USC was welcomed to Riverside with a warm, dry heat, and a slightly narrow field. The USC team started slowly and found themselves defending for the first 10 minutes of the match. This did produce some good goal line defense that prevented Riverside scoring, and eventually USC managed to move out of the shadow of their goal line. But the ball carriers still had some problems with handling and control of the ball. Fumbles, dropped passes and poor transfers between players kept USC on the back foot and continually defending Riverside counter-attacks. Most surprisingly, the half time score was only 3-0 in favor of USC, thanks to team Vice Captain Haico Kaashoek converting a long range penalty kick.
The second half started with new energy. Finally finding some gaps in the Riverside defense, the USC ball runners made some positive forward progress, and the upfield movement allowed for easier passing between the players. USC Captain Joey Krassenstein started the try-scoring with another gliding burst through the middle of the Riverside defensive, weaving between the final two defenders to score under the posts. Shortly after, OJ Haugen made a strong break and scored. Then the backs completed a fast transfer of the ball across the field, opening up the gap out wide, and Haico Kaashoek scored a beautiful try, outrunning the defender down the left wing. Haico later scored another try and kicked a total of two penalties and four conversions, earning him USC Man of the Match. The final score was 34-15.
USC players with big tackles throughout the match included Duncan Chalfant, OJ Haugen, Jack Haley and Dylan Sidoo. Excellent ball running by Nick Ludwig and Rob Semu, and great sidestepping by reserve back Kwabs Osei-Larbi.
The USC 2nd XV played a condensed 10-a-side match due to limited opposition players, but that didn’t stop the Trojans from taking on Riverside and getting excellent match experience. Shortly into the second half, a couple of Riverside jerseys were filled with USC players, and now the USC players were scoring on both sides of the field. Everyone enjoyed the conversion attempt by USC forward Nick Banks – he missed, but was rewarded with another shot at the posts minutes later, which he converted. Excellent ball running by Omar Zeitoun, and reserve back Justin Sheppard scored a blistering try with a cut back to the score under the posts.
Thanks for following the USC Rugby Trojans during the Fall season. The USC Team will be traveling within the Pac 12 region, and needs additional financial support to make the matches happen. Please email Captain Joey Krassenstein to support the USC Rugby Team with a donation. Thank you.