California routed North Carolina State and Middlebury College Friday and led Arkansas State at halftime before dropping a 10-7 decision to the Red Wolves in pool play at the USA Rugby National College 7s Championships held at Penberthy Sports Complex at Texas A&M.
The Golden Bears will start their Saturday against Texas, which defeated Virginia to end its first day.
Cal began its tournament against a scrappy Middlebury team that limited the Bears to a 12-0 halftime lead on tries by captain Seamus Kelly and Anthony Lombardo. Cal remained on the gas to end the match with a 29-0 victory on five tries.
North Carolina State was a stout second challenge. The Wolfpack tied the match 12-12 on the second try by Abraham Harman before Jake Anderson scored two tries, both converted by freshman Russell Webb, to give the Bears a 26-12 victory.
Frantic sequences and squandered opportunities affected both Cal and Arkansas State as they ended their day in a tight battle. The Red Wolves took the opening kickoff only to be penalized at the ensuing breakdown.
Cal tried to capitalize but was whistled for not releasing the ball after a tackle, and so it went until Kelly found sophomore Andrew Battaglia for a try between the posts, converted by Webb for a 7-0 lead.
Only one minute later, the Red Wolves' Dean Gericke broke free for an 80-meter try, but sophomore Nicklas Boyer forced him to touch down in the corner, leaving a difficult conversion by Robert Elan-Puttick which failed. Cal clung to a 7-5 lead at the break and withstood several attacking phases to open the second frame, counter-attacking with building momentum before Dylan Carrion scored a try to give Arkansas State a 10-7 lead. A missed conversion by Paul Benade left the door open and the Bears poured on the pressure before committing a knock-on at the Arkansas State 22. Cal's last chance to steal the Red Wolves scrum at their 22 did not materialize and Arkansas State took the victory.
Cal ended Friday having played 14 of the 15 players on its competition roster, shuffling half of its starting lineup between each match. Webb, the first-year playmaker, looks to be done for the weekend after leaving the Arkansas State match with an injury.
A mixture of whirlwind and marathon, the 24-team tournament continues Saturday with a chance for the Bears to build further on a 21-4 record in their first full season of seven-a-side competition.
The Scoring Timeline vs. Middlebury
03:00 Seamus Kelly 5, Russell Webb 2
04:00 Anthony Lombardo 5
Halftime Score: California 12, Middlebury 0
11:00 Jake Anderson 5
12:00 Michael Bush 5, Russell Webb 2
13:00 Seamus Kelly 5
Final Score: California 29, Middlebury 0
The Team vs. Middlebury
1. Okusi, 2. Battaglia, 3. Kelly ©, 4. Webb, 5. Anderson, 6. Lombardo, 7. Tucker
Replacements: Boyer, Bush, Hendrickson, Braun
The Scoring Timeline vs. NC State
01:00 Andre Coquillard 5
04:00 Andre Coquillard 5, Russell Webb 2
07:00 NC State (Abraham Harman) 5, (Robert Jordan) 2
Halftime Score: California 12, NC State 7
09:00 NC State (Abraham Harman) 5
11:00 Jake Anderson 5, Russell Webb 2
13:00 Jake Anderson 5, Russell Webb 2
Final Score: California 26, NC State 12
The Team vs. NC State
1. Coquillard, 2. Braun, 3. Kelly (c), 4. Webb, 5. Bosco, 6. Anderson, 7. Barrientes
Replacements: Battaglia, Boyer
The Scoring Timeline vs. Arkansas State
04:00 Andrew Battaglia 5, Russell Webb 2
05:00 Arkansas State (Dean Gericke) 5
Halftime Score: California 7, Arkansas State 5
10:00 Arkansas State (Dylan Carrion) 5
Final Score: Arkansas State 10, California 7
The Team vs. Arkansas State
1. Coquillard, 2. Battaglia, 3. Kelly ©, 4. Boyer, 5. Webb, 6. Anderson, 7. Lombardo Replacements: Bosco, Bush, Tucker
USA Rugby College 7s National Championships
Friday Pool-Play Results
Life 31, Northeastern 7
California 29, Middlebury 0
Wisconsin 26, Colorado State 12
Arkansas State 29, NC State 5
Central Washington 19, Texas 0
Navy 21, Dartmouth 10
Kutztown 50, Virginia 0
Cal Poly 19, Air Force 12
Texas A&M 31, Bowling Green 7
Lindenwood 21, San Diego State 12
Saint Mary's 19, Western Washington 17
Delaware 17, Davenport 0
California 26, NC State 12
Life 50, Colorado State 0
Arkansas State 38, Middlebury 0
Northeastern 24, Wisconsin 12
Dartmouth 40, Air Force 12
Central Washington 36, Virginia 0
Navy 26, Cal Poly 19
Kutztown 28, Texas 10
San Diego State 12, Delaware 5
Texas A&M 38, Western Washington 0
Lindenwood 14, Davenport 12
Saint Mary's 19, Bowling Green 12
Life 22, Wisconsin 10
Northeastern 28, Colorado State 5
Arkansas State 10, California 7
Middlebury 19, NC State 7
Central Washington 26, Kutztown 17
Texas 24, Virginia 5
Dartmouth 12, Cal Poly 10
Navy 12, Air Force 7
Saint Mary's 17, Texas A&M 5
Western Washington 19, Bowling Green 14
San Diego State 19, Davenport 14
Delaware 22, Lindenwood 0
California vs. Texas, 9:20 a.m. CT
Follow @CalVarsityRugby on Twitter for Cal's schedule after this match.
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