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Thriller Finish! UCLA Edges Arizona In WC 7s Final

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Thriller Finish! UCLA Edges Arizona In WC 7s Final

Shane Barry takes it up but gets some attention. David Barpal photo.

UCLA took the West Coast 7s in dramatic fashion, defeating Arizona 17-14 with a try in the corner on the final play.

The Bruins were superb throughout the tournament, finding a way to get both speedster Eric Naposki and speedster Lucas Lacamp space to punish defenders. Much of that hinged on the vision of Shane Barry, who repeatedly set those two free.

UCLA defeated Stanford soundly in the quarterfinals and then cast aside a very competitive Cal Poly in the semis. Cal Poly had possession and opportunity, but UCLA’s defense was just too strong.

(David Barpal photos)

Meanwhile, Arizona had a good day, too. After getting by a tough Santa Clara team, Arizona met Cal in the semis.

Despite some injuries throughout the tournament, Cal was on-form and looking in good position to make it to the final. But Matt Rogers unleashed his best game of the weekend, linking with teammates to set up tries, making a key try-saving tackling, and then icing the game on a free kick with a tap and run around the outside that left all of the Golden Bears in his wake.

Rogers was solid again in the final and he helped Arizona to a 10-7 halftime lead.

But the Wildcats lost the ball on a key attacking movement allowing UCLA to counter the length o the field, with Connor Weigold drawing the last defender before offloading to the shifty Lacamp.

Barry converted that try to put the Bruins up 14-10. But Arizona had more to give, and worked their way down the field after the restart. It was fairly slow stuff, but eventually Jon Rogers cut up the middle, drew two defenders, and popped to Brendon Paulsen who had taken a perfect line through the gap left. He was free and clear under the posts and with the conversions Arizona led 17-14.

With two minutes to go, UCLA had to score a try to win. 

UCLA knocked on the restart and Arizona got a scrum, but the possession was sloppy and ultimately Arizona was penalized in the ruck. The Bruins sent Naposki through on the left, spun it right. Barry cut back the other way, found Patrick Regan, who sent a flat ball to JD Finch, who burst onto the ball and through a fractured Arizona line. He went to the corner, Matt Rogers caught him, and the two rolled over. The ball rolled loose, but Finch was facing backward when he touched the ball down, and the referee and his assistant consulted, and gave the try. UCLA 19, Arizona 17.

Overall, UCLA outscored opponents 222-34. Arizona scored as many points against UCLA as the other five opponents combined.

Arizona ended the weekend 5-1, with an impressive victory 21-10 over Cal, and a 191-34 scoreline. The two playmakers, Barry for UCLA and Rogers for Arizona were different in how they approached their jobs, but both were excellent.

Cal hammered Cal Poly to take third, while Santa Clara looked impressive in finishing the weekend 4-2 and 5th with a 48-5 defeat of Stanford.

San Diego State took the Bowl, and Trinity Western, in the programs first competition, took the Shield over UC Davis.


Final Placing:


2. Arizona

3. Cal

4. Cal Poly

5. Santa Clara

6. Stanford

7. Utah, U. San Diego

9. San Diego State

10. USC

11. CCAC, Sacramento State

13. Trinity Western

14. UC Davis

15. Cal Maritime, San Jose State