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A couple of rivalry non-conference games took place over the weekend with AIC outlasting NEC 51-17 and Ohio State edging Notre Dame 19-18 at Obetz Field.
Every year AIC and NEC renew their local rivalry and compete for the Presidents Shield. AIC has gotten the better of NEC the last few years, and this go around was no different.
"It's great to bring the Presidents Shield back home to AIC. It's the only home it knows and we plan on keeping it that way. Our president, Vince Maniaci loves his rugby and I know winning this match up means a lot to him," said AIC coach Rob Guiry.
Jihad Khabir continues to be a try-scoring machine. The quick-footed flyhalf dotted down four times in the win. AIC took an early 9-0 lead on three Michi Magistrali penalties before NEC cut the lead with a try. However, AIC reeled off five straight tries including a natural hat trick from Khabir. NEC tallied a couple late scores but was unable to make it a close contest.
“We played an okay game, kept composure as a team when it got chippy. The backs showed a good display of ball movement once again. Overall happy with the outcome but there are still things we need to adjust as a team to become that championship team we want to be,” said Captain Tommy Clark.
Out in Columbus, Ohio, Ohio State struggled with a feisty Notre Dame side. The game, which was played at Obetz field, the home of the now defunct Ohio Aviators, was hot on the field turf.
The Buckeyes got off to a strong start but were unable to sustain the momentum after an early Andrew Kyser score. Notre Dame struck back with an unconverted try and the teams traded tries and with a penalty from the Irish, the hosts held a 14-13 lead.
“We were not excited about our performance. We started strong and put them on the ropes, but never really put them away,” said OSU coach Tom Rooney. “The heat of the day and playing on turf had a lot to do with it and Notre Dame handled that part better than we did.”
Ohio State managed another try to extend the lead to six but Notre continued to fight. The Irish added an unconverted try and were pressing for a game winner after a late penalty. The kick, however, failed to reach touch and Ohio State clung to the one point win.
“We performed well in fits and starts, and those all resulted in scores. Our tries allowed easier conversions and that was the game,” Rooney concluded. “Hats off to Notre Dame and for joining us in the first rugby game to be played in the Obetz Fortress.”