By Zach Kraus
The sun was out and the heat was intense last Saturday as the Hoggies hosted Angelo State University in their third game of the semester. The addition of several new players on the ASU team made for a very different match compared to when UD played the team last semester. ASU came out of the gate hard and drew first blood within a few minutes of the beginning of play. However, what ASU did not count on was Hoggie resilience, with sophomore Titus Willard answering with a beautiful tap-and-go off of a penalty.
What followed was a brutal blow-for-blow match with back-and-forth tries from each side. ASU answered Willard’s try with one of its own, then finally, in the last play of the half, senior Alec “The Ginger Giant” Thie scored, putting the Hoggies in the lead going into halftime. After taking the field again, the ASU boys scored two tries, putting them in the lead again. The Hoggies were unable to answer until the last 15 minutes of the game. At this point, the two locks, freshman Matt “Good” Kaiser and Senior Kevin “Flowers” Flannery scored back-to-back, the first tries of both their careers at UD. However, even this Herculean effort would prove to be not enough, as soon after, an unfortunate penalty put ASU in position to score its fifth and final try. The Hoggies were unable to rectify this discrepancy in points, and they lost the match.
“It was basically a simple quarterback, where you pick up the ball [out of a ruck] and dive forward a couple meters ahead, and it was just the last step of a hardy forward campaign,” said Kaiser, commenting on his first try. “Not necessarily my try, just another forward try, one of many.” He also commented on how appropriate it was that he and Flannery, his “rugby wife” (mentor of sorts), scored their first tries in the same game.
“I thought it was very fitting, and fell right in line with the Catholic social teaching that we both lose our ‘try virginity’ in the same game,” he said.
Sophomore Mary Grace Quinlan gave a fan’s perspective.
“I think [the Hoggies] did really well, they were definitely outweighed a lot, but [the boys] got some good tries,” she said. “It was super intense, because it kept going back and forth. Despite the loss, it was one of the most fun games I’ve seen.”
As a sibling of a rugger, she was willing to give a few tips to newer fans of the team. “Without fail, cheer whenever the rugby guys are cheering, so even if you don’t know what’s going on, there’s that,” she said. “But I also think getting into the spirit of it, you know, cheering on the guys and being there to support them makes it a really fun game after all. It’s pretty basic.”
The Hoggies have two more games left in regular season, and now with this loss it is even more crucial that they win them in order to make the playoffs. The next game is a much-anticipated matchup with the University of Texas at Dallas.