Author: Juliet Suess
The Occidental Men’s Rugby team advanced to the Elite Eight today with a 24-12 victory over Benedictine (Atchison, Kan.) today in Glendale, Colo. The team will play U Denver tomorrow in order to advance to the Final Four next weekend.
The score of today’s game was a little bit too close for the team’s comfort, according to Barnaby Audsley, so the team looks to get off to a fast start tomorrow.
“It was a tough game but I think our quality told towards the end,” Barnaby said in an email interview with The Occidental Weekly. “We definitely have things to work on for tomorrow but I trust my teammates to pull together and get the result tomorrow.”
The main focus for tomorrow is defense in order to run away with a more definite victory tomorrow.
“As a team our defense, especially our goal line defense, needs to step up so that the other team won’t be this close in the game. At this level every team we face is good. These are the top 16 teams in the nation, so we have to play a perfect game,” Oscar Flores said in an email interview with The Weekly.
Jacob Sertich attributes the close game to not expecting the higher level of competition; Occidental is undefeated until this point.
” I believe this game humbled our team a bit and brought the reality of higher level of competition that other teams bring to the plate,” Sertich said in an email. “We pulled together as unit even under utmost pressure, staying calm, cool and collected throughout the game; as well as Campbell Scotts tweets fueling the fire.”
Flores also noted that the depth of the Occidental team has made them a threat to the other teams at the tournament.
“One of the things that made us successful is our ‘super subs’ as Coach Paki likes to call this our backup personnel,” he said. “We win as a team and lose as a team. Their fresh legs are vital to keep the our fight at the Elite level. What also kept us in the game was turning up our gameplay entirely. The game was much closer than I had wanted. We kept them from scoring more and put one more score on the board before the game ended.”
Sertich said that although their victory today was important, the team will not rely on the win but use it as motivation to continue winning.
“I won’t judge teams of the future by our successes of the past; every team is a new challenge, one that Occidental Rugby is up for,” Sertich said.
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