By: Al Lucas, Head Rugby Coach
(HUNTINGTON, W.Va.) - Thomas More College men's rugby team traveled to play Marshall University in a rematch one week after dealing the Thundering Herd a massive loss. This week's match was far more contested as TMC had to come from behind to put away a Marshall Team committed to redeem itself after last week's humbling loss. The victory, in a match marred by excessive penalties and numerous turnovers, also qualified the Saints for the first Midwest College Rugby Conference Championship Tournament. The tournament will be hosted at Xavier University on the weekend of October 28.
On a beautiful fall afternoon, on which Marshall University hosted its Homecoming, it was the home team that got on the scoreboard first. Marshall took advantage of penalties and turnovers to move down the field for a converted Try (7 total points) at the 18-minute mark. Ten minutes later, TMC's Kevin Root crossed the line and touched the ball down for a Try (5 points). But the Conversion attempt was unsuccessful. The half ended with Marshall scoring an unconverted Try on a long run, putting the score at 12-5 in their favor.
In the second half Marshall struck quickly and pushed the score to 17-5. It may have been what the doctor ordered, as finally the Saints began to settle down and play their attacking style of rugby. The "Boys in Blue" began to dominate possession and territory. Two converted Tries, one by Blaise Arthur-Wong and one by Damon Jones (Ryan Hans Converted both), put TMC up 19-17. The two teams went back and forth on Penalty Kicks (3 points each), and the score moved to Marshall 23, TMC 22 at 72 minutes.
The Saints dominated the last ten minutes of the match. Ryan Hans scored on a breakaway Try and backed himself by kicking the Conversion at 74 minutes (TMC 29- MU 23). Then at 77 minutes Jordan Johnson scored on another long, slashing run to push the score to the Final of 34-23.
Next week, TMC will host Southern Indiana University. Kick-off is at 4 p.m.