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Monday, September 28, 2015

Mount St. Mary's Beats Salisbury

Mount St. Mary’s University Rugby held off DII powerhouse Salisbury State on Saturday. Lead by the strong kicking abilities of Hunter Kruger (West Shore), the Mount took the lead early on. Capitalizing on two penalties in the early minutes of the match, Kruger banged one through the uprights at the 1:08 mark from 36 meters out. The second came just minutes later at 8:02 from the 32, putting Mount Rugby up 6-0. Continuous pressure and ball control allowed fly-half Tyler Myles (West Carroll) to put up a well weighted kick 5 meters out. Mishandling by Salisbury and heavy pressure from the kick-chase, created the opportunity for inside center Mike Webb to carry the ball over the try line at the 16:12 mark, with Kruger making the successful conversion. Continuing the territorial pressure Kruger converted another penalty at 23:59 from 27 meters.

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Salisbury began to return the pressure with an outstanding set piece at the Mount’s 15 meter line. With heavy pressure, the ball came out the back and was sent into the try zone with a grubber kick and dotted down by Salisbury at 27:50 with no conversion.  In 7 minutes, Salisbury continued their relentless pressure, working through phases, and found a weak spot in the line defense of the Mount, for a beautiful, line-break try. The conversion was good, making the score 16-12 Mount going into the half.

Salisbury, looking to continue their momentum from the first half, scored the go-ahead try with a forward’s pick and go from 5 meters out, 13 minutes into the second half, with no conversion. The next ten minutes would see both side’s conditioning tested as the teams battled back and forth with 20-50 meter runs at a time. Both defenses held strong in critical areas, at critical times. At 66:12, a penalty was given in Salisbury’s 22, which allowed Kruger to make the penalty kick to regain the lead (19-17). The next 9 minutes would again prove the power of both sides’ offensive and defensive capabilities. With the passage of 8 phases in Salisbury’s 22, the Mount was awarded a penalty at minute 77. Kruger, with calm composure, belying freshman inexperience, again scored the penalty kick putting the Mount up 22-17. The ensuing three minutes of play showed the grit of a determined Mount side, not to allow the overwhelming pressure of an aggressive Salisbury team to take away the victory.

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