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There was a taste of DI college games over the weekend with a handful of teams getting in a tune up prior to conference play opening up for the majority of teams next weekend.
Army took on a pair of teams at Anderson Rugby Complex at West Point on Saturday. The Black Knights defeated AIC 59-26 and bested NEC 42-24. West Point has a large roster and was able to roll out two talented and even squads against formidable Northeast schools.
“We have been building depth over the last few years and had some young guys out there,” said Army coach Matt Sherman. “We wanted to give a lot of guys the opportunity to put their hand up and a lot of guys did that.”
In both games, Army was able to pull away from the opponent in the second half, something that Sherman took away as a real positive.
“The most pleasing thing was that we got better as the game wore on. That is the type of team we want to be as we get ready for Buffalo and the rest of Rugby East play” Sherman added.
New Liberty League member, Iona, met Chesapeake Conference runner up James Madison and dispatched the visiting Dukes 47-0.
For Iona, it was their second run out of the season. The Gaels used a strong second half to defeat St. Joe’s 43-8 last weekend and the game was a good building block for the convincing win over James Madison this weekend.
“We got the jitters out the first couple of games and we are playing really great team rugby. We had a lot of guys put in the work during the offseason and it has been really great to compete together,” said Iona stalwart Mike Scarcella.
In two games, the Gaels have racked up an impressive 90 points while only yielding 8. Coach Bruce McLane has been stressing defense and brought in former US National Team head coach Mike Tolkin to run a defensive session last week. While the Gaels did not play a perfect defensive game, they did hit on all the things Tolkin stressed during the training session.
“It was good because the guys heard the same message but from a different voice. Our guys started to fully understand more thoroughly what was expected of them,” McLane said of the training session.
A couple of other non-conference games to took place in the Midwest. Big 10 teams took on DIAA MAC opponents and had mixed results. Michigan fell to Western Michigan 43-10 while Ohio State blanked reigning MAC champions Bowling Green 27-0.