Syracuse, Stony Brook, USMMA Win in Empire

Check out the ‘Syracuse, Stony Brook, USMMA Win in Empire’ article on RugbyToday.com or read below.

Article written by Evan Lappen and published on Tueday, 30 September 2014.

Fordham at Syracuse
With each team searching for its first win, Fordham traveled across New York to play Syracuse. The hosts got out to a big 21-0 lead at halftime and prevailed 35-12. Fordham attempted to make it interesting late in the second half, but couldn’t come all the way back.

The first score came from a 25-meter breakaway run from Syracuse’s wing Seth Gilgus at the fourth minute. Flanker Jack Faure converted the kick to grab the early 7-0 lead. Seven minutes later, prop Brad Orr scored from the goal line and Faure’s following kick from 18 meters was good. After a failed penalty kick by Fordham wing Kevin Curran, reserve flanker Paul Hopkins scored off a driving maul in the 38th minute. Faure continued his hot streak and his kick was true from the sideline, capping the 21-0 Syracuse halftime lead.

Five minutes into the second half, Syracuse’s Gilgus broke the defense on a counterattack from a kick on the way to a 40-meter try. After Faure left the game with an injury, Hopkins took over kicking duties and converted for a 28-0 advantage. At the 65th minute, hooker Vince Morales muscled in from five meters and with Hopkins’ second conversion, Syracuse increased the lead to 35-0.

Fordham’s head coach Jimmy Wright said, “Our team got stronger as the game went on, playing a faster paced game against the large SU side. We played much better later in the game.” The Rams ended the game very strong, scoring two tries from eightman Dan O’Brien and hooker Mike Miniero in the last 10 minutes. Flanker Joey Juliano was one-of-two on conversions, but it was too late for a comeback.

“We lost 14 seniors at the end of last season and we are playing at least 10 freshmen and sophomores. I think we will get better as the season goes on, just because of the experience playing together in competitive games,” said Syracuse head coach Bob Wilson. “It was an improvement. We have to play together as a team, defend better as a team.”

“Unfortunately, as it as been in our first three league matches, we were significantly undersized and had trouble dealing with a team that was bigger and able to keep possession by overpowering us in tight,” said Wright. “Syracuse had significant size and used it to methodically move the ball up and down. They also had some timely grub kicks that earned them territory.”

Colgate at USMMA
Following an early season bye week, Colgate made the four-hour trip to Kings Point to face off against the undefeated U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. The USMMA got out to an early lead until Colgate tied it up late at 31-31. Colgate could not pull ahead, though, as USMMA scored three more times to earn the 46-34 victory.

“Merchant Marine came out physical. We expected a physical match, and they came out and picked on us. For the remainder of the match, we were playing catch up,” said Colgate head coach David Chapman. “About 15 minutes remaining in the game, we finally tied it up 31-all. We just couldn’t piece together phases and get over the hump. MMA is a good team that took advantage.”

The action started with Colgate missing a penalty kick, and then 10 minutes in, USMMA’s John Wesley made a penalty kick for the early lead. Kings Point built on that score with a try by Dan Ardis and a subsequent conversion by Wesley to extend the lead to 10-0. Colgate responded with a try by wing Charlie Murphy, who kicked his own conversion to cut the score to three points. At the 25th minute, both teams traded tries. USMMA’s Steve McGuire scored first, then Colgate flanker Jordan Arnson dotted down. Both tries were converted, and USMMA was still up 17-12. To close the half, Ardis dotted down his second try to go up by 12 points at 24-12.

Colgate came out swinging in the second half with a try by wing Alec Glassman. Murphy converted to cut the deficit to five. Kings Point’s LeRoid Jones then scored the first of his two tries, and Wesley converted to increase the advantage to 31-19.

In the last 20 minutes of the match, Colgate lock Jake Herzog scored back-to-back tries to tie the game at 31-31. Colgate was unable to use that momentum as USMMA’s Ardis scored his third try of the game. The clubs exchanged penalty kicks and Jones scored his second try as time wound down. Kings Point came away with the win after the Colgate comeback attempt was unsuccessful, 46-34.

“[Colgate] came out in the second half hungry. I think a lot of my guys were thinking that we are going to do the same thing now that we were able to do against Binghamton or Brockport, but it wasn’t the case at all,” stated USMMA head coach Ali Nazir. “They were very focused. We kept on getting complacent every time we scored in the first half and that allowed Colgate to be still in striking distance in the second half. ”

Binghamton at Stony Brook
For its homecoming game in Long Island, Stony Brook remained undefeated in the conference after overwhelming Binghamton 72-12. The Seawolves reeled off 12 tries by nine players and their kicker, flyhalf PJ Abelein, converted six kicks.

“We were definitely up for the game as it was our homecoming. Now we have our sights on the Empire and the boys are rising to the level,” said Stony Brook head coach Jerry Mirro. “Sometimes you play down instead of playing up the way you should, and I just thought our guys really rose to the occasion and kept going in a class way.”

The first half opened with the Stony Brook penalty kick by Abelein. The Seawolves followed with three tries by flanker Phil Salter. Binghamton’s John Victor got his club’s first try and flyhalf Kevin Walsh converted the kick to cut the lead to 18-7. Stony Brook responded with a try from center Shane Wend to end the half up 25-7.

Stony Brook scored seven more times in the second half to Binghamton’s once. Wing Carlos Navas, wing Dylan Clay, flanker Rob Maloney, fullback Bart Sweeney and reserve wing Connor Sperzel each had a try, and Wend scored two for the Seawolves. Binghamton’s lone try of the half came from wing Nick Mendez. As the final whistle blew, Stony Brook put in a dominating performance to win 72-12.

Coach Mirro was very proud of his club, especially his forwards. “I thought they stepped up very well. The forwards played very well. They are just improving every week. The front row, second row, back row, the push has been very good. The lineouts have been good. Their rucking and mauling has been excellent. Their defensive posts and guard dogs have been very good.”

For his backline, it comes down to one player who runs the show. “PJ [Abelein] directs that whole backline. We have some very good athletes in the backline. Shane [Wend] had a great game at inside center.”