Ute Briefs (3/7)

By and


U rugby head coach, Dave Anderson, is pulling out all the stops to give his team its best shot to win Saturday’s big game against No. 5 BYU.

The former Ute athlete-turned-head-coach and roughly 24 of his players are checking themselves into a Provo hotel tonight and ordering in pizza from Brick Oven — not exactly roughing it for the U’s toughest players.

“We just wanted to make sure they get a good night’s sleep, have a nice meal and make sure they’re rested for Saturday,” Anderson said.

Fair enough. No distractions, no excuses.

The No. 6 Utes are taking all precautions to ensure a fair fight with the perennial powerhouse Cougars, and that includes not letting their emotions get the best of them.

“(BYU is) always tough,” Anderson said. “All the stuff you see on paper goes out the window. The rivalry is there, so we have to stay focused and not get caught up in it.”

Anderson said the Utes’ biggest causes for concern are BYU’s size and the play of their forwards. The Cougar roster boasts 6-foot-6 lock Mike Ratelle and 6-foot-5 Bradford Fishback.

BYU has already beaten the Utes once this season on Helaman Field in October, 34-10.

“We’ve been working on spreading the ball across the field,” Anderson said. “Their centers are probably their weakest point, so we’re going to try and take advantage of that. If we stay focused, I think we’ll be alright.”

To add to the incentive of pulling off a victory will be the automatic bid into the playoffs, which turns into two less games.

Jason Peterson


The U baseball team notched its first win of the year on Thursday, outlasting in-state rival Southern Utah, 13-10.

Holding a 13-6 advantage heading into the bottom of the ninth inning, the Utes got a scare when the Thunderbirds rallied for four runs. But that’s where SUU’s comeback attempt came to a streeching halt. Utah got a strikeout when they needed one and escaped Cedar City with the win.

“I wasn’t happy that we gave up four runs that late in the game,” Utah head coach Bill Kinneberg said. “The wind was blowing out, and the grass was short, so I knew going into today that there were going to be some runs scored.”

Utah trailed 5-4 after the fifth inning before finally taking control of the game, scoring three runs in the sixth and four in the eighth.

The Utes were able to get offense from a plethora of different places. Cody Guymon, Dustin Hennis and Austin Jones all stroked four hits on the day while Corey Shimada and Jesse Shriner tallied two each. Jones blasted a homerun and led all players with four RBIs.

“Offensively, I thought we swung the bats very well today,” Kinneberg said. “We hit the ball hard, and we had a lot of extra-base hits.”

The two teams will meet again at Thunderbird tomorrow at 1 p.m.


The U softball team is looking forward to this weekend’s Diamond Devil Invitational in Tempe, Ariz., for multiple reasons. Warm weather, a shot at the No. 1 Arizona State and a chance to build on its 10-5 record are all legitimate.

It is also a chance for ace pitcher Ashley Smuda to return home.

“I’m really excited about playing at home where I grew up,” said Smuda, who has earned seven wins early this season. “A lot of my friends and family will be there to see us play for the first time.”

Some of Smuda’s friends will be rooting against her on Friday when the Utes open up play against the Sun Devils. That’s because some of Smuda’s friends play for Arizona State, which features four batters hitting above .400 this season.

“I played with some of them in high school,” she said. “They’re a really good team, but I could care less about their batting. I don’t think there will be so much pressure playing against them. If anything, it gives me more motivation to beat them.”

After pitching a 5-4 victory against No. 22 Texas at last weekend’s Texas Classic, Smuda is confident she and her teammates can come out on top of ASU.

Win or lose against ASU, the Utes will still have to take care of business against the rest of this weekend’s slate, which includes the University of San Diego (6-13), UC Davis (10-11) and Pacific (8-11).”

The Utes will play each team once this weekend except UC-Davis, whom they will see Friday evening and again Sunday morning before returning to Salt Lake City.

Utah will host its first two games at home on Tuesday — a double-header against SUU starting at 2 p.m.

Jason Peterson


Tonight’s game at BYU will be the Skatin’ Utes’ final three periods of the season.

Don’t think for a second that the 5-26 Utes are calling it their “Waterloo,” though. These Utes are hoping to go out in style, and what better way to do it with an upset win over archrival BYU?

“We want to go out with a bang,” forward Greg Swenson said.

Sure, the Cougars, at 16-8, are arguably the best team in the state and have already beaten the Utes six times this season. And sure, the Utes could take the high road and say that they’ve already had a successful season considering Utah didn’t even have a team just two seasons ago, let alone one that can compete on a nightly basis.

However, these Utes don’t care. They’d rather get win No. 6 than give themselves a pat on the back.

Forward Mike Vrtis, top on the team in both goals and assists, will lead the Utes onto the ice against one of the league’s best in BYU’s Brandon Holmes and a well-balanced crew. Holmes is third on the team in goals (20), but his real strength is passing the puck. He has 32 assists on the season.

“This season isn’t over until the final buzzer of the final game,” Swenson said. “We’re going to give it our all.”

Jason Peterson

Men’s Tennis

After a split at New Mexico State on weekend, the Utah men’s tennis team will faces a solid Montana State University-Bozeman team at home on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Utah women’s team will take on Montana and Weber State.

The men’s team will try to earn a winning record on the season, as they sit at 5-5. They are led by Zach Ganger and Miron Mann.

The women’s team (7-4) will look to Emily Kwok and Elizabeth Ferris, both of whom had strong performances against Utah State last week and also played tough in a loss against Denver.

Both teams play on March 8 at the Eccles Tennis Center.

James Boehly