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Shippensburg at West Virginia
West Virginia continued its domination in the early season by shutting out their second straight opponent, Shippensburg, 73-0. For Shippensburg, it was the second consecutive lopsided loss. West Virginia scored a total of 11 tries by eight players, receiving impact from all aspects of the club.
“From a coach's perspective, it was good to see that we were scoring tries in a variety of areas in the park,” said West Virginia head coach Richard Glover. “Scoring tries in our mauls, scrums, backline play, forward play, that was very positive.”
The Mountaineers built their lead to 32-0 at halftime and then scored another 41 points to finish the game. Tries were scored by prop Brendan Kammerdeiner, prop Amir Furman (2), lock Manny Debra, eightman Ryan Blythe (2), scrumhalf Kristofer Wilson, flyhalf Joe Watson, wing Jack Coates (2), and wing PJ Connelly. Fullback Chris Mackenrodt added six conversions and two penalty kicks.
“One thing we were really trying to focus on this week was our set pieces. We executed really well, every lineout move, every scrum move. They all went to plan,” stated Glover. “We had a really big team effort. We had different players scoring tries which was really positive to see. I wasn’t just one or two individuals scoring the points for us. It was a real team effort.”
West Virginia (2-0) travels to Millersville (0-2) and Shippensburg (0-2) is at home vs. Pittsburgh (1-1) next weekend.
Rutgers at Temple
In the closest game of the weekend, Temple earned a thrilling three-point win against Rutgers, 39-36. It was a back-and-forth match with six lead changes. The game came down to a second half surge that Rutgers was unable to overcome. The Scarlet Knights took the short drive south down the turnpike to play at the Owls’ pitch in Philadelphia.
The game started with a penalty kick by Temple’s Jeremy Ault to take the early lead, 3-0. In the 12th minute, Rutgers responded with a try by flyhalf Dan Miller after four forwards phases starting at midfield. Wing Nick Nahwahl converted to put the Scarlet Knights up 7-3. Four minutes later, Rutgers fullback Demetrius Durham scored on a 90-meter run after scooping up a loose ball to increase the lead to 12-3. Temple then scored a try, and Rutgers responded with a try from flanker Mike Nezgoda after a penalty from inside the five-meter line. Temple scored the equalizer with time running out in the first half to tie the match at 17-17.
The second half began with the clubs exchanging tries. Temple scored first, with Rutgers’ reply coming from flanker Dan Zinoviev, who scored from inside five meters after the forwards were moving the ball well down the field. Temple came back again, scoring back-to-back tries to take a 36-24 lead. In the 66th minute, Rutgers’ Durham touched down his second try on a 40-meter run to cut Temple’s advantage to seven points at 36-29.
With time winding down, Rutgers committed a costly penalty that Temple quickly turned into points with another kick by Ault. The penalty kick proved to be the game winner, as Rutgers countered with a try by flanker Adam Coulson after a series of pick-and-goes from Temple’s 45. Wing Keith Wallace kicked the conversion, but Temple survived to earn a well-fought victory, 39-36.
The try-scorers for Temple were flanker Steven Engle, who had two, and wing Peter Mulville, who had three for a hat trick. Their kickers were four-for-five on conversions, with Scott Weber notching one and Ault kicking three more.
“Temple's backs were dangerous from the beginning and all day with ball in hand. Rutgers’ forwards were stronger and dominated scrums in the first half and the rucks off of the loose. Play was back and forth,” Rutgers head coach Mark Dobbs said. “Rutgers backs had some promising charges, however were turned over by the Temple backs and back row at most breaks. Temple's kicker took advantage of the 17 penalties by Rutgers, while Rutgers was 3-6 on conversions and 0-3 on penalties. An entertaining match that was well played and a well earned victory for Temple.”
“We are down eight starters from the beginning of the year. To come in there with less experienced players and seeing their grit, I was pretty impressed with them,” stated Temple head coach John Sciotto. “It’s very encouraging for our guys. We have a lot of inexperienced players out there. We got some good leadership from our flyhalf and scrumhalf and took good control of the field. “
Rutgers (1-1) welcomes St. Joe’s (2-0) next weekend while Temple (1-1) is idle.
West Chester at St. Joseph’s
West Chester took the quick trip to Philadelphia to face the high-flying Hawks of St. Joseph’s University. West Chester was coming off a bruising defeat from West Virginia, while St. Joe’s earned a 17-point victory over Pittsburgh the week prior. A promising day for a new start for West Chester turned ugly quick, as the Hawks scored a total of 14 tries on the way to an 88-12 triumph.
The first half started with eight unanswered tries by St. Joe’s before West Chester got into the try zone. Lock Ryan Stickno, center Dan Deal (two in the half), flyhalf Jimmy Wolfer, flyhalf Greg McTiernan, wing Nick Hopkins, eightman Adam Duignan, and flanker Brendan Murphy scored for St. Joe’s. West Chester’s center Dan Biegert closed the first half with a try to make the score 48-7.
The second half began again with the Hawks’ offense on full tilt. Wing Chris Curcio scored first, followed by fullback Tyler Gerber. West Chester’s flanker Tyler Anderson scored for his club, but at that point the game was lost. St. Joe's kept on the gas with tries by lock Thomas Cuddihy, two more tries for Deal, and Murphy’s second try resulting from a long 90-meter run. Wolfer made a total of six conversions while Gerber kicked three more.
“They executed well. Their decision was quicker than ours. They reacted quicker than we did,” said West Chester head coach Bjorn Haglid. “We didn’t support very well. We are still trying to put things together and until we do we are going to have some lopsided games. We got the talent, we are just playing as individuals right now. St. Joe’s is a great team and they played as a team.”
St. Joe’s (2-0) plays at Rutgers (1-1) and West Chester is idle next weekend.
Millersville at Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh rebounded after a first-week loss to St. Joseph’s to shut out Millersville, 50-0. Millersville, who defeated Temple last week, drove across the state to face its opponent. Pittsburgh coach Derek Neubauer was proud of his team and took a lot of positives from the match.
“We improved majorly over last week. Pretty much everything we tried to do worked out. We started to get heavily penalized in the second half, but everything else went according to plan,” stated Neubauer. “We kept the ball the majority of the game. We had a lot of possession and starved them. We played defense by playing offense.”
Pittsburgh exploded for five tries in first half en route to a 31-0 lead. Scrumhalf Connor Janowitz scored first after pressure on a defensive five-meter scrum, eightman Noble Smith had back-to-back tries, wing Bryan Becker recovered a chip and chase for a score, and finally, center Matt Rowe broke free for a 30-meter run following a broken play.
In the second half, they increased the score by 19 more points while suffocating Millerville’s offense for the ball. Center Aaron Linn scored on a backline play, and then fullback Sean Keely-Cain scored his first try of the season. To finish Pitt’s shutout, Smith completed his hat-trick with his third try after he was running support following a line break by Keely-Cain. Flyhalf Christian Quiros was five-for-eleven on conversions for the day.
Pittsburgh (1-1) is at Shippensburg, and West Virginia (2-0) travels to Millersville (1-1) next weekend.