Wildcat rugby welcomes Huskies

Hanson Lee, Senior Sports Reporter

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Coming off a 118-0 shutout win over the University of Idaho Feb. 24, the Wildcats are boasting a 13-3 winter record and are looking to continue their success as they prepare for a rematch against the University of Washington (UW) on Saturday, March 3.

The last time CWU faced UW, the Wildcats beat the Huskies on the road 77-0. As the Wildcats prepare for a rematch over the weekend, the team is looking forward to hosting the Huskies on their home pitch.
In hopes that the Wildcats are able to repeat the win, they had the last time they played the Huskies, head coach Todd Thornley made his expectations clear and simple.

“It’s all about performance,” Thornley said. “As long as we [are] direct in our attack, then good things should happen.”

Mindset is also a key focus for the Wildcats as they prepare to welcome the Huskies to Ellensburg. Thornley emphasized that at this point in the season, the team needs to play every game like they’re playing the best in the country.

“Our mantra is ‘every day is game day,’” Thornley said. “Nothing matters apart from the present.”

Thornley also expressed that the team has made solid improvements over the course of the season and has been able to come together quite formidably down the stretch.

Junior center Cole Zarcone has implemented himself as a key player on the pitch for the Wildcats this season. In the team’s previous game against UW, Zarcone managed to net himself a hat trick in what was both an offensive and defensive showcase.

Zarcone said that even though he’s only been playing rugby for a couple of years, he’s tried hard to push himself into a leadership role this season and lead by example.

Despite running over UW the last time around, Zarcone made it evident that this rematch with the Huskies matters just as much as any other game that they’ve had on the pitch thus far.

“If we play within our structure and give it our all, we’ll have the same outcome,” Zarcone said. “All of our preparation leading up to [the match] will determine how well we play.”

Although the Wildcats are an easy favorite on paper against the Huskies, Zarcone stressed that it’s critical for the team to maintain a highly competitive mindset. He added that the team needs to do everything they can to win day in and day out, with total disregard to who they’re facing.

“Our preparation during the week needs to be like it’s a big game every week,” Zarcone said. “When it comes to the big games, we need to be ready regardless.”

Sophomore loose forward Alex Mackenzie is in his second year with the team and has been able to maintain a steady level of success on the pitch as well. Mackenzie also was able to contribute the last time the Wildcats faced the Huskies, scoring once. He said that coming from high school, the pace of rugby is a lot faster at the collegiate level and so he’s made it his responsibility to lead and help teach the younger guys.

Mackenzie added that in order for the team to perform at a high level, they need to stick to the game plan and continue on with what they’ve been doing well all season.

“It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, it’s about our structure,” Mackenzie said. “We’re gonna play UW like we’re playing the best team in the nation.”

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Wildcat rugby welcomes Huskies