The Franciscan University rugby squad closed the door on any potential upsets, defeating Robert Morris by a dominant 42-5 victory on Saturday for its second-straight 3RRC title.
The Barons waited a short four minutes before taking a lead they would never relinquish. Junior prop Matthew Hostutler began the Barons’ conquest for a NSCRO regional bid, beating his Colonial counterpart around the edge for a successful try.
After solid Franciscan defense once again returned possession into Baron hands, it was Hostutler again who, with a similar move, beat another Robert Morris man around the edge for another try, furthering the lead. Senior and team leader James Weiss put size and strength to full use as the first half waned, capitalizing on a penalty tap off to reach the goal on his own.
The match was marked as much by early and often Franciscan scoring as it was by stout defensive efforts. The Barons allowed only a single Robert Morris try, and senior captain Paul Deschler more than compensated for the mistake, scoring twice on a day that saw him return Franciscan to postseason pursuits and receive Man of the Match.
In an interview with the Franciscan University athletic department, Head Coach Dan Kramer expressed admiration for his team’s accomplishments. “The team came out hungry today,” he said, capturing the style of play which characterized Franciscan rugby not only on Saturday, but for much of the season.
Kramer also praised the team’s pre-game preparations, citing a Thursday training session and a calm demeanor throughout the week’s study. “As always, we have work to do to improve,” Kramer said. After referencing the team’s penalties and yellow cards, he said that the team plans to “correct … mistakes and improve our game for regionals.”
The Franciscan rugby squad will next take the pitch at the onset of the NSCRO regional Nov. 18-19, which the university will actually host. Specific game times and opponents have yet to be released.