STEUBENVILLE - After a 45-minute lightning delay, the Franciscan rugby's inaugural "Rugby Under the Lights" got underway in front of incredible student turnout. The large crowd was not disappointed as the Barons earned their first win of the season with a 20-12 victory over the University of Pitt.
It was the first match of the seasons for both squads and that combined with the wet conditions made for a sloppy match with a lot of dropped balls and knock ons and there were upwards of 20 scrums in each half.
"There were many times throughout the match where our attack put some solid phases together only to lose control of the ball," remarked head coach Daniel Kramer. "However, despite those setbacks, the team continued to play with a lot of confidence."
Senior assistant captain Matthew Hostutler got the Barons on the board first as he converted a penalty kick from the 22-meter line to give Franciscan a 3-0 lead. Brendan Pedulla kept the scoring going as he cut through the defense to score from about five meters out of the tryzone.
"Brendan played a great game at 13 for us today," complimented Coach Kramer.
Franciscan took the 8-0 lead into halftime.
Following the break, Hostutler beat the last defender on Pitt's side out wide to score in the corner. Pitt was able to get two tries and a conversion on the board to cut the lead to 13-12 as time was winding down, but sophomore Gabe Iacoviello scored his first try off a head's up support line off of a Pitt turnover. Hostutler converted the kick after to give the Barons the 20-12 win.
"I was really impressed with my rookies tonight," remarked Coach Kramer. "Some of them have only been playing rugby for two weeks and many of them took advantage of the minutes we gave them. I was also impressed with my core group of veterans who made the best of all the different lineup combinations I sent in."
"We still have some kinks to work out, we need to improve our fitness, and figure out positions," said Coach Kramer. "But I'm really happy with where we are at now and I'm excited to see what we can accomplish this fall."
The Barons continue their quest for their third-straight 3RRC title next week as they host Grove City next Saturday at 1pm.
Saturday night's rugby match was highlighted by a tremendous student body turn out as well as the inaugural Rugby Under the Lights event that featured a kickball home run derby and a kickball tournament sponsored by Franciscan Intramurals and Student Life.