Vail tops Glenwood in Mountain Division rugby
Glendwood Springs Post Independent
Vail, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – With every high-energy play, the sideline atmosphere brightened.
A 22-0 score shrunk to 22-7 and then 22-14. Glenwood Defiance Rugby Football Club appeared to have a spirited comeback in it, unleashing a surge that brought life to a sizable home crowd at Glenwood Park.
But, in the end, that 22-point hole could not be fully erased. Getting a late try from Matt Cook, visiting Vail sealed a 29-14 win over Defiance on Saturday.
Vail improved to 2-0 in Mountain Division play, while Defiance dipped to 0-1.
A chaotic first half put Glenwood down 17-0 at the break on tries by Zach Strom and Drew Grigsby and a penalty kick by Bob Barrett.
Support Local Journalism
Maybe five minutes into the second 40-minute half, Colby Knepp sped in for a try up the left sideline to make it 22-0. That’s about when Defiance turned the corner.
“We talked at halftime about slowing down the play and not being so rushed,” Glenwood captain Ken Ishmael said. “We talked about being focused on our fundamentals, how we’re going to use the skills we’ve built in practice and stop throwing the ball around so crazy.
“Instead of using our energy to be willy-nilly and all over the place, we started focusing it. We called it ‘building the fire’ out there. We were shooting for the goal instead of just running around.”
Molding that erratic play into something more refined, Defiance started running with purpose in the second half. That produced solid defense and a pair of tries by flyhalf Chris Woods, who’s known as “Woodsie” on the pitch.
“We started talking about fundamentals,” Woods said, “just little things, like lineouts and scrums, getting the rucks, getting that forward push and, you know, being where you should be. As soon as we started to knuckle down on that a little bit, we started doing a little better.
“Vail’s a quality outfit. They’ve played a lot together, and they know what they’re doing.”
After Woods’ two scores, Vail buckled down in its own right.
“We talked about how there was going to be pressure in the second half from those guys,” said John McGuire, Vail’s first-year coach. “We knew we had to play with poise and play our pattern. The guys pulled it back together and did that. That’s why we won the game.”