The Franciscan University of Steubenville rugby team is starting off strong with their second win of the season, despite unfortunate weather conditions. In their first conference game, the Barons stifled the Grove City Wolverines on Saturday, Sept. 1 as they played through yet another rainy match, ending 43-0.
Both teams consistently fought hard throughout the match, but the weather made for a sloppy game on both sides. Although the ball was slick, the Barons had more completed passes as well as better chemistry than the Wolverines, and they ultimately came out victorious.
The Barons’ scoring began with a try in the left corner after a well-executed looping sequence by freshman Jake Goduti. Freshman Kian McCormack scored the next two tries for the Barons, and Freshman Rafe Lewis scored once in each half, the second try coming off an impressive intercepted pass. Most of the Barons’ scoring resulted from having the ball for one or two phases, though Grove City successfully stopped many of the Barons’ attacks.
Senior Matthew Hostutler also scored in the second half, breaking through the defense on a long run and getting past the last Grove City defender. On kick conversions, Hostutler was 4-for-7. Many defensive penalties were called on the Barons, mainly for being offside and for going off their feet at the ruck.
“It is great to start the season 2-0,” Head Coach Dan Kramer said. “I think it really builds the team confidence going into tougher matches, especially our conference rival Robert Morris.”
The Barons will go up against Robert Morris University in the 15th Annual Rugby Ruckus on Sunday of next week, but in the meantime, they will need to do a great deal to prepare to face their longtime rival. They have not been playing as a unit and their wins have been due to a few key individuals, according to Kramer, who said that the final score does not tell the whole story.
“We will continue to build our momentum through a solid week of practice. We had a lot of errors against Grove City, and we need to iron them out … Right now we still have too many players playing as individuals on the pitch,” said Kramer.
“Had Grove City had a few more weeks of practice or a few more matches under their belt, I think it would have been a different match … Despite the score, Grove City performed much better than us in several areas of the game,” said Kramer. “I expect a tough match against Robert Morris … If we take it easy this week, we will get steamrolled.”
The Barons next take on Robert Morris at home during the Rugby Ruckus at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 16 inside Harding Stadium.