Fresno State and Saint Mary’s College (SMC), the West Coast conference finalists, will face each other for a third time this season on Saturday, when the teams vie for a semifinal berth to the USA Rugby DII College Spring Championship. The teams are 1-1 against each other, although the Bulldogs beat the Gaels 50-21 more recently for the conference title.
Fresno State took down the Pacific Desert runner-up, Long Beach State, 90-21. The back line overwhelmed the 49ers, as outside center Laura Ellison-Seeger led the way with four tries. Scrumhalf and captain Raquel Macias, inside center Averi Peterson and wing Meaghan Gallagher scored two tries apiece, while flyhalf Regan Garner (who also kicked nine conversions) and wing Chetna Kumar also dotted down. Lock LeClaire Franco accounted for the forwards’ try.
Claremont remained in striking distance of SMC during the first half, but the pummeling forwards were too much for the Foxes to absorb. Kristina Tomelloso moved from No. 8 to prop and did damage to the tune of four tries.
The Gaels pressured a penalty try two mintues into the match, and then Claremont evened up through a Lindsay Mooradian try and Ali Parker conversion. Tomelloso (2) and scrumhalf Maddie Lane scored, and Katherine Whiting’s conversions put the Gaels up 26-7. Claremont No. 8 Jessie Ribera gained some ground with a try and Parker conversion, but the half ended with SMC No. 8 Andrea Zaragoza dotting down and Whiting converting, 31-14.
Two more Tomelloso tries in the first six minutes of the second half pretty much put the game away for SMC. Zaragoza, reserve Elizabeth Murphy and Lane scored again, and Whiting added the extras. Dana Alimena crossed for Claremont’s third try in the 64-21 decision.