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Kiski Valley rugby squad dedicates match to teammate, stabbing victim

| Saturday, April 12, 2014, 12:21 a.m.
Nick Snyder, a junior who was one of the 20 students stabbed at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville on Wednesday, April 9, 2014. His father, Rob Snyder, said he was stabbed in the chest and suffered a collapsed lung; Nick was released from Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh on Friday, April 11.

Kiski Valley's club rugby team played with a purpose in Friday's 39-17 victory over South Hills at South Park Fairgrounds — namely, to honor junior teammate Nick Snyder, one of the 20 Franklin Regional students wounded in Wednesday's mass stabbing.

Snyder, a first-year member of the under-19 team and a starting player, was stabbed in his chest and suffered a collapsed lung before rebounding and being released early Friday evening, according to his father, Rob Snyder.

His teammates visited him on Wednesday evening at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and vowed to win their next match for the 17-year-old.

Players on Friday wore athletic tape on their wrists with “For Nick,” and other messages written on it.

They also made their goal clear on Twitter, using the hashtag, #ForNick.

“When the team saw him (Wednesday night), he had a big smile on his face,” Kiski Valley coach Seth Erwin said. “When the nurse asked him, ‘Are these all your teammates?' he said, ‘No — they're all my brothers.' ”

Erwin said Snyder, who also is a state-qualifying swimmer at Franklin Regional, is a key player for the rugby squad.

“He doesn't stand out and make those huge smash plays,” Erwin said. “But he's a coach's dream because he does the little things. He's around every ruck (scrum) and barely ever misses a tackle.

“We wish him all the best.”

Rob Snyder was a former rugby standout at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and for the Pittsburgh Harlequins. He said he feels blessed by the outpouring of support from family, friends and the rugby community.

“When we got that call Wednesday that he had been stabbed, it seemed like it took four hours to get to Children's Hospital,” the father said. “When we went to pick him up today, it was one of the happiest drives I have ever had.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at bbeckner@tribweb.com.

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