March home openers are always a roll of the dice for the Saint Ignatius rugby team. With a traditional early March opener, the weather can either be unbearable or beautiful.
Thankfully, Sunday's weather fell into the latter category, and the results on the field were nice, too.
The A-Side Wildcats fired past Avon Lake on Wasmer Field, 54-10. The JV Cats and Developmental squads also notched solid victories.
The home opener began with back-and-forth rugby before the Wildcats struck first blood about 10 minutes into the contest. Gavin Moore bullied his way into the try zone to get the Wildcats on the board. Bobby Voth notched the conversion for the 7-0 lead.
Not long after, Marty Lenehan sprinted down the wing and touched it down near the middle of the try zone for five points. Voth took care of the conversion again, and the proverbial flood gates opened.
Danny Strauchon, the reigning Magis athlete of the week, helped usher along the run. The senior continued his excellent start to the season, adding some offensive flair to his outstanding on defense. Voth again nailed the 2-pointer for a 21-point lead.
Max Marazzi became the next to score. The senior snuck into the try zone with an aggressive, athletic play for the blue and gold. Voth tacked on the conversion for two more points. Shortly after, Sean Cook found the try zone and Voth remained perfect with his fifth conversion of the day.
With Cook's exclamation point, the Wildcats enjoyed a nice 35-0 lead at halftime.
Early in the second stanza, Josh Maciu continued the scoring frenzy. The senior seized on an opening in the defense shortly after the kickoff. Once Maciu picked up steam, there was no stopping him. The Wildcats' freight train rolled on for five points.
"It just kind of happened," said Maciu. "I was going in off the kickoff, and the kid set it badly. So I grabbed it and ran, I was just happy to touch it down."
The Shoreman found the scoreboard for the first time with a try at the 23 minute mark of the half. The Wildcats still held a sizeable lead at 42-5 after an unsuccessful Avon Lake kick.
Maciu struck again about six minutes later. The senior took advantage of a weakness in the Shoremen defense near the sideline. Maciu rumbled into the nearside corner of the try zone for a great response.
"The guys went into the ruck and the ball was there. Right before I went it, I saw they had one of their smallest guys there, so I went in, grabbed it, and dove down into the try zone," Maciu said.
The Shoremen utilized a turnover and a nice runback to return the favor. Avon Lake narrowed the deficit to 47-10 with a good try.
But this day belonged to the Wildcats, without any shade of a doubt. Fielding Carlson completed the rout with an indomitable effort that resulted in an authoritative try. A Saint Ignatius conversion completed the 54-10 conquest.
The win meant a little something extra to the Wildcats. Last season, Avon Lake's A Side played what some might say was an overly physical game against the Saint Ignatius B Side last year, and dealt the Wildcats a lopsided defeat. So the Wildcats wanted a convincing victory.
"It was a good win after what happened last year," Maciu said. "The boys were happy about it. We just have to go into next week strong against Fishers and hopefully get the W, and maybe move up in the national rankings."
National matchup in Columbus
Not long after the Saint Ignatius hockey squad's Saturday State Semifinal at Nationwide Arena, the rugby team will fight its own battle in Columbus.
The Rugby Cats will go up against Fishers (IN) in a 4 pm contest at Dublin Jerome High School. As of now, the plan is for the rugby program to support the Ice Cats in the noon showdown before heading to Dublin for a tripleheader. Three hockey managers – Pat Keane, Josh Maciu, and Max Marazzi – also play for the Rugby Cats.
Entering the weekend, Fishers held the No. 12 spot in the national rankings.
Clean sweep with JV and developmental
The JV and developmental squads enjoyed plenty of action this weekend.
The Wildcats' developmental team played one half against Avon Lake and one half vs. Avon. The Cats battled to a 5-5 tie against the Shoremen and downed the Eagles, 21-5. The developmental squad will do battle with Fishers at 2:45 pm on Saturday.
The JV Wildcats earned a convincing victory against the Avon Eagles. The Rugby Cats completed the full day of action with a 39-19 triumph. The JV Cats will face Fishers at 5:30 pm on Saturday.