by Justin McKinney, Staff Writer
The UMass Dartmouth men’s rugby football club took the field against the Mass Maritime Buccaneers at Mass Maritime. For the Corsairs it was a tale of two halves as they played an almost flawless second half following a dismal first half.
The Corsairs received the opening kickoff and promptly marched into Bucs territory, however the Corsairs were plagued by drops as well as poor off-loads that kept the Corsairs out of the tri-zone.
Consistent defensive stands from forward Danny McIntosh as well as back J.D. Niles made it difficult for the Bucs to gain any significant ground, however.
The Corsairs forward pack also looked strong in scrums as well as lineouts winning the majority of each.
Senior captain and Corsair flanker Chris Holeman jumped in lineouts for the Corsairs and did a phenomenal job disrupting Bucs lineouts all night.
After spending several minutes in the Bucs end the Corsairs back-line finally busted through the Bucs defense for a score as wing Douglas Cooper took the ball in for the Corsairs first score, while John Melanson was good on the point after kick.
The Corsairs found the tri-zone once again only a few minutes later as back Antone Gomes had a fantastic run and broke through for a tri.
The kick was not good and the 12-0 lead the Corsairs had was short lived as the Bucs caught a lapse in the Corsair defense and scored quickly on the kick-off closing the margin to less than a score going into the half.
It seemed that the Corsairs came out much sharper in the second half as back captain Aidan Fitzsimons had a gritty one meter tri that was set up by a big run by hooker Louis Saladino and a huge grind by the entire Corsair forward pack.
The Corsair defense held strong as they barely allowed the Bucs into their own territory in the second half. It was a team effort as it seemed that every man was covering their gaps exceedingly well, and the Bucs could not solve the riddle that was the Corsair defense.
Niles was also a force to be reckoned with on offense as he rumbled through the Bucs defensive line several times, assisted on one score, and had a run that directly set up another score.
Forward Pat Briggs also put his name on the stat sheet as he worked his way through a sea of bodies to score his first tri.
Back Mark Phan also contributed to the win as he hit the edge of the Bucs defense for a great score that closely resembled Gomes’s score in the first half.
This game marked the Corsairs’ first win of the season as they beat the Bucs by a final score of 29-7.
The Corsairs head back to work next Saturday, again away as they take on Wheaton in what should be an extremely close match.
This match also bares much importance as the loser could potentially have their playoff hopes dashed only three games into the long eight game fall season.