Wildcats falter against Utah Valley

Brandon May

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A Weber State player runs with the ball against Utah Valley on Feb. 18. (Abby Van Ess / The Signpost)

The Weber State University’s rugby team played their second home game of the season, losing their second game in a row, this time against Utah Valley University.

The match was held on Feb. 18 at their home field, the Ogden Sports Complex. WSU came into the matchup against the rival Wolverines with a 1–1 record on the season.

The Wildcats had a dominant win on the road against UNLV, followed by a one-point loss to Dixie State University in WSU’s first home game of the season.

During the first five minutes, the Wildcats got off to a great defensive start. They stopped Utah Valley at the goal line three times consecutively.

However, fatigue quickly set in for the Wildcats, and Utah Valley opened the scoring only 10 minutes into the first half.

Shortly after the opening score, the Wolverines added two more tries and conversions, bringing the score to 17–0 before WSU or their fans could collect themselves.

“Our practice this week was not our best effort,” said assistant coach Eddie Williams. “It definitely showed out on the field.”

The Wildcats first put points on the board with two minutes to go in the half, but Utah Valley answered quickly by forcing a Weber State turnover on the next possession, scoring once more before the end of the half.

This gave Utah Valley the lead with a score of 22–7 at the end of the first half.

“Communication is key for us,” said sophomore Eddie Fernandez. “If we communicate more effectively, our defensive game will be stronger.”

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A Utah Valley player gest taken to the ground by three Weber State players on Feb. 18. (Abby Van Ess / The Signpost)

The second half did not improve for the Wildcats as the Wolverines executed three successful tries in four minutes.

The final score was 53–19 in the Wolverines’ favor.

“Mistakes were key, both physical and mental,” Williams said. “Especially at the start of the second half, we just needed key tackles in a few situations, and we could have been in the game.”

Even after the overwhelming loss at home, Fernandez believes the team members have gained more trust in one another through the early stages of the season.

This allows the team to focus on the offensive and defensive sides more in practices. He also believes that they are starting to play every game from start to finish.

At this point in the season, Williams and his team will continue to practice as much as possible to prevent losses such as that against Utah Valley.

Williams said consistent effort and practice will help the team improve and play to their full potentials.

As a club, the rugby team is responsible for scheduling and promoting their own games ahead of time. The Wildcats’ next game is March 4 against Brigham Young University.

This will be the first matchup of the season against the Cougars after they claimed victory against the Wildcats last season.