Focus on Troop as D3 side prepares for Happy Valley
With our D1 side “the Exiles” on a bye this week the focus will be on our D3 side “Troop” as they prepare for a pivotal match against Happy Valley. Due to a scheduling quirk, Troop’s league season this year features four consecutive away matches followed by four consecutive home matches. If the boys are able to bring home a win this weekend they’ll be 2-2 heading into the home portion of their schedule and in a good position to earn a playoff berth.
When asked to explain the approach this week with only one match on the schedule Head 15s Coach Jon Grasso stated that “each week we try to position both our D1 and D3 sides to be in the best positions possible to succeed on the weekend. With D1 off this week we can put a bit of extra focus on D3 and some of the things that they particularly need to work on. This will serve them well, not only this weekend, but for the rest of the season. I’m excited to see the D3 side put forth a strong performance this weekend and get some momentum going into their home stand for the rest of the fall.”
The focus on player development, and making sure that every member of our roster is playing meaningful rugby is a priority on our Club from top to bottom. Director of Rugby Pat Boyle echoed much of the sentiment expressed by Coach Grasso in saying that ""with D1 on a bye, this week really illustrates the value of our club structure, and the constant development that occurs. Certainly, the D1 boys are prepping for their match in two weeks but the emphasis is on D3, their trip this weekend, and getting them to 2-2 before they return home for 3 matches. It’s a massive asset that we have them going against a D1 side all week. That occurs every week obviously, but the intensity is certainly amped this week as we focus on their development. As Director of Rugby, I love these weeks were we can slow a tad, focus on the needs of just one side, and do some fine tuning."
In terms of what he expects out of his side this weekend Troop’s Captain Ryan Tower made a bold statement and said “with many fresh faces this season, River is fortunate to have a good problem of fitting the right pieces of a formidable machine in the right spots. This weekend is a test of a club that top to bottom operates as a unit. If we can capitalize on our focus at practice and play our game,we will succeed. After the growing pains of the first 3 weeks, the D3 side needs to dig deep to show the league that we can work our plan and adapt to anything an opponent throws at us. I hope to see that the system we implement will dismantle our opponent. The dedication of the youth of our club has had a measured impact on our play while the seniority of our team has set the framework to build on. We need to sharpen our tools and continue to develop.”
While River may not have gotten the results we wanted in last week’s matches the future looks bright going forward and it’s great to see so much commitment from Club leadership to helping every player on the team become the best version of themselves. Tyler Kelly, Ben Janssen and Chase Haberstroh deserve mention for their work in the Exiles most recent match while Bobby Collins, Bryan McCorkle, and Dave Gross put in a good shift for Troop.
Troop takes on Happy Valley in State College on Saturday October 5 while the Exiles return to action on October 12 with an away match against Washington Irish.
Scorers Sept 28:
Tries: Louis Baeza (1), Ben Janssen (1)
Cons: Keown (1)
Tries: Dave Gross (1) John “Cat Stevens” Vizzachero (1),
Cons: Tower (1)
Troop Season Stats:
Tries: Ryan McHugh (2), Vito Nucci (2), Jabari Johnson (2), Kevin Allison (1), Dave Gross (1), Jeff Hall (1), Bryan McCorkle (1), Alex Ruiz (1), Colin Sullivan (1), John “Cat Stevens” Vizzachero (1)
Cons: Ryan Tower (7)
Pens: Ryan Tower (1)
Exiles Season Stats:
Tries: Cesar DaFonseca (5), Jack Ramirez (4), Ben Janssen (2), Louis Baeza (1), Ryan Blythe (1), Rich Casey (1), Brian Keown (1), Joe Midwig (1), Vito Nucci (1), Brad Volm (1),
Cons: Brian Keown (8) Alex Ruiz (2)
Pens: Brian Keown (2)