Monday, October 3, 2016

Keystone Week Two Round-up

By Brendan Triplett

You can check out some excellent videos by Brendan of the Keystone's matches. 

There were few surprises walking into today’s games across the conference.  Looking at the home and away teams we had an inkling on how things would turn out.  The surprise, as it turns out, wasn’t necessarily with the scores as much as it was seeing the improvement of the teams on the bottom half of the conference.  This week I did a focus on the Temple v Villanova game.  It was excellent despite the weather but we will get there in a minute.  Let’s quick take a look at our conference games as a whole before we review the tape from Temple v Villanova.

Rutgers played off against West Chester.  This was expected to be the game of the weekend and it did not disappoint.  Rutgers squeaked by West Chester finishing 20-19.  Rutgers is, of course, trying to still get their legs under them from being away for the better part of the spring and summer.  They clearly haven’t lost any of their gamesmanship and it seems that their focus on strength conditioning and game play from local clubs has helped.  All of this combined with the new blood from their coach Mark Dobbs has placed them at the top of the heap for the KRC and we are looking for great things from them as we move into the third week of play.  They remain undefeated with a 2-0 record while West Chester fall to 1-1.

Take the jump to read more.

Pittsburgh and Millersville also faced off.  Millersville still showing some growing pains but improvement is happening.  Pitt remains a strong team and didn’t pull any punches as they pushed through to a 64-3 win.  Millersville showed incredible growth from last week against Saint Jo’s and this was apparent in the score.  They won’t let another team build up that much momentum without some hard hits and some points on the board.  Ultimately this went as we expected and Pitt remains undefeated in the conference at 2-0 while Millersville lick their wounds at 0-2.  We look forward to seeing Pitt face off against Saint Jo’s next week it what will be a battle royale for the top spot in the conference.

Saint Jo’s faced off against Lock Haven and the result was another big blowout from the hawks as they attempted to top their point scores from last week.  They finished out at 80-0 over LHU and in good form, but lets talk about those Lock Haven boys.  They are a young team, relatively untested and their weakness showed in their defense where they bunched up at times and could have been quicker off the ball.  Let’s keep in mind what I said here, they are a young team.  These boys were blown out last year in these same matches.  Lock Haven’s player numbers were low and they were coachless for a time.  It seemed as though they had gotten in over their heads.  Now they are gaining their balance.  The boys are stepping up and we can expect big things from their incoming team, especially from the hard hits and quick hands of Brandon Workman who showed up against SJU and represented the team in a big way.  Ultimately, SJU goes to 2-0 while LHU drops to 0-2 and joins Millersville at the bottom of the heap.

Now, onto our main event.  Every week we have been making out to a game to highlight the work of the teams.  This week it is Temple v Villanova.  On a cold, rainy day on Goodreau field NOVA trained and set themselves for a fight.  Despite their big loss to Rutgers last week they were riding a pretty decent high from their preseason wins against UPenn, Lehigh, and Columbia.  Temple, though a strong team had been reeling from the losses sustained in the preseason and their first game loss against a tough West Chester Team.  This, of course, doesn’t even highlight the staggering losses of Temple’s starting flyhalf and three other big players.  Injury ridden but determined Temple took to the pitch and did what they do best, quick, violent, and attritional rugby.  The boys took some time to get their wits but with some quick hands they were able to walk away from the first half with a 14-0 lead.  Try Scorers were Lenny Ramos and Sully Gyerman with the conversions being tipped through the uprights by the solid boot of freshman starting flyhalf Andrew Daughenbaugh.  That’s right, I said Starting Freshman.  Keep an eye on him season.

In the second half the rain came en force and threatened the gameplay for both sides as they became penalty ridden and no one could hold on to the slick ball as it bounced from knock-on to knock-on.  Villanova started to rally but those penalties mounted again and Temple took it to the house scoring twice more and ending the game on solid footing with a 26-0 final.   Temple showed incredible growth in the scrum as they manhandled Villanova almost every time they packed down.  Villanova looked to finally making some ground against this but it was just too little too late.  Try scorers were Aidan Gallagher, who stormed the entire length of the field for a diving Try, and Zach Deasey who was able to take the ball across the field for a Try in the corner.  Conversion again made by Andrew Daughenbaugh.  Temple needed the win and rose to 1-1 in the conference while Villanova take some hard lessons away from the pitch dropping to 0-2.  Villanova Coach Jack Foley saying this about his boys, “We are going to keep building on the season, we have a young team and we are just going to do everything to raise our rugby IQ.  This is collegiate level rugby and the mistakes and choices on the pitch can be fixed.  We are great program and we are playing competitive rugby.  Keep it up boys.”

We met up with Temple University head coach John “Spider” Sciotto who was pleased with the result but saw room to grow.  He said, “We have some things to work on.  Villanova played great today.  A win is great and we needed it.  Last week we could have done better and we are working on this.  Our main focus going forward will be continuity on the ball and one of the main things I focus on is speed.  We have aggressive rugby and I think that some of the penalties from today are because of this.  We have work to do going into next week against Rutgers but we will be ready.”  ‘Nuff said right?

It was a great weekend for rugby and I don’t think anyone will walk away disappointed whether it before the lessons or the result all of the teams are evolving.  Next week will break some hearts and the top teams in the conference face off against one another.  If you missed the game at Villanova and would like to see the whole match from whistle to whistle check out my YouTube channel at Brendan Triplett.  Let me know whom you would like to see next week and stay tuned because the best games are yet to come.  Ruck on!

Quick Recap
SJU v LHU 80-0
Pitt v MU 64-3
RU v WCU 20-19
TU v VU 26-0

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