The Mavericks displayed a solid defensive effort in Golden on Sunday but were edged out by Colorado School of Mines 29-19. Even though the team suffered their third loss, the quality of their performances is improving each week.
After such a high scoring game last week, the Mavs emphasized improvement on defense. Throughout the game, solid tackles were being made to keep the score close. It was a collective effort by the Orediggers, fighting through those tackles to maintain a steady lead.
The Mavs were within striking distance after halftime with the score at 10-7. However, in contrast to last week, it was many players from Mines that kept the pressure on the Mavericks defense.
With the score close and the Mavs inching toward a lead, a penalty changed those fortunes. The sin bin penalty, an offense involving a violent play, forces a player to sit 10 minutes from the contest, which left the team a man short on the field. That set the momentum in reverse for the team, something that is tough to get back in rugby.
There are some penalties that can benefit the team, akin to a “smart foul” in basketball. Head coach Mackenzie Lewis hopes the team can learn what separates a good penalty from a bad one, as that can help the team tremendously in the coming weeks.
“We are improving on stuff we failed at last week, but still coming up short on finishing,” Lewis said. “We need to work on playing a full 80 minutes this week.”
Finishing games have been a vulnerability for the Mavs this season. A strong start to a game is always encouraged but pales in comparison to finishing games strong.
The youth on the team should be relishing close games. The games this year will only benefit the team years down the line as they look to contend for championships. Executing the small aspects of the game is something the Mavs want to do every week.
Although the team played a man short, they stuck together and tried to take the offensive. As the team continued to make advancement down the field, the Orediggers made solid tackles and pushed the Mavs back to midfield. With men coming from the wings, it was even tougher for the Mavs to capitalize on the brick-wall defense.
Although the team is having trouble finishing games, chemistry is one building block the Mavs are excelling at.
“We had an unfortunate loss but we did well,” Joseph Kamara said. “We seem to be improving every time we play together. The chemistry is getting better and we are just working on improving the small things.”
The Orediggers faced defensive pressure from all sides during the match but scored sporadically to keep the Mavericks at bay.
Sitting at 0-3, the team will look to make an impact at home on Sunday. The Mavericks will host the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs on Sep. 24.