Article written by Evan Lappen and published on Monday, 6 October 2014.
Kings Point at Syracuse
The United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point continued its undefeated voyage through the Empire Conference with a shutout win over Syracuse , 24-0, Saturday. It was a muddy and rainy day in Syracuse with both teams struggling with ball handling because of the conditions. With its athleticism and size, Kings Point was able to dictate the tempo of the game and remain unbeaten this season.
“Syracuse wasn’t able to do anything on offense. They got into our five twice,” said Kings Point head coach Ali Nazir. “Overall, they might have lost a little bit of composure being that they have been beat up by a couple of the teams and it was starting to show. They had a couple of very athletic players. They, like us, weren’t able to put any continuity together because the ball was being so slippery. “
Kings Point put together an effective gameplan that led to three first half tries. Hooker Josh Raines, flyhalf Stephen McGuire, and wing Timothy Llull each scored a try in the session. Flanker John Wesley converted one of his kicks to give Kings Point a commanding 17-0 halftime lead.
Under a stout defense, Kings Point shut out Syracuse and stifled its attack in the second half. Raines had Kings Point’s only try of the half, and Wesley made his kick to seal the victory, 24-0.
“We got off to a rocky start. We gave up three tries in the first twenty minutes and then we huddled down and played defense for the rest of the game,” stated Syracuse assistant coach Dave De Salvia. “We really never got anything going in attack. They created some good long breaks and their forwards rucked extremely well… The lapses early on killed us.”
Next week, Stony Brook will travel to Kings Point to see who is top dog in the conference. An interesting note to the game is that Kings Point coach Nazir played for Stony Brook as an undergraduate. After graduation, Nazir was an assistant coach for the men’s team and head coach for the women’s team while he continued his graduate work. About five years ago, Nazir became the came to the USMMA to coach Kings Point.
Brockport at Stony Brook
Stony Brook University stomped visiting Brockport University, 43-17, to improve the Seawolves’ record to 4-0 in the conference. Stony Brook was dominant from the start of the match and rode the power of its forwards to victory.
“We came out ready for the game. We knew that they were going to be big, strong, and play a very huge rucking game against us. We were prepared,” stated Stony Brook head coach Jerry Mirro.
“I thought our tight five did a fantastic job from the hooker Joe Farneti, Dan Melgar, Jimmy Sheridan, Danny Lyons, and Tom Harty. The tight five did a great job all day and were all over the place. Then obviously, the back row since we were on the front foot all the game including in the rucks. Phil Salter had a great game and Bob Maloney had a super game also. Eric Rafferty was fantastic around the breakdowns. The backs played as we have in the past five weeks, just a conditional game. Kicking what they give us and taking advantage of it.”
Stony Brook flanker Phil Salter began the scoring early after the forward pack stole two scrums from Brockport. Prop Jimmy Sheridan followed by busting through the defense for another try. The conversion attempt by flyhalf PJ Abelein sailed wide to give Stony Brook an early 10-0 lead.
Following a Stony Brook turnover, Brockport scampered around the corner for the score to cut the deficit to five points, 10-5. This would be the closest Brockport would get as Stony Brook scored the next 33 points. The Seawolves responded quickly with back-to-back tries by Salter to end the first half. Abelein converted both kicks to extend the advantage to 24-5.
To open the second half, wing Bryan Michel dots down his first try in the corner and Abelein connects from wide for a 31-5 lead. Stony Brook took advantage of Brockport’s defense to score two more times as center Shane Wend added a try and Michel scored his second to further widen the margin to 43-5.
As time wound down, Stony Brook started to pull its starters and Brockport was able to score twice against the reserves. However, in the end, it was not enough to get back into the game as the Seawolves won, 43-17.
“It wasn’t a really good game. We got outmatched. We were never really threatening that much,” said Brockport head coach Bart Pareschi. “They played really good. They got good experience and they’re fit. They have a really good eightman.“
On the looming match against Kings Point next weekend, Coach Mirro said, “What I do expect is that Kings Point will be up for the game. I expect them to be a physical side and in great shape. I expect us to adjust to the situation. As we have done every week, I hope we are improving and we need to going into that game. Play with them and perform on the field against them.”
Colgate at Fordham
With both teams searching for their first win of the season, Colgate University traveled four hours south to Long Island to meet Fordham University at Murphy Field. The match turned out to be a defensive conflict with a scoreless first half and Colgate scoring three times in the second to secure the victory, 19-5.
“In the first half, we had pretty good attack ball, just couldn’t covert our good fortune. Penalties really hurt us in the first half,” said Colgate head coach David Chapman “In the second half, we were able to calm down and play our game and we were able to put in three.”
With no scoring in the first half, Colgate almost immediately got on the board in the second. Two minutes in the half, wing Charlie Murphy scored to give Colgate a 5-0 lead. Two more tries followed with prop Gus Gala and flanker Connor Clinton each scoring in the 55th and 65th minutes, respectively. Murphy tacked on the conversions to extend the lead to 19-0.
Fordham would not be shut out as prop Bob Lucey scored after barreling through Colgate’s line from ten meters out off a pick-and-go in the last minutes of the match. Fordham was not able to get any closer as the final whistle blew and Colgate earned their first win of the season, 19-5.
“We couldn’t capitalize on their mistakes. We weren’t able to maintain much possession in the second half,” stated Fordham head coach James Wright. “They were very balanced. They ran tight with their forwards and got it to their wing a couple of times. It was back and forth and when you play so much defense, something is going to break. They spaced the field well and they moved it between their pack and the backs well. They just broke us, too much defense for us.”
When asked about the prospects on the remainder of Colgate’s season, Chapman said, “With the way the games have been developing over the last month, we are expecting good things. The kids are definitely coming along with how we like to play and, god willing, if no injuries occur, we should finish at least .500. That’s our hope.”