STEUBENVILLE – The Franciscan rugby team played in their second-straight wet and rainy rugby match, and the Barons seemed to make the most of the less than ideal conditions as they walked away with a 43-0 win over Grove City, Saturday afternoon.
The conditions made for a slippery ball and a lot of knock ons. This was Grove City's first match of the season with several new players, and despite the score, Grove City fought hard for all 80 minutes.
"We struggled in phase play today. We never really got comfortable in our attack structure and could only string together two to three phases at a time," remarked head coach Dan Kramer. "Too many players were making 50/50 passes instead of going to the ground with the ball in contact. There was a lot of anxiousness and rushed play on attack."
The Barons got scoring from several freshmen today as Jake Goduti got the scoring going with a try in the left-hand corner. Rafe Lewis and Mark Houle had a great looping sequence and eventually got Goduti the ball for the score. After earning his first start of the year, freshman Kian McCormack scored the next two tries for the Barons. His first came from a weak side play of the scrum, the second try came after some quick forward hands getting the ball down the line.
Lewis scored in each half, his second try coming off an intercepted pass. Senior assistant captain Matthew Hostutler also scored on a long run in the second half. He broke the first line of defense and made a hard cut to beat the last man. Hostutler was 4-for-7 on kick conversions today.
"Nearly all of our scoring came when we had the ball for only one or two phases," remarked Coach Kramer. "It was all good heads up individual play, but we need to improve our team attack."
While the Barons shut out Grove City, Coach Kramer expects more out of the defense.
"We committed a lot of penalties on defense which made the match harder on ourselves. We were consistently being called for being offside at the ruck and going off our feet at the ruck," explained Coach Kramer. "Penalties like these come down to discipline and we did not exercise good discipline today.
"I was really impressed with Grove City's defense. There were several times when their counter ruckers beat us to the breakdown and stalled out our attack. We need to support our ball carriers better and be there in support."
The Barons will square off against their perennial rival, Robert Morris, next week in the 15th Annual Rugby Ruckus. The two teams square off at 5:00 pm on Sunday, September 16 inside Harding Stadium.
"We have a lot of preparation to have a good match against them."