Sunday, April 26, 2015

Morning Joe: 4.26.15 - NSCRO semis - SJU v MSMU full match report, NEC v CMA recap

Semifinal 1
St. John’s University v Mount St. Mary’s University
SJU (red and blue stripes) and the Mount compete for lineout ball   image: Bob Lyon
In a fierce competition that featured five lead changes, an instance of drawn tallies in the 74th minute, and fifteen trys grounded overall, the opening semifinal match of National Small College Rugby Organization’s Champions Cup in “the Kettle” at Infinity was an absolute blinder. The Johnnies were in the hunt for their third straight national title, while the Mount had been to NSCRO’s Best Four, rock n’ roll, rugby dance before though never achieving the ultimate victory grail. On a warm afternoon with cloud cover both sides exploded out of the gate in a thoroughly enjoyable, well-fought and well-managed contest.
Johnnies methodical and very businesslike early as forwards worked the pick-and-go under the direction of halfback, Nick Mans, and a jittery Mount St Mary’s defense looking rear-legged just now. SJU won their own lineout inside the Mount’s ten meter line and mauled impressively for fifteen before working half-dozen phases until ball slung wide found flyer, Sam Olmscheid, through a sliver of a crease and, ears tucked, the speedster was across for a try converted by fullback, Tanner Hersch: 7-0 for the defending champs with seven gone off referee Marc Nelson’s clock.
Now the Mount firing with splendid use of the short side, snipey breaks by scrumhalf Sean Hartig setting up surges from ranging flankers and determined second rowmen; followed by industry in the center channels from #s 2 and 12, Colin Tirney and Tito Miranda. And it was the MSMU inside center on the lengthy break-and-stride from his own ten-meter line that put fullback Zack Hirschler on a cutter to goal for the touch down: match tight, though SJU yet in the lead at 7-5 after 21 minutes of action.
Johnnies returned straightaway, with the pill seeing many hands before flyhalf Casey Walsh stepped to space inside the Mount’s 22 and streaked to goal for the grounding completed by Hersch, and SJU 14, MSMU 5 with 22 gone.
Mount back on attack immediately with a lineout five meters from the Promised Land. Won and spun and three banging phases later, a knock-on shifted possession and stymied the move. But the Mount took a seven-meter scrum against the head and backrow lock CJ Beasley crossed-and-dotted for a fiver: 14-12 yet for the Johnnies in the 27th minute.
SJU extended the lead shortly as a kick-and-chase was covered adeptly by lock, Benny Bissonette. The big man powerfully elusive to within five meters of the MSMU goaline before being brought to ground.  And obstruction by virtue of failing to release the tackled player thus impeding play resulted in field magistrate Nelson awarding a penalty try to SJU; with its conversion by Hersch, 21-12 at the 30th minute.
The breakdown a bitterly-contested pill now, with each side getting and giving in robust rugby display. Mount standoff Myles stepped neatly to space for the quickly finished fiver, and with Miranda’s added deuce, MSMU hanging close at 21-19 and 36.
Lead change just prior to time in the half as Miranda and Hirschler traded passes back and forth for fifty and the Mount’s money man, Miranda, finished quickly. His own conversion and MSMU took its first lead at 26-21 into the break at Nelson’s halftime whistle.
It was clouded over and cooling with wind from the west as Johnnies rocked out of the box at the restart, and
a fine, many-handed movement spearheaded by Mans and ably abetted by wing Jack Luke, was closed by blindside Ricky Kiley: 28-26 at 43.
Fullback Hersch kicked ahead at the Mount’s ten-meter line, then covered at pace, crossing and dotting, extending the SJU advantage to 33-26 in the 46th minute.
Ten minutes of intensity all around the stadium as all aboard in this formidably fractive competition, though no further scoring until the Mount poached a lineout toss at midfield and Hirschler finished an excellent, free-flowing movement in the corner; MSMU would not be shook and 33-31 the tallies at 56 in the favor of the Johnnies.
Lead change just after the hour mark as the crafty Myles quick-tapped a penalty at the SJU 22 and raced to goal for the dot; an additional pair of points by Miranda and lead change and MSMU 38, SJU 33 after 62 minutes of spirited play.
The Johnnies with the reply, five minutes on, Hersch incisive through the Mount defense from inclose and his own conversion meant 40 and 38 to SJU at minute 68.
The Mount reclaimed the advantage as outside center Travis Beasley broke for fifty and the centerpost grounding: 45-40 for MSMU at 70.
St John’s knotted the scores on a try by wing, Jack Luke, at the 74th tick, but a penalty struck by Miranda and Bewley’s brace, converted by Miranda in the 79th minute meant a record of 55-45 at Nelson’s last blast.

            SJU – Try: Olmscheid, Walsh, PT, Kiley, Hersch (2), Luke; Con: Hersch (5);
MSMU – Try: Hirschler (2), Beasley, Myles (2), Miranda, Bewley (2); Con: Miranda (6); Pen: Miranda
Match Official(s): Referee - Marc Nelson; Referee Assistants – Tom Coburn, Stu Geiger; ITB – Dan Hattrup

Semifinal 2 - recap
New England College Lions v California Maritime Academy Keelhaulers

In the second semifinal, New England College went ahead 25-18 just before the hour mark and held off the Keelhaulers to advance to today’s championship match… full match report to follow.

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