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With a 139-14 point margin throughout the tournament and a superior defense, Kutztown coasted to win the final of the Philadelphia Collegiate Cup over Maryland, 26-7. The Golden Bears were undefeated in the six-team field and almost met their second side in the final. Despite the cold, rainy, and muddy conditions, Kutztown gained valuable experience on its way to the CRCs at the end of May.
“Our defense, obviously, was very strong all day,” Kutztown head coach Greg Jones stated. “Same thing happened in the finals. We controlled the game with our defense. I don’t think Maryland left their half of the field for three quarters of the game and the very near end of the game, they made a break and they scored a try.”
Hosted by Schuylkill River, the tournament was held at Pennypack Park in Philadelphia, Pa. The premier field consisted of Drexel, Maryland, East Stroudsburg, Rowan, Kutztown I and Kutztown II. Both Kutztown teams, East Stroudsburg, and Maryland emerged from pool play to play in the semifinals.
The first semifinal matched Kutztown I and East Stroudsburg, who had met earlier in the day. As with the first game, Kutztown dispatched East Stroudsburg, 27-0. The second semifinal featured Maryland against Kutztown II. In a closely competed game, Maryland edged the second Golden Bears side by five points to advance to the cup final.
In pool play, Kutztown blanked Maryland, 27-0, and if not for a late try by the Terps, the Golden Bears nearly repeated that feat in the final. Buffered by a strong defensive showing, Kutztown scored 26 points with tries by Alex Donahoe (2), Robert Stortz, and Nu'u Aiava in the final.
“We put a lot of pressure on [Maryland] with the pace and a lot of wide ball, we didn’t play a lot up the middle,” Jones added. “They played a lot of pocket rugby, going backwards all the time looking for a pocket and try to find an opening, but with the cover defense, there were no openings. Basically, they were under so much pressure, they could not mount an attack very well.”
Kutztown will be hosting its own tournament next weekend with a 16-team field that includes a talented AIC club. It will be interesting to see how the Golden Bears adapt without scrumhalf All-American scrumhalf Niku Kruger, who will be traveling with the Eagles to South America until the CRCs.