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Purdue Tops Pitt for Collegiate Honors

posted Nov 7, 2016, 6:03 PM by Midwest Hurling
The beautifully preened blades of grass at Civic Park in Reynoldsburg, OH hosted the 2016 Midwest Collegiate GAA Championship.  The central Ohio city served as the skirmish line between Purdue University and the University of Pittsburgh to see who would take home the Inter-Scholastic Cup, last seen 127 years ago.  Keith Knott, from Akron, bravely stepped forward to the middle of the field, whistle in hand. 

This past May, at the National Collegiate GAA Championship, Pitt soundly defeated Purdue in the 3rd place match.  The two clubs met again last month in Akron where Pitt replicated their victory. 

The two collegiate clubs are the strength of the region.  Pitt arrived in Reynoldsburg with a 16-player panel while Purdue made the trip with 19.  Both clubs were missing players, demonstrating the outstanding work they have been undertaking on their respective campuses. 

The pitch at Civic park was suitably cut, level, and lined.  The breeze was soft and the cloudless sky not only tanned the players and spectators but warmed the November day to a perfect playing temperature.  One could ask for nothing more in the lead up to the showcase of the Midwest collegiate calendar. 

From the throw-in, Purdue took charge and never really looked back.  Early scores came from Purdue’s midfield after dialing in on the posts.  Purdue was up 1-2 in a matter of minutes but Pitt answered with a goal of their own.  However, Pitt would not manage much more for the rest of the half.  Purdue was content to take their points in the first thirty minutes as Pitt backs collapsed to protest their net.  Pitt was able to drive several balls low into their full forwards but were returned with vigor. 

Pitt opened the second half quickly with a goal, while Purdue seemed to still be asleep.  But, the goal shocked Purdue back to life.  Throughout the entire half, only a handful of balls managed 

their way past Purdue’s midfield and half back lines.  Puckouts were broken and gathered or caught by Purdue and driven into space for their relentless forwards to pounce upon.  Pitt reorganized at the break but Purdue’s superior numbers meant timely changes with fresh legs always on the field.  The Pitt backs and keeper performed well under extraordinary pressure but many balls that left the Pitt backfield quickly found their way into open space for the Purdue forwards. 

The score line of this match holds absolutely no keys as to how it was actually played.  Each and every ball was contested as though the match hung in the balance.  Each and every player fought to the final whistle and displayed the courage that can only be found by those passionate about the sport and passionate about their club. 

Full time score, Purdue 7-8 to Pitt 3-1.