Feb. 7, 2013
BERKELEY - Another meeting of unbeaten teams takes place Saturday on Witter Rugby Field when the Golden Bears' First XV face Cal Poly at 2 p.m. followed by a reserve-grade match between California and the Mustangs.
Cal Poly is off to a 4-0 start in spring 15s after its latest win, a 28-12 victory over then-No. 19 San Diego State on February 2. The Bears are 8-0 entering the weekend with a defense that has allowed only 13 points so far this season.
In their last meeting, on February 25, 2012, Cal Poly ended a 63-match Bears winning streak with a 22-20 victory. A mixed Cal lineup fought back from a 10-point deficit in San Luis Obispo to take the lead on a try by Max Shaulis before Andy Early's try tied the contest and Matthew Verga kicked the game-winning conversion for the Mustangs with no time left.
The Mustangs have had success against the Bears in Strawberry Canyon, too, having defeated Cal, 58-18, on April 3, 2004, to close the regular season. Cal Poly continued its run through most of the postseason that year, beating Brigham Young in the Round of 8 and defending champion Air Force in the semifinals before the Bears had the last word in the national collegiate championship, a 46-24 victory captained by current Cal assistant coach Mike MacDonald.
Cal faced the Mustangs in single-elimination games during the 2008 and 2009 national quarterfinals, winning both, and played Cal Poly three times on the college 7s circuit this past fall, winning all three tournament fixtures.
The 2013 Cal Poly team includes capable threats such as Early, the co-captain who has returned at inside center and will line up opposite junior Golden Bear Jared Braun. Cal looks to be sending a largely upperclassmen lineup onto the pitch Saturday.
Despite the arrival of the University of British Columbia just over the horizon for next Saturday, Feb. 16, at 1 p.m. on Witter Rugby Field, the Bears must remain focused on the Cal Poly match before turning their attention to the opening leg of the "World Cup" series against the Thunderbirds.