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Syracuse Hammerheads Show Teeth

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Syracuse Hammerheads Show Teeth

Syracuse University defeated the US Merchant Marine Academy 42-24 Saturday to move to 3-1 and put the Hammerheads squarely in the hunt in the Empire Rugby Conference.

With Stony Brook chugging along and Colgate emerging as a solid contender, the Hammerheads have cruised silently among the swimmers taking bites out of the competition.

“We went into the season with a quiet confidence,” said Syracuse No. 8/prop Angus Bishop. “We knew last year our record didn’t reflect how well we thought we could play. So everyone came into this season with the stance that we could be contenders.”

The return of Alex Hodgkinson, the flyhalf who joined the Syracuse football team as a kicker, certainly has helped, but, added Bishop, others have stepped up to show leadership.

“I don’t think we’re surprising ourselves,” said Bishop. “For us, we are performing OK, but we can play better. We are feeling confident about how we’re going about our business.”

Key among the list of things to improve is discipline. Bishop said Syracuse has been penalized more than every opponent they’ve played, and it’s a case, he said, of players being over-enthusiastic at the wrong times.

“t’s going to make more and more of an effect on us as the season goes on,” said Bishop. “We can’t let good teams get second chances.”

Bishop has moved between No. 8 and prop as Syracuse has tinkered with the scrum. Alex Amico was the outside center but he is now the hooker. The changes have helped.

“We like to think we’re a good scrummaging team, but that was not the case early on,” said Bishop. “That’s one part of play where Stony Brook had an advantage on us.”

Stony Brook is the only team to beat Syracuse in conference play.

“[Against USMMA] was good for our scrums,” said Bishop. “We’re back to where we usually are.”

So now there are two games for Syracuse to face in order to finish in the top two and make the Empire championship game, at a tough Binghamton, and then at Colgate, who also sit at 3-1. Those are must-wins, but that’s nothing new for Syracuse rugby.

“We’ve been treating every game as a must-win game,” said Bishop. “In a conference as small as the Empire, every game is really a must-win. We’ve been paying close attention to Binghamton and Colgate - those were games we circled at the beginning of the year. We realized we would have a tough go of it at the end, but it will be an exciting finish.”


Empire Conference W L T Pf Pa Pd BT BL Pts
Stony Brook 4 0 0 130 67 63 3 0 19
Syracuse 3 1 0 188 80 108 4 1 17
Colgate 3 1 0 147 56 91 3 1 16
USMMA 1 3 0 86 124 -38 2 0 6
Binghamton 1 2 0 45 80 -35 1 0 5
Brockport 1 2 0 63 139 -76 1 0 5
Fordham 0 4 0 53 156 -103 0 1 1