Recap from the Penn State Match…
The Hawks had a tough exhibition loss against a quality Penn State team on Saturday night. The Hawks were competitive in the first half but a lack of discipline in the second was their undoing. There were some good phases of rugby but the Hawks will need to improve this week as they head to nationals in Pittsburgh this upcoming weekend.
To start the game, the Hawks struggled by losing possession on the opening kick with a handling error and then conceding a penalty allowed Penn State to jump on the board with a score. By the ten minute mark, Penn State had raced in 21 points. Fortunately the Hawks were able to find some traction and halt the Penn State attack. The Hawks moved the ball to the outside and Connor McAuliffe (’19) raced in for the first Hawks score. The score was followed up by a try from Noah Niumataiwalu (’20) who had a dazzling run that finished with a dive into the try zone. The Hawks tacked on 3 more point from the boot of Niumataiwalu when Penn State conceded a penalty in front of their posts. The Hawks continued their first half rally when from a scrum, the backs worked the ball out to Chad McMahon (’19) who ran in for a score. Penn State was able to slow the Hawks attack as they answered back with a score. And at the end of the half, Tom Gibbons (’19) was able to dot down a try off a 5M lineout that was mauled in for the score. With a halftime score of 28-23, the Hawks were able to get back in the match after a rough start.
The solid effort in the first half was quickly forgotten in the second half as the Hawks struggled. Penn State was able to capitalize on many of the Hawks penalties during the half. The Hawks compounded their struggles when three Hawk players were yellow carded during the half. By giving so much possession to a good team like Penn State, the Nittany Lions were able to run away with the game. At final whistle, Penn State won 76-23.
It was a tough match for the Hawks but a match they needed as they head to the USA Rugby D1AA Collegiate Playoffs next weekend. Penn State is one of the top teams in the country and the game allowed the Hawks to reassess their overall play as there will be some tough competition out in Pittsburgh. The Hawks will play the University of Cincinnati in the first round and will need a solid week of practice if they hope to have a shot to advance.
Landmark Man of the Match – Penn State
The Landmark Americana of City Line Avenue Man of the Match honor goes to Noah Niumataiwalu (’20). Niumataiwalu was a fan favorite during the match which was understandable given his tremendous effort in the game. He had a try and penalty kick for a total of eight points. Congrats Noah!!!