By: Al Lucas, Head Rugby Coach
(CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky.) - On Homecoming Day, the Thomas More College men's rugby team hosted Western Kentucky University. On a beautiful Fall afternoon, the Saints finally had a chance to run on BB&T Field and gave the holdover fans from the Homecoming Football Game an exciting end to their day. TMC battled ferociously against a much larger and more experienced Hilltopper rugby side, ultimately prevailing and raising their record on the season to 2-1.
WKU started the match off by putting the Saints under extreme pressure early. They maintained possession of the ball through several phases of play. Finally, a penalty in front of the TMC goal posts gave the Hilltoppers an opportunity for a penalty kick. The good sailed through the uprights giving WKU a 3-0 lead.
The Saints weather the early storm and began to gain territory on their own. They were rewarded with a Try (touchdown) by Tristan Harnisch at the 20-minute mark. The conversion kick barely missed, leaving the score 5-3 in TMC's way. WKU came back quickly with another penalty kick at 25 minutes, and an unconverted Try of their own at the 32-minute mark. The half ended with WKU leading 11-5.
The Saints to the field in the second half with great determination and grit. Kevin Root struck early with a long run at 47 minutes, to start off a run of 15 unanswered points. At 53 minutes Ryan Hans kicked a 3-point penalty kick. At 55 minutes Root struck again for a Try, which was converted by Hans pushing the score to 20-11 in favor of the Saints.
WKU eventually turned the tide for a brief respite and drove into scoring position. At the 62-minute mark they powered across for a Try and notched the conversion bringing the score to 20-18. Just six minutes later, WKU began to threaten once again, relying on their superior size to grind out yardage. But it was the quickness and speed of the TMC backline, which changed the balance of the match. Outside Center Blaise Arthur-Wong shot up on defense and intercepted an errant pass. He dashed 60 yards downfield to put TMC comfortably ahead at 25-18 with just 12 minutes remaining in the match.
The Saints "Boys in Blue" bowed their necks for the remainder of the match. Despite a desperate late attempt to cross the Try Line by WKU, the match ended with TMC up 25-18.