The sweltering 88 degree weather on Sept. 23 couldn’t stop the men’s rugby team from continuing its stellar season as they defeated the Carnegie Mellon University Tartans 24-15.
The Barons entered their third conference match of the year facing a tough opponent, the Carnegie Mellon team being immediately behind the Barons in the Three Rivers Rugby Conference standings.
In their first meeting, the Tartans came out aggressively, which put the Barons immediately on the defensive. By spreading out the field and using efficient passing, Carnegie Mellon engaged in successive efforts to break through the Baron defense, which held well.
The Barons started to gain momentum, making swift offensive passes to put the Tartans on defense. However, it was the Tartans who opened the scoring with a penalty kick at the 22:30 mark in the first half, making the score 3-0 in favor of Carnegie Mellon. The Tartans quickly added to that score with a try less than five minutes later, to make the score 8-0.
The Barons, after allowing these two scores, regrouped and began to take control of the game. Using long runs, passing and strength to break the Tartan defense, the Barons scored a try and a conversion at the 12:37 mark in the first half, courtesy of David Hawn.
Down 8-7, the Barons would eventually tack on another try with a great run from freshman PJ Ernst, plowing through the Tartan defense to make the score 12-8 in favor of Franciscan, which held until the half.
As the second half began, the Barons used the momentum from the first half to move the ball forward, scoring quickly on a try at the 36:42 mark in the first half. Junior prop Matthew Hostutler pushed the Barons lead to 17-8. The Barons kept the offense moving while complimenting it with stellar defense, resulting in a number of takeaways that limited the Carnegie Mellon offense.
The Franciscan offense capitalized on a great run by freshman Anthony Hobbs, set up nicely by the Baron defense, generating a turnover. Hobbs charged down the field, breaking several tackles and scoring a try, followed by a successful conversion. This made the score 24-8 at the 18:38 mark in the second half.
Carnegie Mellon responded with its own offense with 7:38 left in the game to make the score 24-15, putting the Baron lead in jeopardy. Nevertheless, the Barons held off the Tartans as the clock ran out to win the game by the final score of 24-15.
Head Coach Dan Kramer said regarding his teams win, “We still have a lot to work on. Our defense is not where I want it, and I think we need to work on our attack structure. We are at the midway point in our regular season, and I expect better performances moving forward.”
The Barons look to continue this great start on Oct. 7 at 1 p.m. at home against another conference foe, Robert Morris University.