Utah Warriors Sweep Series With Houston SaberCats, Move Up Standings

May 20, 2023, 10:57 PM | Updated: May 22, 2023, 4:11 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Warriors took down the Houston SaberCats at home to sweep the season series and move up in the Western Conference standings.

The Warriors hosted the SaberCats at Zions Bank Stadium on Saturday, May 20.

Utah defeated Houston, 34-28.

The Warriors previously defeated the SaberCats in Texas on April 8.

RELATED: Utah Warriors Outlast Late SaberCats Rally In Road Win

Utah entered the second meeting with Houston owning a 7-4 record this season, sitting in fourth place in the West. With an identical record, the SaberCats sat one spot ahead of the Warriors in the standings.

The SaberCats opened the scoring for the evening with a penalty kick in the fourth minute of action. The kick gave Houston an early 3-0 lead.

In the 12th minute, Utah’s Tyler Fisher dotted the ball down in the try zone for what would have been the Warriors’ first points of the match. However, Utah was called for an obstruction penalty and Joel Hodgson attempted a kick instead. Hodgson’s kick sailed through the uprights to tie the game at 3-3.

A few minutes later, the SaberCats reached the opposite side of the field and scored the first try of the match. After missing a conversion kick, Houston took an 8-3 lead.

During the 17th minute, the Warriors responded with a try of their own. Connor McLeod scored his fourth try in the past two matches. Hodgson connected on a conversion kick and gave Utah a 10-8 lead.

10 minutes later, the SaberCats regained the lead with another try. Following the subsequent kick, Houston went up 15-10.

In the 32nd minute, Hodgson took a penalty kick and cut Houston’s advantage to 15-13.

Houston quickly replied with a kick of its own and stretched the lead to 18-13 in the 35th minute.

The scoring continued as Utah’s Hodgson dotted down a try in the 36th minute. Hodgson missed a conversion kick after the try and the scoreboard stood at 18-18.

In extra time at the end of the opening half, Utah’s Joe Mano scored a try for the second consecutive week. Mano’s try gave Utah a 23-18 lead at the halftime break. Hodgson missed a kick after Mano’s five-point play.

The Warriors opened the second half with a Mika Kruse try during the 43rd minute of action. Kruse’s sixth try of the season extended Utah’s advantage to 10 points, 28-18.

During the 52nd minute, the SaberCats scored their first points of the second half. After the try and a missed kick, Houston trimmed Utah’s lead to 28-23.

Following Hodgson’s misses, the Warriors made a change for the rest of game’s kicks. Utah’s Caleb Makene made a penalty kick in the 61st minute to push the Warriors’ lead to 31-23.

Makene made another kick in the 78th minute to tack another three points onto Utah’s total, 34-23.

The SaberCats managed to score a try in extra time, but the Warriors were able to hold onto a six-point margin at the final whistle.

With the win, the Warriors improved to an 8-4 record this season. The victory moved them up to third place in the standings.

Utah’s next match is at home against Rugby ATL on Saturday, May 27 at 7:30 p.m. (MDT). The match will be streamed on the KSL Sports app and KSLSports.com.

Download the new & improved KSL Sports app from Utah’s sports leader. You can stream live radio, video and stay up to date on all of your favorite teams.

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Utah Warriors Sweep Series With Houston SaberCats, Move Up Standings