Manassas, VA - There’s no substitute for fitness, and Norfolk’s superior conditioning paid off in its win against Cincinnati during today’s men’s DI club championship Round of 16. Up 10-6 at half, Norfolk shifted into second gear in the second 40 and ran out a 29-11 victory to advance to the quarterfinals.
|Norfolk found more success through its forwards. (Andy Wagner photo)|
The first half was pretty even, with the only scoring coming from penalty kicks through the majority of the half, 6-3 to Cincinnati. Norfolk struggled to unleash its centers, who usually break through with little challenge and mark the offense’s success, but Cincinnati’s defense wasn’t having it. As a result, Norfolk adjusted and slowed the ball down, consolidated play in the forwards, and committed more players to the breakdown, where the Blues were losing possession initially.
The adjustment paid off and No. 8 Fred Wintermantel ran in the first try of the game with time winding down in the half.
“They started to break there,” Wintermantel said of his try. “We started making some long runs and they couldn’t hang with us there. In the first half, they kicked a lot and sent their guys running onto it, but we had three or four guys back and ready. They realized they couldn’t do that against us
Cincinnati kept pressing its kicking game and couldn’t generate an effective offense. As fatigue set in, Cincinnati’s strong scrum started to wilt, which only opened up more opportunity for Norfolk.
“We’re fitter, and it showed in the last 30 minutes,” Wintermantel said. “They died off and gave up.
By game’s end, Matt Seaton, Johnathan Grasso, Mike Fussel added to the try count, while Kevin Mott handled the penalties and conversions. Norfolk was able to pull players out and save them for tomorrow’s game against the Boston Irish Wolfhounds, who ran over Metropolis 32-15.