HERRIMAN, Utah – The Utah Warriors came away with a thrilling, last-minute victory over Old Glory DC Saturday night to improve to 4-3 on the season.
Coming into the week in third-place in MLR’s Western Division, the Utah Warriors looked to build on their high-scoring victory over Houston in Week 6, while Old Glory was trying to rebound from a tough loss to the LA Giltinis last week.
From the opening kick, it was a tightly contested match. DC opened the scoring with a penalty kick in the eighth minute of action but the Warriors responded with a penalty kick of their own by MLR’s third-leading points scorer, Hagen Schulte, in the tenth minute.
From there on out the Warriors and Old Glory traded tries with DC holding onto a one-point lead at the end of the first half, 18-17.
The second-half scoring got underway with a try by DC’s Renata Roberts-Tenana but the Warriors quickly answered with a penalty try, and an automatic seven points, in the 56th minute of action.
However, the scoring didn’t end there as the Warriors and Old Glory continued to trade scores, this time penalty goals in the 66th minute by Utah’s Schulte and in the 69th minute by DC’s Jason Robertson.
Old Glory then set the stage for a thrilling final 10 minutes of action as Callum Gibbins scored a try for DC, however, an unsuccessful conversion attempt kept it a one-score deficit for Utah.
Trailing 33-27, the Warriors advanced the ball deep into DC territory, setting up a thrilling finish as the final seconds ticked off the clock.
“Emotions were high,” said Warriors center Mika Kruse on the final 60 seconds of action. “The boys just held onto the ball really well so that’s what really put us over at the end.”
With time added in the game, the Warriors were knocking on the door when Kruse was able to break the line and score a try for Utah. Still needing the conversion to win, Schulte kicked the ball through the posts, giving Utah the victory.
“See the gap and shoot it,” said Kruse on what was going through his mind when he ran in for the game-winning try. “That’s it.”
“Up in the coach’s office, I said to the coaches, ‘I guarantee you we will score again. The boys are playing well. We will score again,’” said Warriors Assistant Coach Shaun Davies after the emotional win. “Honestly, I think I’ll take that win over a 30-point win any day because that’s huge for us, huge for our confidence, huge for us going forward into the Giltinis next week.”
The win over DC sets up a match between the top-two teams in the Western Division next week as the Warriors travel to SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles to take on the undefeated LA Giltinis.
“With this win, we now have the confidence to believe that we are a good team and we have the confidence to go to the Giltinis, in an awesome stadium, and let’s be honest we have nothing to lose. So, we can go there with our confidence from this game, move the pole around and see how it goes,” said Davies. “Do we have things to clean up? Massively. Our ball in hand wasn’t the best. We got a bit excited sometimes. Our kicking game can improve. But we got the win and we can 100% [build] on that.”
The Warriors are back in action next week as they travel to Los Angeles, California to take on the LA Giltinis at SoFi Stadium.