By Justin McKinney, Staff Writer
It was a big Saturday for the UMass Dartmouth Men’s Rugby-Football Club as they rolled to their second straight victory 15-8 over Wheaton College Rugby.
The win also puts UMDRFC atop the 2A division of the Colonial Coast Rugby Conference.
The victory also came despite much adversity as the rugby club was unable to practice two out of their usual five practice days per week, due to poor weather conditions and field availability.
Not only that, but the team was also facing several injuries as back captain Aidan Fitzsimons left the game early with a nagging ankle injury; back Antone Gomes suffered a similar fate with a knee injury before the climax of the first half.
While Wheaton had control of the ball for a good portion of the first half, it seemed to be in vain as the Corsairs had countless defensive stands as forwards Ben Wirth and Rich “Dickie” Gralton dominated the interior line stopping the Lions for no gain countless times.
The Corsairs also received a lot of support from back Matt Kilmonis who fielded several clean catches from the relentless kicking attack of Wheaton.
However, Wheaton did manage to capitalize on a penalty kick taking a slim 3-0 lead.
Kilmonis constantly fielded kicks from Wheaton and shoved them right back Wheaton’s throat for positive gains.
After a few missed opportunities due to drops in wet weather the Corsairs offense went on a tear down the field led by forwards captain Chris Holman, who broke off a big gain into Lions territory.
The gain by Holman resulted in a tri by Ehioze Adoghe. Adoghe rumbled through a slew of Lions defenders and showed them whose boss to put the Corsairs up 5-3. Back John Melanson was good on the point after kick and the Corsairs took a 7-3 lead.
While the Lions again seemed to control possession again after the Corsair tri, it didn’t seem to matter. The Corsair defense held strong and for every play that the Lions ran the Corsairs had a strong answer. It was evident the entire game that Wheaton just could not match the physicality of the Corsairs.
Forward Danny McIntosh was quoted after the game saying “We love each other and we love this game, that’s why we play. We go as hard as we can every single game because we know that the other fourteen guys on the field are doing the same, it’s that simple.”
As the defense held strong, back John Melanson again managed to use his foot to the advantage of the Corsairs and gave the Corsairs a 10-3 lead against the Lions on a penalty kick.
As the first half came to a close it became apparent that the Corsairs had the game in hand despite the small lead so early in the game.
After a line-out win the Corsairs worked the ball down the field and to the outside, Melanson was in perfect position to accept the ball from teammate JD Niles and dive into the tri-zone to put the Corsairs up 15-3.
While the Lions managed a last minute tri to bring the game to 15-8, they could not manage enough muster to beat the Corsairs as forward Justin McKinney fed the ball out of bounds after forward Lou Saladino fed the ball back to McKinney on a ruck.
It’s worth mentioning that the Corsairs are 1-0 in games when they have used the so called “Snake Face” strategy of intimidation.
The Corsairs get back to action Saturday October 8th against Johnson and Wales at UMass Dartmouth.