Rugby club endures muddy field but ends in a victorious celebration

Written By Josh Croup

                                                                                                                        photo by Jordan Chaffee
Senior Josh Coltura escapes into open field during the first half. Coltura was voted “Man of the Match” by his teammates in his last career rugby match. 

The season finale and the last fall match for seven Point Park Rugby Club seniors ended in celebration.

Point Park came away with their second win of the season against Allegheny College on Friday and finished in sixth place out of eight teams in the Three Rivers Rugby Conference (3RRC) Gold Division. 

Both teams entered the match with identical 1-5 records. Point Park looked to carry their momentum over from last week’s loss against Robert Morris University, where they scored a season high, 29 points against the second place RMU Colonials. 

The muddy conditions of the Allegheny College field created a tough playing environment. Once the game started to pick up the pace, the number of dropped passes increased. 

“The ball was slippery. The ground may have been slippery, but the ground was pretty firm so it wasn’t hard to run on,” senior captain and fly-half Troy Johnston said. “Holding on to the ball was the hardest thing to do in conditions like that.”

It didn’t take long for Point Park to get on the scoreboard. 10 minutes into the game, the ball was bouncing around inside five meters when junior outside center Alden Roth grabbed the ball out of the air and dove into a puddle over the try line for the game’s first try. He connected on his first conversion kick of the season to put Point Park up 7-0. 

The game went scoreless for the next 25 minutes. During that time, Allegheny College was unable to get anything going on offense. Each time they began to put a drive together, Point Park stopped and forced them to turn the ball over. Point Park controlled the ball for the majority of the first half and didn’t allow Allegheny to come close to scoring. 

As the first half winded down, Roth kicked a loose ball on the ground 20 meters down the field, landing over the try line. He fell on the ball and touched down for a try to give Point Park a 12-0 lead. 

“I used to play soccer, so I always just kick the ball,” Roth said. “I [didn’t] really know what was going on.” 

After Allegheny converted on a penalty kick to cut Point Park’s lead to 12-3 in the second half, it looked like Point Park would add another try to extend the lead. Freshman prop Davion Heron had two separate tries called off after he had double movements on his way to cross the try line. 

Soon after Heron’s failed tries, Johnston received a pass from junior scrum-half Jake Como and crossed the try line untouched to score and extend Point Park’s lead to 19-3. 

“It’s an awesome feeling when you get in there,” Johnston said. “It’s nothing but excitement.” 

Allegheny outside center Alex Colarte gave his team their first try of the game to pull them within 9, but it was too little too late as Point Park would hang on for a 19-10 victory. 

“There wasn’t enough support from outside in the rucks. There was a lot of selfishness. It was disappointing to see that we couldn’t run and help each other out,” Colarte said. “There was a ton of support by [Point Park’s] players. It was nearly impossible to get the ball out of their rucks,” Colarte said. 

After finishing their first season in the 3RRC with only one victory, the club had determination to improve this season. The team still finished 2014 with a losing record of 2-5, but improved nonetheless.

“We wanted to make progress. We’re always looking to make progress as a club,” Como said. “This win makes the season 100 percent better than last year.”

The club does still has a spring semester of matches, but it was the last match for senior wing Josh Coltura, who is due to have neck surgery. Coltura was voted “Man of the Match” by his teammates. 

“I can’t put it into words,” Coltura said. “Just to be with everybody meant the world to me.”

Junior eighth-man Richie Carver is the only returning captain next season and has the responsibility of leading the team after losing seven seniors. He says that he is ready and excited for the opportunity. 

“We’re losing a lot of dudes. That means that all the other guys need to step up,” Carver said.

Roth will also become a key senior on the team next year and said that a win for the current seniors was all that the club could have hoped for. 

“A win in general is a great thing. It means the world to me,” Roth said. “I can’t imagine what it means to them.”