Football team back in win column after home opener

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In their first home game of 2016, the Union Men’s Football team (1-2) defeated Western Connecticut State University, 28-13, on September 10, snapping an 11-game losing streak that stretched back to the last game of the 2014 season.

Co-captain Jermaine Carn ’17 was the catalyst for the Dutchmen offense, running for two touchdowns and 113 yards. On defense, linebackers Jake Lombardo ’18 and Jack Reilly ’19 both returned interceptions for touchdowns. The Dutchmen defense made big plays all game, picking off Western Connecticut State’s quarterback Quinn Fleeting four times and sacking him six times.

Jack Reilly ’19 returns an interception 41 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter of Union’s 28-13 win over Western Connecticut State. The win marked the first for the Dutchmen since the end of the 2014 season. Courtesy of Union Athletics
Jack Reilly ’19 returns an interception 41 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter of Union’s 28-13 win over Western Connecticut State. The win marked the first for the Dutchmen since the end of the 2014 season. Courtesy of Union Athletics

Both of Carn’s scores came early on as the Dutchmen stormed out a 21-0 lead in the first quarter. Carn’s first touchdown began the scoring with 5:02 left in the opening quarter. After receiving the handoff from quarterback Nick Cascione ’19, Carn ran virtually untouched through the middle of the defense for a 73-yard touchdown.

Following an interception by corner back Justin Waller ’19, Carn was right back in the end zone on Union’s next possession, finishing off a 5-play, 42-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run. Lombardo capped off Union’s great start to the game with a pick-six, intercepting Fleeting’s pass before breaking several tackles and running 56 yards for the score.

The Colonials rebounded from their shaky start, cutting Union’s lead to 21-13 by the end of the third quarter. Fleeting connected with receivers Austin Calamita and Lucas DeSouza for touchdowns of 14 and 26 yards, respectively, to bring Western Connecticut State back in the game.

With just over nine minutes left in the fourth quarter, Reilly ended the Colonials’ comeback hopes, intercepting a pass from Fleeting and returning it 41 yards for the Union touchdown.

Co-captains Brian Alebiosu ’17 (15 total tackles) and Hunter Ordukhanyan ’19 (14 total tackles, 1 sack) also contributed heavily to Union’s strong defensive performance. Safety Jason Nelson ’18 added another interception early in the fourth quarter.

The victory came sandwiched between two tough losses for the Dutchmen, who fell 14-9 at Ithaca College on the opening weekend of the season, and 32-16 to Western New England University at Frank Bailey Field this past Saturday.

Union held a slim 9-6 lead over Western New England at halftime before the undefeated Golden Bears rip off 19 unanswered points in the third quarter, opening up a huge 25-9 lead. A 3-yard touchdown run by running back Connor Kinzelmann ’18 and an extra point by Zach Pyser ’18 brought the Dutchmen within nine early in the fourth, but that was as close as they would get. Kinzelmann had a huge day for Union, rushing for two touchdowns and a game high 147 yards.

After two excellent defensive efforts to start the season, Union’s defense struggled to contain Western New England’s quarterback Anthony Service, who threw for two touchdowns and completed 21 of 27 passes.

Union heads back on the road next Saturday when they face Hobart College in their first Liberty League game of the season.

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