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Gonzaga Takes Down Indisciplined Vienna

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Gonzaga Takes Down Indisciplined Vienna

Gonzaga halfbacks Ries and Cook (seen here in an earlier game) showed well against Vienna. Alex Goff photo.

Gonzaga defeated Vienna this weekend in a clash of the #5 school team and the #29 HS club.

The game itself was rough on Vienna as a red card and general indiscipline undercut their performance. Too many errors also didn't help as Gonzaga was more cohesive and put together and eventually won out 35-15.

Gonzaga punished a knock-on early to score and another turnover 10 minutes later to lead 14-0. Vienna settled down after that and looked quite impressive, scoring three unconverted tries to take the lead at 15-14.

But those errors crept in and Gonzaga punished another error for a try, and then started to win the contest over the ball, repeatedly poaching the ball in the breakdown—center Gavin Brady led the way on that. Gonzaga's aggressiveness over the ball and their discipline presented them with the better scoring opportunities, and then when Vienna No. 8 Christos Kalpaxis was red-carded for a clothesline tackle, it was very much an uphill climb for the Virginia team.

Gonzaga scored two late tries to round it out, while Vienna will look ahead to the Virginia state championships, and potentially without Kalpaxis if he is suspended for the red card.

in the second half for a undisciplined clothes line tackle right as VIenna was putting lots of pressure on Gonzaga, which hurt the Vienna team.  Gonzaga scored twice late in the game including in the final minute to earn a well-deserved 35-15 victory. 5 converted tries for Gonzaga to 3 unconverted tries for Vienna.

"Our plan was to rest a number of starters on Saturday against Vienna and we stayed with that plan," said Gonzaga Head Coach Peter Baggetta. "Vienna pushed us hard in the first half. They play really aggressive and hard at the tackle contest and also like to play continuously at tempo, which causes you to be switched on at all times—have to give lots of credit to their coaching."

Gonzaga took better care of the ball in the second half. Miles Malone led an improved lineout performance for Gonzaga, making some good calls and stealing some of Vienna's throws. The halfback combination of Jack Ries and sophomore Emmett Cook (who didn't miss on all five conversion attempts), was very effective.

"It was a good challenging game for us as we need these types of games in this very shortened season," said Baggetta. "Our young players continue to learn and grow which is the real win for us."

Gonzaga was supposed to have played Georgetown Prep on Friday, but with Gonzaga up 5-0 very early the game was halted due to lightning. It has been rescheduled for Wednesday. Gonzaga was looking to replicate, somewhat, the experience at the national championships with two games in quick succession. But the weather put paid to that. Baggetta wasn't too worried.

"We look at it as we got a good hour practice in with the warmup and the actual time we played, so it was a positive," he said.

As for Vienna, they will be going to Nationals as well, and learned a lot with this game.

"Our young and nicked up Vienna team is still learning how to play disciplined rugby with the top teams in the country," said Head Coach Kendall Erickson. "Our Vienna boys will get there, but they learned so tough lessons today. After the game, they were very frustrated with themselves and asking for extra practice days so they can get locked in for state.  Words their Vienna coaches like to hear. "