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Kutztown won its second Atlantic Coast 7s series tournament in as many tries Saturday in College Park, Md., going 4-0 en route to the title. The Golden Bears again met Virginia Tech in the final, as they did in the Raleigh leg of the ACRL series, this time winning 22-7.
There were just six teams on hand in Maryland, with the field split into two pools of three. Kutztown beat pool mates Virginia and Maryland, and won a crossover pool match against NC State to make it to the final. The Hokies bested pool rivals Maryland and NC State, as well as in-state rivals Virginia to reach the final.
Though most of the winning margins were within reason, KU usually ran out to a comfortable lead and utilized the bench for the opponents got very close.
"We controlled most of the games," said Kutztown coach Gregg Jones. "We
weren’t in any danger at any time."
Kutztown has been paced this spring by scrumhalf Niku Kruger, who’s run in seven tries and slotted 20 conversions in just two tournaments. Alex Faison-Donahoe has also dotted down seven tries.
A newcomer this semester who’s got the attention of his coaches is Vetekina Malafu, a sophomore transfer from Hawaii. He was playing junior college football in Utah, but decided he wanted to pursue rugby instead.
"He’s a terrific athlete," said Jones. "We’re thinking great things for him."
Kutztown has a full slate of 7s this spring. The Bears have already played in two ACRL events, they’re going to play in three Empire series events, the ACRC 7s in Virginia Beach, Subaru 7s and the Collegiate Rugby Championship.
Duke Makina, the massive, powerful, skilled South African who turned heads at the 2012 USA Rugby College 7s National Championships, is back at KU. He didn’t suit up for the Bears in Maryland, but will going forward. Gareth Lourens is recovering from shoulder surgery, but is expected back ahead of the ACRC championship, and Robert Stortz may recover from his ACL tear in time for the CRC.
So even though the Bears are undefeated so far, they’re not even playing with their full arsenal.
"We’re not by any means where we need to be yet, but we’ve got a lot of athletes," Jones said.
Kutztown 12-5 Maryland
Virginia Tech 12-0 Virginia
Navy 38-5 NC State
Kutztown 21-10 Virginia
Maryland 24-7 Navy
Virginia Tech 24-0 NC State
Virginia beat Maryland
Kutztown beat NC State
Virginia Tech 14-10 Navy
Cup Final: Kutztown 22-7 Virginia Tech
3rd/4th: Virginia 19-12 Navy
5th/6th: Maryland over NC State