Seton Hall University’s club rugby team dropped a tough match to No. 20 Marist College, 17-13, on Sunday afternoon at Ivy Hill Park.
The match was a battle for first place in the Fall Men’s standings as Marist (5-0-1) jumped ahead of Seton Hall (5-2) and ended the Pirates’ five-game winning streak.
“We played hard and much more aggressive,” John Haggerty said. “But at the end of the day we made more mental mistakes which hurt us and that was the difference in this game.”
Marist took control of the possession early in the first half and took advantage by converting back-to-back try opportunities, giving the Red Foxes a 10-0 lead as both conversion kicks failed.
Seton Hall responded later in the first half by pushing the ball into Marist’s side of the field and winning possession battles. The Pirates got on the scoreboard when Devante Jackson broke free and recorded the first try for Seton Hall.
Mental mistakes plagued the Hall minutes later when the Pirates lost possession deep in their own territory and Marist took advantage by crossing into the corner for a try, putting the Red Foxes ahead, 17-5.
Seton Hall continued to bring the pressure and intensity and before the end of the first half, senior Steve Bauernfeind streaked up the sideline to score a try.
“We were the better team today and we’ll definitely play them again and we’ll beat them,” Bauernfeind said. “It took us a few years to get used to coach’s system and how to play right under him and he’s doing a great job.”
The second half highlighted some defensive efforts on both sides. Each team had possession near the opposing team’s try-line, but failed to cross it. The Pirates closed the gap a bit when they elected to attempt a penalty kick and converted, but that was the final score of the match.
Marist controlled the ball near the Pirates’ goal line for the majority of the final minutes of play but Seton Hall was resilient enough to keep them from crossing.
“This was a good test,” Haggerty said. “We were matching up right there with them and we’re definitely going to see them in the playoffs.”
Seton Hall now sits in second place in the division behind Marist and Fairfield who account for both of the Pirates’ losses on the season. Seton Hall will return to the pitch in two weeks against Molloy College.
Mike Romano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org