Monday, October 17, 2016

Keystone Conference Quarterfinals Recap

By Brendan Triplett

The quarterfinals are officially underway here in the KRC and although we didn’t see every team play this weekend we got a good look at who will be in the semifinals and moving one step closer to the championship game.  Let’s take a look at the conference and then focus in on our WCU v MU match.
Rutgers v Lock Haven.  With Rutgers hailing form the top of the conference and Lock Haven bringing up the rear this match was settled quickly.  The first half got underway with try after try being scored by the Black Death as they racked up the points.  Lock Haven looked to be gaining their feet when they held up a try from Mike Hogan but it was not to be as Rutgers answered with crashing the line over and over again.  Point scorers in the first half: Ethan Mabilog, Nolan Solo (2), Jamil Pollard (2), Steve Paterno, and Kierin Walsh, ending out the half with a score of 41-0.

The second half was more of the same and Lock Haven just could not get any momentum to stop Rutgers from storming the pitch.  Tries rolled in and Mike Nezgoda had a solid boot to keep the points coming.  Point scorers in the second half:  Jake Whitaker, Chris McGinnis, Peter Wargo (2) , Ryan McKeever, Mike Nezgoda, and a final nail in the coffin with a try from Glen Johnston.

Take the jump to read more.

The good news comes for Rutgers as they move on to the semifinals and celebrate their freshman scores.  Final score 96-0.  Lock Haven remain at the bottom of the conference and we can only imagine they are taking this as a learning experience.  After all the only way to beat the best is to play against them and learn.

The big game of the day was Temple v Pittsburgh.  There is no doubt that going into this game Pitt were the favorites to win it.  With solid season and great gameplay it was expected that the game would not be a blowout but the result was a surprise as Temple upset Pitt in Pittsburgh.  The match started with Pitt drawing first blood.  The boot of Quiros being exemplary and giving Pitt every chance to keep ahead of the Owls.  He was 3/3 on the day and slotted a penalty to add on but it just wasn’t enough and despite tries coming from Smith, Dunleavy (2), and Patterson, The owls were able to take the day with a come from behind victory in the end of the second half and win with only moments left in the match.  Final score 38-31.  This sets up Temple for a move into the semifinals and lets the rest of the conference know that the owls are not to be trifled with and can topple the biggest of conference giants.

The match between West Chester and Millersville set the stage for a good old-fashioned grudge match between two conference rivals.  Last year these two met and Millersville walked away with the game.  West Chester did not want history to repeat and as the prepped for the game they geared up a squad to hit hard and take the win.  The match did not disappoint.  Millersville are an incredibly physical team and they continually crashed West Chester’s line looking for an opening.  Just when you thought they would start to tire the boys from Millersville would rally and smash into the line again.  West Chester for their part let Millersville crash into them like waves on a shore.  They took the hits and then moved the ball around the pitch with some fast ball handling that only an experienced team can muster.

It was almost 10 minutes into the first half when the golden rams were able to draw blood and get some point on the board.  Chris Breedlove snatched the ball from midfield and bulldozed through the Millersville defense before planting a try under the posts.  Ryan Morely, doing more than his fair share, slotted the conversion and many afterwards throughout the first half.  Millersville struggled to answer and were able to get 3 points off of the boot of Kyle Schory to try and get some momentum.  It just wasn’t to be.  The rest of the first half was dotted with solid attempts from Millersville, including a try from Millersville’s Andrew Crawford, and more than a few successful smashes from WCU as they racked up a score of 40-8 in the first half.

The second half is where WCU always shines and going into the back end of the match we expected them to bulldoze over Millersville.  Coach Artus from Millersville was not going to let that happen and between him and captain Daniel Falcon, the boys came in and seemed to be hitting even harder than they did in the first half.  A score from Kyle “Smash” Smith seemed to get some momentum as Millersville looked for a rallying comeback but West Chester refused to let off the gas and big runs in open field let them push ever further away from MU on the scoreboard.  Captain John King rallied his men and swept the pitch, moving the ball from side to side and forcing Millersville to commit 2-3 players on each tackle.  The open field play put them on their heels and an injury on the pitch with Kyle Schory looked to be the end of the momentum for the Millersville as WCU capitalized by scoring again and again.  Final score was 66-13 with big scores from Nick Guida (2), Nick Udovich, Shane Dortone, John King (2), Vinny Fortino, Hunter Smith, the boots of Ryan Morley and Vinny Fortino, and a final try from Brian Keown.

Coach Haglid was happy with how WCU has been training and preparing.  He said this, “We were outstanding today, winning 100% of our set pieces, punching through holes with the backs.  We worked a lot this week on playing without coming into the first half with any reserve.  We played some backups in the beginning to see our depth and I think we are a lot more confident and look to go into the semifinals to have some fun and play some rugby.  If you want to see some great rugby in the East come out to see us at the Temple campus in Ambler.”  I think that they look strong and that when the semifinals make their way to the conference that the opposing team to WCU will need to ready for a fit and experienced team eager to win.

Coach Artus, for Millersville, recognized the physicality of his men and the importance of it when playing a team like West Chester.  “That’s the one thing that we have been working on this season is getting in peoples faces and making those hits.  There was a period where you could see that really picked up.  I just think we need to work on fitness and organization.  The boys are realizing how the system works and we are starting to adapt and move the ball better.  We will be a strong competitor in the bull bracket.”  With continued work on the ball outside of their heavy hits we can expect this Millersville team to get better and make more of an impact in the conference next season.

The semifinals will pick up in a couple of weeks and we look forward to seeing how they will pan out.  I will keep you posted from here and bring you video and a breakdown next week of the SJU v VU matchup being played at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.

If you missed the match, check it out on my YouTube at ‘Brendan Triplett’ and as always, Ruck on!

Quick Recap of Week 3
SJU v VU TBD on 22OCT16
RU v LHU 96-0
WCU v MU 66-13
TU v PITT 38-31

*Correction - Last week we mentioned, during the VU v WCU match, that James Lyons slotted a penalty with a try from Tim Plante.  The kick was made by PJ Maher and the Try was made by James Lyons.  Good eyes guys!

No comments:

Post a Comment