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Monday, September 14, 2015

Delaware Men’s Rugby Resumes With Success Against St. Joe’s

Doug Coil

Excitement was felt in anticipation of Delaware’s Men’s Rugby club taking the pitch for the first time in two years against St Joe’s. Crowds of alumni, parents and fans lined the one sideline. There were tents for both, with parents and alumni manning them. The rain that started prior to the match did not deter anyone from leaving, even in the later monsoon conditions.

This match between the Colleges has traditionally been played early in the season. In fact, Delaware’s last match two year’s ago was against St. Joe’s. It is certainly fitting that they open up this season as well.

This match was a non conference match for St. Joe’s, as they begin their Keystone Rugby Conference Division 1 season next week against Villanova. Delaware, also in Division 1,  is playing an independent schedule this season. They hope that their performance this season will result in readmission to the D1A Rugby East Conference. Time will tell.

Take the time to read more.

The match opened with St. Joe’s attacking with multiple phases for the first five minutes. Delaware’s defense was up to the challenge, however 5 minutes into the match Dan Deal had the first try for the Hawks. Delaware answered back with Freshman’s Karl Malate try in the corner to even the score 5-5.

Delaware attacked again through several phases. They found themselves with another scoring opportunity off a penalty with a quick tap by Chris Mattina that advanced to within 3 meters of scoring. They lost possession however, and St Joe’s cleared and then was able to advance deep into Delaware territory, but Delaware’s defense held.

Delaware mounted another attack swinging the ball wide before an offload to Grayson Hayes for the try. The conversion was made by Chris Mattina from near touch. (12-5) Delaware had it’s first lead of the match, a lead that they never relinquished.

After a penalty for not releasing a tackler, Jimmy Wolfer had an opportunity to draw St. Joe’s closer. The penalty however, was wide.

Later in the first half, a St. Joe’s attack resulted in a 5 meter scrum. Delaware’s Hooker, Jack Finnegan, took the ball against the head. He would have a few takes later, but that was a key moment. Delaware pushed forward, but a knock on with advantage being played to St. Joe’s resulted in a Jimmy Wolfer try. (12-10)

Not too long later, Grayson Hayes added a second try and Mattina converted for a 19-10 lead.

St. Joe’s narrowed the score as Aram Keshgegian split the defense for a try. The conversion was missed. (19-17). St Joe’s had one more scoring opportunity prior to the half when Nick Hopkins took the ball deep into Delaware territory, but did not result in a score. Delaware lead at halftime 19-17.

Like a true heavyweight fight with punch and counter punches, the match through the first 60 minutes was a seesaw battle of attack and defend. The momentum flowed back and forth.

At the 60 minute mark this changed. For the next 15 minutes, Delaware took command of the match with breaks through the defense by forwards Mike Gorman and Ivan Turner, and backs Tom Abrams and Chris Mattina. Four tries were scored by Delaware to one later by St. Joe’s.

During this time, Delaware had tries by Chris Mattina (24-17, 60′), John McCurdy, conversion by Mattina (31-17, 63′) and by Tom Abrams on a kick ahead in goal for a try. (36-17, 66′). Chris Mattina also added a penalty kick (39-17) before St. Joe’s Greg McTiernan added their own try. (39-24)

The scoring continued with Tom Abrams drawing the defender and offloading to Mattina and back to Abrams for the try (46-24).

During this time there was a number of substitutes by both sides. With no time on the clock and about 3 minutes of injury time, St Joe’s added 2 tries to narrow the final score.  Chris Curcio had a try and Greg McTiernan converted (46-31) and Kevin Christian also scored. (46-36)

The Final score was 46-36 with Delaware gaining the win.

The match entertained the crowd, as they appreciated this highly competitive contest. Both sides will be able to take positives out of the match, make corrections, and I anticipate, have excellent seasons.

See interviews below of both coaches and Delaware’s Co-Captain prior to the match. They are on the DJCoil Rugby You Tube Channel with links on Facebook under the same name. I hope that you will subscribe/like, as well as visit the Webpage.


University of Delaware

Struan Murray, Head Coach

Matt Hess
Jack Finegan
Ricky Comis
Grayson Hayes
Justin Elliott
Will Baker
Mike Gorman
Ivan Turner
Matt Cilmi
Tom Abrams
Matt Ramierez
John McCurdy
Chris Mattina
Karl Malate
Joe Roberts
Nick Lintner
Nick Jimenez
Dan Budd
Zack Allen
Dylan Duffy
Graham Lovell
Jack Hand
Tim Schroeder
St Joseph’s University Hawks

Dan Yarusso, Head Coach

Colin McHale
Justin Young
Matt Zebrowski
Luke Venditti
Mickey Chapple
Thomas Cuddihy (c)
Matthew Burdsell
Michael McGee
Paul Gunter
Greg McTiernan
Chris Curcio
Dan Deal
Jimmy Wolfer
Nick Hopkins
Aram Keshgegian
Michael Weber
Matt Raimondo
Kevin Christian
Jack Hicklin
Patrick Ryan
Conner Ishitski
Dean Xerri
Freddie Gladis

Interviews were conducted prior to the match, or in Struan Murray’s case, the Wednesday prior. They focus on the teams preparing for their season, and their accomplishments. The return of Delaware rugby was also a topic.

Dan Yarusso, St. Joseph’s University Head Coach.

Struan Murray, University of Delaware Head Coach

Chris Mattina, University of Delaware Co-Captain

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