 minutes of the game would turn out to be crucial to league standings as it would deny Sonoma State bonus points for scoring 4 tries or for losing by 7 points or less. Each league victory results in 4 points towards league standings, so denying 2 bonus points to Sonoma could very well be extremely important at season's end. CMA would earn 5 points for league standings, 4 for it victory and 1 bonus point for scoring 4 or more tries. Currently, both CMA and Sonoma State have 10 league points. However, CMA has played one fewer game so still has the opportunity to earn more points than Sonoma State.

"For the most part, we withstood Sonoma State's fantastic power running. However, 'for the most part' still resulted in them scoring 3 tries and almost snatching victory out of our hands" said CMA Coach Steven Hiatt. "I was very pleased we responded strongly in the first half because we played with tenacity, focus, and determination and turned that into numerous scores. However, we have a lot of work to do because our performance in the second half was dreadful and almost cost us the game. The team was happy with the victory but not satisfied with the game, either. We have a long way to go to become the team I think this team can become".

CMA's next rugby match will be at home on Bodnar Field on Saturday, February 23, when they play UOP in another league game. Kick-off will be at 1pm. Fans and supporters are encouraged to come out and watch the Keelhaulers face the UOP Power Cats.

Scoring totals: 4 tries, 3 conversions, 1 penalty kick for CMA's 29 points; 3 tries, 2 conversions for Sonoma State's 19 points.

More information can be found on the Official Athletic Website of the California Maritime Academy at http://www.cmakeelhaulers.com

NorCal Collegiate Rugby Conference information and standings can be found at http://www.eteamz.com/norcalcollegiaterugbyconference/