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D2 Union VS Monmouth 9/15/2018

Posted on 9/19/2018 11:30:26 AM by Mike Dombrowski |   Return To Blog

A hot, humid Saturday greeted the D2 Union County Mudturtles as they prepared to take on a Monmouth side that had not lost a game yet in the 2018 season. After some last-minute rescheduling, the match was moved to Union"s home field for a 2 PM kickoff. With some new faces in the starting XV, Union was hungry to take on their opponents and prove that they were going to be the only unbeaten team in the Division 2 Empire GU.


However, the match started differently than the Mudturtles planned. An early handling error lead to an opportunistic Monmouth try in the first minute. With the completed conversion, the opposing side opened the scoring 7-0. After some tough physical play from both teams, Union"s number 8 Hunter Lostan broke off a long run, bumping would-be tacklers as he rumbled over the try line. The score would remain at 7-5 as the conversion was missed.


Monmouth was quick to answer to Lostan"s try; in the next three minutes, they attacked the Mudturtles defensive line, eventually breaking through for a try and a converted kick, increasing their lead 14-5. Union flyhalf Mike Ehrlich would later slot a penalty kick in the 18th minute, closing the gap 14-8. The Mudturtles then continued to apply heavy offensive pressure, with multiple players making line breaks, which lead to two tries, one from winger Naeem Smith and from Ehrlich. Only one kick was converted, and Union took the lead 20-14. Monmouth responded with a converted penalty kick, reducing the deficit 20-17.


Before the halftime whistle sounded, Union was able to tack on two more tries, one from outside center Nick Wallace, and a second from Lostan. The first half ended with Union leading 32-17.


Determined to maintain their lead for the rest of the game, Union came out for the second half with stout defense. However, Monmouth"s persistent attack lead to a try at the 45th minute, bringing the score to 32-22. The Mudturtles fought back, determined to add to their lead. In the 60th minute, Union was awarded a scrum on the Monmouth five-meter line. Being a massive weapon in the match, Union pushed the scrum towards the try line, and replacement forward Mike Dombrowski dove over the line to score. Five minutes later, Naeem Smith ran down a kick along the sidelines to run in for his second try of the day. Union lead the match 42-22.


Monmouth would hit back, scoring a try in the 69th minute. With the conversion going wide, the score sat at 42-27. Due to some unlucky yellow cards, the Mudturtles played the last ten minutes down two men; however, this did not stop them from keeping their opponent out of the try zone. Steadfast defense and hard-nosed tackling prevented Monmouth from adding any points to their score. The game ended at 42-27, in favor of the Mudturtles.


Two sidenotes, it was the debut for the mens new set of jerseys and there was a rare double Dobbs sighting along the sidelines.


Both the Division 3 and Division 2 Mudturtles play next weekend at home against Morris RFC.