Manassas, VA - The Mystic River v Chicago Lions’ Round of 16 match during the men’s DI club championship was closer than the 41-19 score suggests, but it’s still an intimidating figure for its quarterfinal opponent, Palmer College, to cope with.
“I was definitely worried,” Mystic River coach Nick Murphy said. “Chicago is a good, young team, and they can move the ball from anywhere. It wasn’t until the second half when we scored two tries within the first four minutes that we felt more comfortable.”
The first half was patchy for Mystic River – phases of solid play marred by some sloppy execution. Murphy and assistant coach Jake Sprague focused the team at half, insisting that the defense needed to tighten up and arm-tackling needed to cease.
“There are some things we need to improve on,” Gonzales said. “The ball was greasy for both of us. We made some errors and turned the ball over a lot. They’re a solid team with big forwards, and we had to use our subs.”
Chicago caused the most problems in the scrum, wheeling the Mystic River forwards and taking away an important attacking option for the team. It’s something that Sprague will be addressing specifically with the front row this evening as it prepares for Palmer College.
Mystic River had an advantage with its linebreaks, which originated with the loose forwards. Flanker Joe Shurmaitis led the charge, both offensively and defensively, and helped set up the center tries with his breaks through the line.
“It was our first game, and we’re happy, but we have to play better if we’re going to win tomorrow,” Gonzales said.”
Mystic River plays Palmer College for the bid to the DI club Final Four at 1 p.m. EST.