Aspetuck Flexes Muscles In Four-Team Meeting
Aspetuck Flexes Muscles In Four-Team Meeting
Aspetuck emerged victorious from a small four-team tournament held in Pennsylvania Sunday, defeating West Shore United and Berks to continues the team's fine run of form.
Aspetuck won their shortened games in convincing fashion 19-5 over West Shore, and then took on Berks, which was a bit injury-hit after a tight 13-12 win over Fairfield, and took care of Berks 45-0. Fairfield, the only non-ranked team in the event, showed very well, losing to Berks by only a point and then beating West Shore 12-7.
The day started off in the rain with the highly anticipated match up of Aspetuck A-side against the West Shore A-side. While they settled into what was going to be a challenging day, you could see both sides realize that it was going to be fun for the forwards with lots of scrums, and pack players taking the ball close with such wet slippery conditions. The scoring started, after quite a bit of back and forth, midway through the first half. A penalty led to an Aspetuck lineout close to the West Shore line. Joseph Coscia, Aspetuck's loosehead prop and senior captain, grabbed the tipped ball and drove in for the first try. Wing Dougie Brown added the conversion to make it 7-0 and that was the score going into halftime.
The second half started much like the first with both sides going back and forth and many scrums due to the muddy ball and rain continuing throughout the half. Aspetuck flyhalf Pearson Hill found an opening in the defense and burst through for try from well over 50 meters out. Brown again added the conversion to make it 14-0. Aspetuck took the restart deep into West Shore's side of the field with a big return by senior lock Dennis Elrod, and a few plays later lock Matt Weiner tapped on a penalty and was in to make it 19-0.
West Shore continued to battle and pinned Aspetuck deep in their zone. They opted to kick for a goal on one penalty, and while that kick didn't go over, Aspetuck knocked on the ball just in front of their goalline. From the ensuing scrum West Shore scored off an eightman pick; 19-5, which is how it ended.
Berks and Fairfield met up after this game with Berks edging Fairfield 13-12. The conditions made it tough to play wide, but Berks also got through the game with some injuries in their pack. That wouldn't help later in the day.
Aspetuck's B side beat Berks B 35-7 and West Shore's B side defeated Aspetuck's C side 29-10 in an entertaining match.
The weather started to clear up and Fairfield took 3rd thanks to a close win over West Shore.
In the final, the scoring started with the Aspetuck forwards working a penalty play that sent Coscia up hard, leading to Wiener scoring on the second phase. Brown added the conversion to make it 7-0. Aspetuck never looked back and started wearing down the tough Berks side, keeping possession after multiple phases, and driving deep into Berks zone. The Aspetuck backs then got involved with outside center Jack Reed scoring from 10 meters out. The pack followed that up with a maul after multiple phases got them to within five meters. There Wiener stripped the ball and scored. Brown converted both and the first half ended 21-0.
The second half was much of the same. Brown scored off a 5-meter scrum, and then Coscia crashed over from a lineout. Inside center Konye Taylor made a big break through the middle and he was gone for a try, and then the game ended on a final long drive by Aspetuck through multiple phases to set up Reed. Brown converted two of those four tries, and ended the day two games with 6-for-9 on conversions and a try for a total of 17 points.
"I was very happy with the forwards," said Aspetuck Head Coach Ray Weiner. "On a rainy day a lot of what we did was simple, basic rugby, but we were able to put teams under pressure because of that."
Coscia was outstanding up front and the lock pairing of Elrod and Weiner was hugely effective. Hill operated the attack nicely and Taylor's late try was just reward for an excellent day overall. The results certainly showed that Aspetuck can handle themselves against strong competition in the Northeast.
Aspetuck takes on Staples High School in their home state of Connecticut, next weekend, which will be a tough early test for a good Staples program. After that it's a bit of a clash of Titans with Aspetuck going down to face #1-ranked Charlotte Tigers in North Carolina, with Wando on the slate the day after.