On to the next one, California team captain Nic Mirhashem suggested after his team rolled to a 109-0 victory over the Arizona State Sun Devils (2-1, 0-1 PAC) Saturday. The blowout result is the California Golden Bears’ (7-0, 1-0 PAC) third victory by a triple-digit margin this season in 15-a-side action.
”We want to keep making progress toward our improvement without neglecting the next match in front of us, and that next one is Cal Poly,” Mirhashem said in a prepared statement. The team captain led his side with three tries posted in the 11th, 40th and 48th minutes. California sophomore wing Marcus Shankland and freshman flyback Sam Walsh found the try zone three times each, too.
The home side converted just 37 percent of post-try kicks as wintery conditions in Berkeley, Calif., limited flyhalfs Elliot Webb and Sam Walsh. Weather notwithstanding, Webb contributed 20 points, and Walsh scored 19 on the day.
In all, 10 Golden Bears scored 19 tries and conceded none. Despite posting their fifth shutout in a young season, California Head Coach Jack Clark was not satisfied.
“For us, we need to focus on our improvement. Obviously, there are some excellent teams on the horizon,” Coach Clark said plainly.
The U.S. Rugby Hall of Famer shared similar feedback with the Golden Bears before Saturday’s PAC conference opener. In post-match interviews Thursday, Coach Clark lamented a lack of finesse in California’s play, adding it was haphazard and “a bit random.”
Earlier this week California traveled to Vallejo, Calif., and posted a 60-3 score against the California Maritime Academy Keelhaulers (5-2, 2-0 National Small College Rugby Organization Northern California Conference) in their final non-conference contest of the season. The Golden Bears fielded only first-years and sophomores in their first full away game this season.
California boasts a home-heavy schedule this season, playing host in nine of 16 matches. The Golden Bears’ next fixture is against the Cal Poly Mustangs on Feb. 16 and will begin at Witter Rugby Field at 1 p.m. PT.
It is unclear whether fifth-year wing Zachary Tavenner or junior Sam Cusano will be a part of California’s Starting XV against the Mustangs. Both Golden Bears exited the Arizona State game because of injury. Tavenner was replaced in the 2nd minute while Cusano substituted-out in the second half.