SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - California got off to a strong start Saturday at the West Coast 7s, winning its pool and beating Saint Mary's in the semifinals, but lost to UCLA, 24-19, in the cup championship final.
The day began for Cal with a 33-7 win over Sacramento State as juniors Andrew Battaglia and Jesse Milne each scored two tries. Alec Gletzer, making his 7s debut for Cal, showed a strong work rate that produced a charge-down block and a couple of turnovers by the Hornets.
After pool play, Cal was slated in the cup semifinals against Saint Mary's College. The Bears jumped out to a 10-0 lead on a 70-meter try by Milne followed one minute later by sophomore Russell Webb's try. The Gaels answered with a try by Chase Herring before Gletzer's first try in 7s as a Bear was converted by Jake Anderson for a 17-5 halftime lead. Saint Mary's scored one more try by Kevin O'Connor but Cal held on to win, 17-10.
The final pitted the Bears against their PAC Rugby Conference peers from Los Angeles, and the Bruins jumped out to a 17-0 halftime lead on three unanswered tries, the third coming as Cal played shorthanded following a yellow card against Milne for a high tackle.
Back at full strength in the second stanza, the Bears got two tries by Josh Tucker and another by Milne, who finished with a team-high four tries on the day, but another UCLA try by Seb Sharpe, converted by Max Robin, gave the Bruins enough margin to escape with the tournament title.
"All in all I'm relatively pleased with our performance," said head coach Jack Clark. "We were spotty at times but maybe that's to be expected for the first go. We gave a few roster spots to some new guys and I thought several came through pretty well. In the end, Saint Mary's and UCLA are both very good 7s teams and the Bruins were deserving winners today."
Sevens All-American Anderson called it "a tough finish in the final having to chase the game once we were down. We will be back to work looking to improve but credit to UCLA for winning this event."
Bruins head coach Scott Stewart said he was "nervous as Cal came rolling back in the second half, but we defended all day and were fortunate to end with the last possession. That game was an indication of how exciting the PAC Sevens will be in November."
Before the conference 7s title is contested Nov. 2-3 in Los Angeles, both the Bears and Bruins could meet again at Cal's next competition, the Saint Mary's Sevens Invitational held Oct. 26-27 on Treasure Island.
The Scoring Timeline vs. Sacramento State
05:00 Jesse Milne 5
Halftime Score: California 26, Sacramento State 0
13:00 Sac State (Ismael Pruitt) 5, (Jim Bercher) 2
Final Score: California 33, Sacramento State 7
The Team vs. Sacramento State:
1. A. Salaber, 2. Braun, 3. Gletzer, 4. Webb, 5. Anderson, 6. Milne, 7. Battaglia
Replacements: Shaulis, Sweet, Okusi, Chipman
The Scoring Timeline vs. UC Davis
06:00 Russell Webb 5, 2
Halftime Score: California 14, UC Davis 0
10:00 Anthony Salaber 5
12:00 Max Shaulis 5
14:00 Christian Hess 5
Final Score: California 36, UC Davis 0
The Team vs. UC Davis:
1. Coquillard, 2. Harrington, 3. Hendrickson, 4. Okusi, 5. Webb, 6. A. Salaber, 7. Chipman
Replacements: Hess, Shaulis, Sweet, Braun
The Scoring Timeline vs. Saint Mary's
02:00 Jesse Milne 5
03:00 Russell Webb 5
05:00 SMC (Chase Herring) 5
Halftime Score: California 17, Saint Mary's 5
12:00 SMC (Kevin O'Connor) 5
Final Score: California 17, Saint Mary's 10
The Team vs. Saint Mary's
1. Gletzer, 2. Harrington, 3. Hendrickson, 4. Webb, 5. Anderson, 6. Milne, 7. Battaglia
Replacements: Okusi, Coquillard, Braun, Shaulis
The Scoring Timeline vs. UCLA
03:00 UCLA (Race Noeldner) 5, (Ben Francis) 2
05:00 UCLA (Sam Sirrell) 5
08:00 UCLA (Zach Bronte) 5
Halftime Score: UCLA 17, California 0
16:00 UCLA (Seb Sharpe) 5, (Max Robin) 2
19:00 Josh Tucker 5
Final Score: UCLA 24, California 19
The Team vs. UCLA
1. A. Salaber, 2. Harrington, 3. Hendrickson, 4. Webb, 5. Anderson, 6. Braun, 7. Tucker
Replacements: Milne, Gletzer, Coquillard