GRR on X  GRR on Facebook GRR in Instagram GRR Vimeo Library GRR on YouTube RuggaMatrix America Podcasts Support GRR on Patreon

Eastern Small-College Teams Embrace Next Challenge

irish rugby tours

Eastern Small-College Teams Embrace Next Challenge

Susquehanna is on a roll.

Small college teams in the Mid-Atlantic will be key threats as the small-college playoffs loom.

Two teams to keep an eye on ae Catholic University and Susquehanna. 

Susquehanna Gets By Loyola

Having lost only to Shippensburg during the regular season Susquehanna went into their game against Loyola feeling confident and won 33-15.

The game was tight throughout the first half and while the River Hawks did get a try from center CJ Bass and two penalty goals from Sean McPherson, Loyola scored a converted try and a penalty to make it 11-10 at the break.

In the second half, Susquehanna wing Clint Rowe scored in the corner and Loyola answered. In the closing quarter, however, Tyler MacDonald carried tacklers with him over the line, and right after McPherson scampered in after the Susquehanna pack had stolen a scrum put-in. McPherson would later score again to ice the game.

"Tough battle," said Coach Jon Niles, noting that both MacDonald and McPherson were back from injury and were hugely influential. McPherson normally plays flyhalf for the River Hawks but slotted in superbly at scrumhalf. 

"We are still missing a few guys with injuries but hopefully we can roll into Virginia strong."

Catholic over Widener

Catholic looked in trouble this fall after graduating 12 players and being concerned about recruiting post-COVID. They were young, too, but the freshmen who joined the team have turned out to be experienced and talented. Caholic ended up with a committed group that wanted to play as a team.

The players, said the coaches, doubled-down on learning as much as possible—playing new positions, executing new patterns and new skills.

Focusing on basic skills being executed well has seen Catholic through.

Head Coach John Solomon said he is strong contributions from across the entire lineup each week. But the center pairing of the experienced Sebastian Musalem (St. John's College HS, DC) and with first-year player Mike Messino has been very useful. Flyhalf Billy Zittle (Loyola-Blakefield, Md.) has done everything asked of him and more while playing in a new position. In the forwards Auggie Orrego (St. John's College HS, DC) is plying well while veterans John Walsh (Xavier HS, NY) and Ethan Ghostlaw (Hanover HS, Mass.) are impacting the game in multiple ways for this team and leading from the front.