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Owls start season off right with win over UMass

Sean Meenaghan — Photo Editor
Sophmore John Marullo making a tackle in the season home opener.

SEAN MEENAGHANPhoto Editor

Winning key scrums, crucial line outs and pushing through with gritty defense proved to be the answer as Southern rugby took down UMass 10-6 to start the 2011 season.

SCSU came strongly out of the gates, as they pushed down the field and Kiki Ferguson scored, giving the Owls a 5-0 lead.

 Exceptional defense by Captain Pat O’Connor and Eugene Jose kept the shutout intact until the second half, when UMass marched down the field and ran the ball in to tie the game at 5-5.

With 10 minutes left the Owls were able to find an opening in the UMass defense and Jose was able to score.

He said it all started with his teammates.

“I got a great pass from my fullback, he saw the hole and I did too,” Jose said. “I looked back and I knew I had it.”

In the final seconds, UMass made it inches from scoring, but failed to capitalize, sealing the victory for the Owls.

“We had a good team win,” Jose said. “I knew the defense was coming, we were tired out there but we needed a big win.”

O’Connor said it all came down to teamwork.

“This is the first game we played as a family,” O’Connor said. “We played as a team, the first two weeks it was individuals but today we really pulled it together.”

O’Connor said everyone needed to be on the same page to get the victory.

“We had a long sit down with our whole A-Side,” O’Connor said, “and decided that we wanted to turn it around because we were ready to play as one.”

O’Connor said they needed to make big changes from last season.

“The biggest difference from last season and this season is experience,” O’Connor said. “We only returned a few starters and we’re competing in one of the best division one leagues in the nation.”

O’Connor said they are trying to build from the bottom.

“Were trying to get younger guys in,” O’Connor said, “and give them some time so down the stretch they’ll know what they are doing.”

O’Connor said the Owls are playing in a tough league—upcoming matches include UConn and Boston College.

“We have teams throughout the league competing for a national championship.” O’Connor said.

O’Connor said the strong stops gave the team a lot of energy.

“Everyone was hitting,” O’Connor said. “We came out, we were talking the whole week about taking everything personal, that was the motto the entire week and today it really showed, we came out and started laying hits.”

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