Burrell rugby team expects physical match
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Burrell had one goal heading into this rugby season — win the state championship. It's a standard the program sets every year.
Standing in the Buckheads way this season is the Unionville Rugby Club.
Undefeated Burrell (8-0) will square off against Unionville (11-2) at noon Saturday at Cumberland County Park in the Rugby Pennsylvania state semifinals.
Both teams expect a physical match, which would be nothing new for Burrell.
The Buckheads combine hard running on offense with a physical, stifling defense to throttle their opponents.
That plan won't change Saturday.
“I told the kids if we play Buckhead rugby, we will win,” Burrell coach Ron Zanella Said. “This means if we play physical, fast and hard, we will win. We plan on wearing them down and stopping their number eight and 10.”
Unionville plays a similar style and has size to boot. Unionville comes into the match having outscored its opponents by a combined score of 581-155. Burrell, meanwhile, has outscored the opposition, 263-65.
Burrell defeated LaSalle, 13-12, to advance to the semifinals, and Unionville narrowly defeated Cumberland County, 37-32. The winner of the match will take on the winner of St. Joseph Prep and Exter for the state title Sunday.
There are several keys to Burrell slowing down the Unionville attack. The first, being able to stop Unionville's number eight, which translates to attacking on defense.
The second is letting their big boys — seniors Matt Hess, Corey Klems, Nick Nitowski, and junior Mitch Pollino — pound away on the opposing defense. The last is to set the tone. Zanella leaves that job up to sophomore Al Beattie.
The plan is simple. If there is a penalty run, and Unionville decides to run at Burrell, Beattie is in charge of stopping the charge.
It's just the opposite if Burrell is on the penalty run: Beattie runs right at the other team.
Burrell could just be hitting its stride after missing a number of players in the beginning of the year due to wrestling and basketball. Hess and Klems are among them.
“We did a complete 180,” Zanella said. “We added eight new players since basketball and wrestling ended. That's half your starting lineup. Getting Hess and Klems back on the field makes a difference because of their leadership.”
Zanella expects his team's solid consistency to flow into Saturday.
“My expectations are to win the whole thing,” Zanella said. “They can do it. If they play like they did last week against LaSalle, we can win the whole thing.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Reagan shooter Hinckley closer to permanent freedom
- Steelers won’t be backed into a corner at NFL Draft
- Crosby’s 2 goals lift Penguins past Rangers, even series
- Fights reported, shots fired outside Monroeville Mall restaurant
- Starkey: Taylor’s type fading away
- Sutter steps up for Penguins in series-tying victory
- Marte jump-starts Pirates in win over Brewers
- Crosby says Edmonton would be good spot for prospective top pick McDavid
- Pirates notebook: Is it time for Kang to head to Indy?
- Defense shines in Pitt football spring game
- Penguins notebook: Johnston says Perron needs to shoot