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D2 Men VS Morris 09-22-18

Posted on 9/24/2018 5:15:40 PM by Mike Dombrowski |   Return To Blog

Hoping to carry the momentum that the D3 finished their match with, the D2 Mudturtles were primed to take on the Morris Lions, who had been top contenders in Division 2 for the past several years. The match was sure to be an exciting one, with fantastic talent on both sides of the pitch.

As soon as the whistle sounded to begin the game, Union came out hungry. Staunch defense proved to be the key to both the match and the first score of the game, as Matt Scarfuto shot up after a breakdown to intercept the ball and go for a run. Gary White would follow Scarfuto in support, taking a hand off and walking the ball in for a try. Flyhalf Mike Ehrlich slotted the conversion, and the Mudturtles led 7-0.

Ten minutes later, Morris scored and converted their kick, evening the score line. Morris and Union would continue to trade punishing runs, with players from both teams bumping off would-be tacklers. Both teams looked to be in good form, with few penalties being conceded by either side in the first half. The Lions would score again at the 31st minute and, with a converted kick, took the lead 14-7.

However, Ehrlich began to take devastating runs against the Morris side, weaving through defenders and smashing them when they were in his way. In the remaining ten minutes with help from his backline, Ehrlich was able to dot down two tries and convert both, putting the Mudturtles in front 21-14. The halftime whistle blew, but both teams knew that this match was far from over.

Morris capitalized on a Union error to begin the second half and slotted a penalty kick, narrowing the margin 21-17. Both sides continued to smash into each other, with excellent tackles to prevent either team from conceding another score. However, with some terrific play, Morris was able to score in the 58th minute; however, their conversion was wide of the post, only putting them ahead of Union by one point. Quick to respond, Union marched down the field, and an fantastic pass found center Mike Craig with nothing but open green in front of him. Craig dotted the ball down and, with the conversion missed, Union led 26-22. In rapid fashion, Morris answered two minutes later with their own try, but once again the conversion missed, putting the opposing side ahead by a single point.

Union replied within the next minute, with center Chris Sweeney crashing over the try line to put Union ahead 31-27 with seventeen minutes remaining. Morris fought hard, continuously attacking the Mudturtle defense. The Union side was able to repel the Lions’ attack, but fans became nervous as penalties were given up close to the Union try line. However, the Mudturtles sustained their tireless defense, and were able to turn the ball over and began to march back down the field in an effort to burn out the last few minutes.

In the last two minutes of the game, Morris threw everything they had against the Mudturtles, drawing closer and closer to the try line. Unfortunately for Morris, an errant pass missed its intended target, and Union wing Tyler Ringwood picked up the ball and ran the entire length of the field to seal the victory for Union. With the conversion slotted, Union emerged victorious at a score of 38-27.

The man of the match for the Division 2 game was Kirill Gusarov, who consistently created opportunities for the Mudturtles through his aggressive defense, won lineouts and smart ball-carrying. The 4-0 Division 2 Union side travels next week to play PAC Rugby.

Photos by Al Brown