Late Push Not Enough As Utah Warriors Fall To NOLA Gold
NEW ORLEANS, La. – The Utah Warriors fell on the road to the NOLA Gold, 29-24 in a physical match on Saturday night to fall to 4-5 on the season.
The Gold jumped out an early 12-3 lead thanks to tries by Julian Dominguez and Pat O’Toole in the opening minutes. The Warriors quickly answered, however, as Michael Baska was able to get into the try zone to narrow Utah’s deficit 12-10.
After 13 minutes of action without points, the Warriors were able to take their first lead of the game, 17-12, with a try by full back Mikey Te’o, his sixth of the season.
Following a penalty kick by NOLA in the final seconds of the first half, the Warriors and the Gold entered halftime with Utah clinging to a 17-15 lead.
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) May 23, 2021
“I thought we struggled in the first ten minutes after we got inside their 22 and gave up possession,” said Utah Head Coach Shawn Pittman. “That allowed them to bounce back early with an easy try that instantly put us behind. But once we were able to regain our composure we took control of the first half and push two tries in.”
The Gold opened up the scoring in the second half, retaking the lead early in the second half of play as O’Toole recorded his second try of the game, giving NOLA a 22-17 advantage.
NOLA extended their lead just before the second half water break as Kyle Rogers got the ball into the try zone, giving the Gold a 29-17 lead at the 60-minute mark.
The Warriors trimmed the NOLA lead to one-score as Tuvere Vugakoto took the Utah maul into the try zone, narrowing the deficit to 29-24 with seven minutes remaining in the game. The Gold, however, never relinquished their lead as a knock-on in the final seconds by the Warriors gave the Gold the 29-24 victory.
Another close one gets away, but we’re walking away with 1 point nudge in the west rankings.
— Utah Warriors Rugby (@utwarriorsrugby) May 23, 2021
“The whole second half needed to be a lot quicker for us,” said Pittman. “We are a team that survives off tempo. When the game slows down it allows other teams to get back into it and we tend to struggle.”
The Warriors now turn their attention to the AG’s as Utah will host Austin in a Week 11 matchup. Both Austin and Utah enter next week’s match with 26 points, tied for second-most in MLR’s Western Division.
The meeting will be played at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah. That match will be played as a part of MLR’s Military Appreciation night with both teams wearing limited edition military themed jerseys. Those game-worn jerseys will then be auctioned off, with all proceeds from Warrior jerseys going to Continue Mission, a non-profit organization providing recreational and educational events that support and empower Veterans and referred Service Members.