The club men’s rugby team downed the one-loss Millersville Marauders, 46-20, in its first playoff game to continue an undefeated season.
In a week when the scent of defeat saturated the Philadelphia air, Temple men’s rugby team and coach John Sciotto turned the tides.
The Owls, undefeated this regular season at 5-0, kept that momentum going in the first game of the Eastern Pennsylvania Rugby Union Semifinals with a 46-20 win against the previously 4-1 Millersville Marauders.
Millersville, a member of the Division II Freedom league, put up a fight in the first half, scoring twice in the first 20 minutes, but the Marauders’ playoff run ended against Division II Liberty powerhouse Temple. The Owls recorded their first undefeated season in team history, securing wins against teams like The College of New Jersey and East Stroudsburg by 72 and 43 points, respectively. This time against Millersville, though, the Owls seemed a little shaky in the first half, only scoring four tries and two conversions along with a penalty kick.
It turned around in the second half, as Temple added three more tries and two more conversions.
Team captain and outside centre Gareth Jones said a halftime speech prompted the turnaround.
“Thanks to an electric speech by [fellow player] Mike Rizzo, we turned around in the second half,” Jones said. “It wasn’t our best. We have a lot to work on, but a win’s a win.”
The men’s rugby team finished first in its league, scoring 197 points, including completing 31 tries, while allowing just 14 points, all from the game against Saint Joseph’s.
The playoffs continue this weekend before picking up again next semester. This weekend’s game could pit Temple against either St. Joe’s or West Chester. The Rams finished ahead of East Stroudsburg in the Freedom League with 205 points. St. Joe’s ranked behind the Owls in the Liberty League with 119 points.
Despite Temple’s momentum entering the playoffs and the win against Millersville, Jones refused to look ahead and simply said, “It was a team effort [today].”
Nadia Elkaddi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.