An 11 AM kickoff at Fairview Middle School was not anticipated for the season opener, but only focusing on what you can control has been an FSU rugby mantra for several years now.
Florida State squared off against the Owls of Florida Atlantic for the first time in two years. FAU is known for their physicality and tenacity, however the 'Noles had a recipe to deal with just that. The match was highlighted by spectacular play from all forwards, including the reserves. Timothy Ohlwein, Kody Boswell, Robert Schrage, and Bradley Atkinson were leading the way, organizing the pack around the pitch and running hard lines. Damien Maradona, Javier Fuertes, Miles Anderson and Paul Lim were hustling in to good support positions and received offloads to continuously break the gain line. Alex Ruiz opened up the scoring with a dead center penalty kick after sustained possession in FAU territory. 8-man Bradley Atkinson scored the first try 7 minutes in shortly thereafter. Sophomore prop David Alicea was quite the benefactor from expansive forward play as he scored a hat trick, with two tries coming in the first half.
The backline held their own as well. Scrumhalf Jake Tutan, in his first start on the First XV delivered clean ball nearly every phase. Patient with every attack, the centers were able to come with pace and constantly pressure FAU every time they had ball in hand. Fly half Alex Ruiz was able to spot open space and put in kicks that proved to be devastating when chased down by Diego Veras, Kyle Renner, and Kevin Hernandez. Those that have followed Florida State rugby know that a "Barada burglary" is quite the familiar sight as Evan Barada perfectly read FAU's backline and intercepted a pass for a try.
What was truly impressive was the impact made by the reserves. Cameron Chadsey torched FAU several times, and would have had a try if not for being a step offsides on a kick. Freshman Adrian Cedeno showcased his athleticism and broke tackles on his way to his first try of his FSU career. Prop Clayton Julian was an absolute bruiser and made every defender regret lining up in front of him.
The Seminoles travel down to Tampa next week to take on the Bulls of South Florida.
David Alicea (3)
Arturo San Segundo
Alex Ruiz 1/5
Diego Veras 3/3
Alex Ruiz 3/3