September 3, 2016
Lindenwood-Belleville Gains Win Against Tennessee
Tennessee opened the 2016-2017 season at home on Friday night against Lindenwood-Belleville that ended with a 30-22 loss. The Lynx were able to take advantage of many Volunteer mistakes in the season opener.
Last year was the first season for Lindenwood-Belleville where they competed in Division II. They had an excellent season and finished in 4th place finish in the Div II National Championship and this year are playing an independent D1AA schedule. They have some international experience and should make teams take notice this season.
In the end, both teams had four tries, but the kicking was a difference maker.
This was a pre-season friendly, so expanded rosters were in effect. Tennessee played 25 players and 11 players played for for Tennessee for the first time.
The Volunteers open conference play next Friday night in Nashville against Vanderbilt. Kickoff is set for 7 PM. The Lynx travel to a neutral site, Indianapolis, to take on Wheeling Jesuit on September 11. That will be the first match for Tommy Duffy, the new head coach for Wheeling Jesuit.
Lindenwood-Belleville took the early lead three minutes into the match as fullback Kristian Poletti slotted a penalty kick after Tennessee was penalized for being off sides. Five minutes later, the Lynx added a 95 meter try after Jason Barnhart stole the ball off a Tennessee 5 meter lineout and broke down the pitch before offloading to JP Aguirre for a try. The conversion was missed by Kristian Poletti, but the Lynx had a 8-0 lead.
Tennessee were able to counter with a try of their own at fifteen minutes, as they won a lineout and mauled their way in for a try to narrow the score to 8-5. Soon after, Nick Ryba was cited for a breakdown infraction and sent to the bin. Tennessee was not able to capitalize on Lindenwood-Belleville playing down a man and prior to Ryba returning, Ben Martin found a gap and evaded a defender before offloading to Filippo Banzaro for a try in the corner. Aguirre added the conversion for a 15-5 lead that remained at halftime.
Early in the second half, the Lynx had the first opportunity to add points, However a penalty kick by Poletti sailed wide. The Lynx then put Tennessee under pressure when they won a scrum and Poletti kicked for territory, which gave Tennessee had a 5 meter lineout.
Tennessee was able to defend and the Lynx were cited for another penalty at the breakdown that had JP Aguirre leaving his feet and being sent to the bin. This time, the Volunteers did capitalize as they drove inside the Lynx 22 meters, but knocked on. Soon after the LU scrum, they went in for a try to narrow the score to 15-12 in favor of the Lynx.
After Aguirre returned from the bin, Lindenwood-Belleville’s Pat Donovan intercepted a pass and JP Aguirre went in for his second try. He made then converted the try to increase the lead to 22-12. A few minutes later, the Lynx seemingly took control of the match after Filippo Banzato added a try that was not converted. Only seventeen minutes remained and the Lynx had a 27-12 lead.
This is where Tennessee really showed their character, as they added two tries to narrow the match to 27-22. Yes, many reserves had entered the match, but Tennessee did not wilt under pressure.
In the closing minute, after a penalty, the Lynx elected to seal the win with a penalty kick and a 30-22 win.
Pat Clifton said that “I am pleased that every time Tennessee countered a run of points by us, we also responded. With any team, finding that fortitude to answer the bell for a full 80 minutes can be elusive, but for one as young and new as ours, I think its an especially good sign. Also really pleased how well we stuck to our offensive plan when we had clean ball from the set pieces and breakdown. We moved the ball pretty well for this stage in the season.”
“I wouldn’t say our scrubs were a strength. Tennessee won some penalties there and put us under pressure in the second half especially in the scrum. But we definitely had the advantage in the loose, though they contested well at the breakdown.”
I also discussed that the Lynx next match was against Wheeling Jesuit. He said “As for WJU, happy to see they’ve filled their coaching void, and we look forward to playing such an established, quality program. We’re going to double down on some of the areas of weakness Tennessee exposed and just try to get good enough to compete with the Cardinals.”
I hope to add comments from Tennessee Head Coach Marty Bradley later. He has a young team with several upperclassmen that will provide leadership during the season.
Tennessee Lineup: 1 Couch 2 Holman (Cunningham) 3 Kayser 4 Dylan Craven (Rivas) 5 Jack Donlon 6 Hughes (Duncan Bintrim) 7 Ryan 8 Landon (Greenberg) 9 Travis Vickers 10 Duklewski (Davis) 11 Sam Hawkins (Malcolm Easely) 12 Holland (Ransom, Kim) 13 Schwartz (Lane) 14 Urevick (Michael Turner) 15 Barry
Lindenwood-Belleville Lineup: 1 Peter Winkler 2 Pat Donovan 3 Hunter Blanchard 4 Seif Shoukry 5 Dane Smidt 6 Logan Gillespie 7 Alex Quinn 8 Jason Barnhart 9 Jacob Gillian 10 Reece Smith 11 Nick Ryba 12 JP Aguirre 13 Ben Martin 14 Filippe Banzato 15 Kristin Poletti Reserves: Chase Hampson, Dillon Branner, Jeremy Lemmer, Joel Droge, Preston Whisler, Quin Gilligan, Ryan Koberstein, Sam Voegele, Tyler Ingram