STEUBENVILLE - The Franciscan University of Steubenville and Grove City College rugby squads took part in a knockdown, drag out match Saturday during the ninth-annual Robert D'Anniballe Rugby Ruckus at Harding Stadium.
When all was said and done the Wolverines proved to be better for at least one evening, claiming a 31-17 decision over the Barons.
"We had too many scoring opportunities that we squandered," said Franciscan head coach Ken DeLucia. "More than I can count. It has to be close to 20, and when you play like that you can't expect to come out of here with a victory.
YOU SHALL NOT PASS — From left, Franciscan University’s Nick Reichart, Collin Cooper, James Kueber, John Rall, Sebastian de Luxumbourg, and Anthony Tatasciore stop a Grove City College player as the Barons’ John Manni looks on at Saturday’s ninth-annual Robert D’Anniballe Rugby Ruckus at Harding Stadium.
-- Fred Younce
"Credit to this team that came in here from Grove City. They were focused, they played hard, and they did a good job.
"I take my hat off to them."
Grove City's first try of the evening was set up by a Franciscan penalty for playing the man without the ball. Caleb Mills did the honors for the try inside of 31 minutes of the first half. With the conversion the scoreboard read 7-0 Wolverines.
About 18 minutes later Grove City cleared the ball from their side and were able to gain control deep. Mills was again involved in the scoring play, this time passing to Dan DeCristofaro pushed in from about three yards out. The conversion failed, but Grove City led 12-0.
With just under six minutes left in the first half the Barons got on the board. After winning a the scrum on their own feed James Kueber powered forward, passed to Anthony Tatasciore, who passed to Christopherson Cortes who jetted about 15 yards for the try. The conversion was missed and the Wolverines lead was cut to 12-5, a lead that stood at halftime.
Grove City scored quickly in the second half when it won a Franciscan lineout that ultimately set up a Mills' try from 12 yards.The Conversion was good and the score was 19-5 Grove City.
The Barons took less than three minutes to respond. A diving over penalty on the Wolverines led to Franciscan winning their lineout, and after pushing in close Kueber used brute force to punch in from five yards for the try. The conversion failed making the score 19-10 Grove City.
The lead was cut to two 19 minutes later. Franciscan won a Grove City lineout, pushed it deep into Wolverine territory, were helped by a Grove City penalty, and the Barons' Adam Smyth raced in from 12 yards for the try. Adam de Luxumbourg put the conversion through to make the score 19-17 Grove City.
The Wolverines closed things out from there as Mills extended the lead when he took it in from about 15 out off a Franciscan penalty. The conversion was good, making it a two-score match at 26-17.
Grove City tacked one on with under a minute to make the final 31-17.
On the night Franciscan won eight of 12 scrums off their feed and won seven of nine on their lineouts. Kueber was named "Man of the Match" for the Barons.
The Wolverines won all eight scrums off their feed and 12 of 16 of their lineouts, including their first 12.
"We need a little bit more practice," said DeLucia. "We have a lot of young players on this side. For some of them it was the second match they've ever played.
"Baring that in mind, adjustments happen through the match. Typically in the second half those adjustments are made. It's halftime when we get to talk to the guys and make those adjustments. Some of them, when they're on our sideline, we can talk to them about.
"It's just something we have to work on. A little more focus and a little more detail work in training this week."
Though his team took the loss, DeLucia was impressed with the event.
"It's a fantastic event," he said. "Obviously being so new to the program this is my first time here so it's a lot to take in, but the benevolence is uplifting to say the least.
"To know what the family has done for Franciscan University is quite impressive and we're very thankful."