Stingrays Match Reports: March 9, 2019
U18's: Coach Forrest Galante
Congratulations to all Stingrays today, on what I would consider the pinnacle of Stingray rugby. Not because of the win and not because of the score, but because of the enormous amount of heart and physicality, focus and structure brought to the match today by an amazing group of young men.
The #2 ranked HS team in SoCal visited Santa Barbara today, for what I know was a very frustrating day for them.
The game started with SM running in 2 tries in the first 10mins and Stingrays were feeling the pressure trailing 12/0. Even though the Stingrays were very fired up and at first tried to answer SM with frantic physical dominance, they slowly got back into Stingray rugby mode and began to settle into our game structure and then the tables started to turn.
Kiki (Lucas) had an amazing 10mins prior to the second half running the ball up the guts and breaking tackles to make 2 tries and tie it up by half time thanks to Tommo’s Kick.
Also worth mentioning in the first half was captain Rhett’s ability to maintain his teams mental focus. With his calm leadership, he was able to focus his team, fix what was not working (clean up the little bit of foul play that was beginning) and focus his forwards and backs into doing their jobs.
We started the second half with our heads held high and an even score board. SM was sucking wind.
Very quickly we realized that even though this game was hard, intense and incredibly physical, the Stingrays were playing an elevated game of rugby compared to our opponents. Fly half JJ fuller had an incredible break through the center, dodging several tackles to score right under the posts. Another kick and we were up on the score boards for the first time in the game.
Shortly after that the game was tied up again, but the Stingrays answered. Huge open field tackles by Dane, Harrison and Ian, massive rucking by Jay, Jesus and Zac and we started to see a breakdown from Santa Monica. This lead to some desperation kicks from SM that were beautifully received and returned by an amazing combo of Tommos catches, Tommy’s distribution to Anthony and Aaron (the manchild) who went full psycho and ran it in twice like a bolder down hill, blowing up everything in his path.
Soon, we were up 29/17 and the ball was kicked to touch. Stingrays performed our practiced 4man line out with surgical like precision, securing the ball thanks to Sean’s positioning and stopping a huge forward of theirs, as said forward hit the ground a huge sweeping leg ruck was blown up by new player Matt who took out 4 guys single handely. Tommy offloaded the ball to Ian who blew up another attempted tackler and then sent it out to Sandro who managed to, through great ground work, set up great offensive ruck leading to a wide ball and gaining us another try.
This was the point at which the other team went from frantic shouting and upset to full defeat. They hung their heads and fell silent. The Stingrays capitalized on this and scored 2 more very quick open field tries before the final whistle blew.
41/22 was the final score.
The thing that impressed me the most today, was that the ?Stingrays stepped up to a challenge and dominated it. They faced an older, longer standing club with an amazing track record and instead of falling apart when the odds were against them and they were down on the score board, they showed true Stingray heart and tenacity, executed our game plan and stayed focused and positive to take a solid win.
In my opinion, this motley crew of 15-18 year old freshman to seniors is the best group of HS rugby players on the west coast. It’s an honor to call ourselves your coaches.
U14's: Coach Richard Lotz
The U-14's match was a friendly as ORCA had only 9 players. Two of our best volunteered to play with them creating even sides.The game started out fast with 2 quick scores by Davis and Waylon. Garo had a fantastic 80 meter try-- but he was playing for ORCA!! The Stingrays controlled the ball most of the first half giving very little possession to ORCA. At half time the Stingrays were ahead for good! The second half was again dominated by the Stingrays. Nicholas scores twice for his first scores of the year!! Ryan, Joe and Everett controlled the interior and Nathan made multiple tackles on the outside.The combined running and meters gained by Elias, Waylon and Eric exhausted ORCA- even with a 3 man advantage. The Stingrays won 42-12.
U16's: Coach Richard Lotz
The U-16's match was a 7's games with a combined U14 and U16 team from ORCA and the Stingrays. ORCA had the upper hand in the first half and were ahead 22-5 at half time. With a number of the Stingrays regular U16's out ill or on the HS team --SB struggled for ball possession. Elias Finkle agreed to play on the ORCA side and had a nice game! Sandro Cate controlled the game for the first half before retiring for the HS game. Aric Lotz came on in relief and had a number of long runs and thundering tackles. Garo again had many meters gained. Ultimately ORCA won 30-5
We are all looking forward to next weeks games in Buellton.
U12's: Coach Peter Aguilar
The U12s played 3 "halves" against the Orca today and both squads played well. The Orca came out strong and brought the intensity early. After scoring a couple of tries against us, the Stingrays started to bite back. Several big runs by Isaiah, Ben and the rest of the forwards, helped move the ball downfield and kept us in the match. Laird and Diego combined for an early score and we saw some good ball movement by the backs. Aaron ran hard until he was sidelined for a bit with a minor injury - luckily he would return later and came back strong at the end. Our backs, including Jack, Hudson, Bradley, and Davey played well, but the size of the Ventura team presented a challenge for our team. On a few occasions, their bigger players ran through arm tackles and scored tries against our defense. Despite the size differential, our boys played hard and continued to run well into the latter part of the match. Travis, our Man of the Match, played like a beast all day - and did a great job of slowing down bigger players and made some big stops. After trading tries all day, the Orca came out on top with 12 tries to 11. The Stingrays will use this day as motivation for the end of the season and to prepare for a re-match with the Orca! Go Stingrays!!