Lincoln Park Match Report - 5-22-10
Written by Ian McNulty   

Lincoln Park Match Report - 5/22/10

Lincoln Park 22 - NORFC 18

The New Orleans Rugby Football Club (NORFC) made its second appearance within three years in the USA Rugby Round of 16 today, though the first do-or-die game of the championship did not go according to plan.  New Orleans faced Lincoln Park of Chicago, and while the intense game kept hearts pounding on each team’s sideline until the final whistle the Midwest team prevailed and will advance while the Deep South champion lost and tomorrow will play for club honor. 

“We did really well in some areas of today’s game, but we made some key mistakes and when we did the opponent exploited them very effectively,” said New Orleans head coach Jerry Malina. “It was a game we felt we should have won, and the loss is very frustrating for all of us. But this is a team with a lot of spirit and I’m confident the experience will make us stronger as we develop the squad and the club.”

New Orleans set an impressive pace for the game early, dominating the scrums and delivering big hits when Lincoln Park ran the ball. New Orleans scored first off a penalty goal, courtesy of wing Andrew Quackenbos, though within minutes Lincoln Park scored its own from a New Orleans penalty. New Orleans missed two further penalty goals in the first 20 minutes of play, but once the team settled into a good pattern of play and marched past the opponent’s 22-meter line another penalty opportunity allowed Quackenbos to bring the score to 6-3.

As each team continued to test each other, New Orleans saw a number of promising runs on goal undone by errors. The most dramatic play of the first half came at the fortieth minute as New Orleans won a scrum on Lincoln Park’s five-meter line and moved the ball out to the backs only to see it picked off. Lincoln Park raced it down the pitch, and while New Orleans backs caught up to disrupt the run near the try line the opponent had strong support on the break and made the try, bringing the score to 6-10 at halftime with a good Lincoln Park conversion.

The restart of the game brought on a fierce contest between the teams to assert themselves and dictate momentum for the second half. A few minutes in, the ref showed a yellow card against New Orleans, sending a forward to the sin bin for a spell. Lincoln Park capitalized on the numerical advantage, won an ensuing scrum and moved the ball to their backs, who scored a try with a run down the touchline. With no conversion, the score stood at 6-15.

Fresh reserves from the New Orleans bench made an impact soon after joining the fray. From a scrum deep in Lincoln Park territory, flanker Tom Sicola made a hard run at the defense, found good ruck support and moved the ball to center Jeff Reuther, who scored with defenders clinging to his jersey. It was an inspiring rally for New Orleans, which was still playing a man down due to the earlier penalty, though the momentum was drained by an injury on the Lincoln Park side that required an ambulance call. Both sides tried to stay loose during the 30-minute hiatus as the player received care, and with the pitch again clear Quackenbos converted the New Orleans try for a 13-15 score.

Back in full steam, Lincoln Park quickly answered with its own try, with its player breaking a tackle and touching the ball down near the uprights. A conversion extended the opponent’s lead to 13-22. As the clock ran down, New Orleans remained confident and soon put together a successful pattern that ended with fullback Ross Bellaci making a skip pass to Quackenbos for a try. The conversion attempt sailed wide, however, and 18-22 would be the game’s final score. Lincoln Park kept the ball in the final minutes of play and held their lead to the final whistle.

The loss ends the New Orleans championship run, though tomorrow the team faces Bayonne in a consolation round. The NORFC will be playing for pride, and also for the honor of achieving a club first with a win at this level of national competition.

Final Score - Lincoln Park 22 - New Orleans 18

New Orleans RFC

1) Matt Upton (c); 2) Kevin Kern; 3) Sean Malek ; 4) Jim Hotard; 5) Jerry Zifodya; 6) Rob Hoffman; 7) Ryan Fitzgerald; 8) Seth Magden; 9) Joel Mclain; 10) Jeff Reuther; 11) David Buckingham; 12) Eric Mackintosh; 13) Ryan Andree; 14) Andrew Quackenbos; 15) Ross Bellaci; 16) Adam Massey; 17) Jimmy Courtenay; 18) Jimmy Rehkopf; 19) Tom Sicola; 20) Chris Beacher; 21) Casey Mackintosh; 22) Joe Palermo
; 23) Todd Fitzgerald

Tries (2): Reuther, Quackenbos

Cons (1): Quackenbos (1 for 2)

Pens (2): Quackenbos (2 for 4)

Copyright © 2010 New Orleans Rugby Football Club. All Rights Reserved.  A busbeepbeep production. Some images by Mark Steve Guillory.