The Glendale Raptors won their fifth straight match after beating a resilient Olympic Club side 51-31 at Infinity Park. Riding a hat-trick from Dustin Croy the Raptors overcame an early deficit to eventually put up a half century of points. The win keeps the Raptors at the top of the standings while Olympic Club are still searching for that first win.
Glendale wasted no time in getting on the board. Straight from the kick off the Raptors worked down the pitch quickly switching the ball across the field where it ended up in the hands of Dustin Croy for the try. Armandt Peens missed the conversion but Glendale had a 5-0 lead only a minute into the match.
On the restart Glendale were hit with obstruction which allowed Olympic Club’s Michael Engelbrecht to take the penalty attempt. Unfortunately for him it went off the post. Despite the set back Olympic Club did have the majority of the possession for the next few minutes. That possession would pay off as Dustin Muhn shook off a Glendale tackle and made the offload to Matthew Crawford for the try. With Engelbrecht’s conversion Olympic Club led 7-5.
It didn’t long for Glendale to respond. Recovering the ball on the restart the Raptors pushed hard for the try line. Quick and decisive ball from Mose Timoteo helped push the ball past the Olympic Club defense where it found Chad London who made a strong run and an offload to Zach Fenoglio for the try. Peens would again convert to make it 12-7.
Again off the restart Olympic Club were able to recover and soon earned another penalty. This time Engelbrecht would hit the short kick to cut the Glendale lead to two. However, the back and forth nature of the match continued as Glendale once again pushed down the field. Only five meters short after a Preston Bryant run Peens showed great brains to quickly pick the ball up and run over for the try. A penalty a few minutes later would extend the lead to 20-10.
Croy would then extend the lead after Glendale once again moved down the field quickly with runs from Nick Wallace and Preston Bryant before Olympic Club committed a penalty. Chad London would then score the try and Croy would complete his first half hat-trick a few minutes later as Glendale pulled away to lead 37-10.
Despite a poor final ten minutes in the first half Olympic Club responded with two tries to start the second half to cut the lead to 37-24. Their first try came as Olympic Club used a series of penalties to work their way down the field. Off a line out Olympic Club used their forward to work a maul where Anthony Oreglia capitalized. Their second try came through a great piece of skill from Muhn to break through the defense.
When Glendale did have their chances they made the small mistakes that they avoided in the first half. Some credit should go to the way Olympic Club defended but Glendale were often their own worst enemy in the second half, especially at the scrum where they gave up one penalty after another.
Entering the final stretch of the match Olympic Club nearly made things more interesting. Muhn broke through several tackles and could have had a try if he made a final pass but he couldn’t get it off and a few phases later Olympic Club would knock it on.
When substitute Dewon Reed was shown a yellow for tackling a player in the air Olympic Club had a man advantage with less than ten minutes left in the match. Unfortunately for them it was the Raptors that would take advantage. Olympic Club were judged to not have thrown their line out straight and Glendale capitalized off their line out the ball found Peens who broke the line and fed London for his second of the day. With six minutes left Glendale led 44-24 and when Andre Whaley scored a few minutes later Glendale sealed the victory. Torsten Christian had a late consolation try for Olympic Club.
Olympic Club were in the match for the first thirty minutes but like they have done all season they had a forgettable 10 minute span that put them in a hole they couldn’t escape. The team plays well at times, as they showed at the start of the second half, and if they can ever put in a full performance they will pick up that first win.
For Glendale there were plenty of warning signs in the second half but in the end they emerged with their fifth straight win, good performances from their backs, and still top the table.
Tries: Croy (3), Fenoglio, Peens, London (2), Whaley
Conversions: Peens (4)
Tries: Crawford, Cook, Muhn, Isaacs
Conversions: Engelbrecht (3), Isaacs