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With only one D1A Rugby East match on the docket on Saturday, most teams were finishing up their preseason ahead of the three game slate next weekend. In the opening match of the conference, Army shut out Buffalo, 60-0. Five of the six other teams of the conference got their work in playing non-conference opponents to be ready for tseason.

After beating AIC and New England College last weekend, #9 ranked Army dispatched Buffalo at the Anderson Rugby Complex in West Point, N.Y. With massive turnover from last season, the Black Knights scored ten tries by seven players en route to a 60-0 victory on Saturday night.

When asked about the match, Army head coach Matt Sherman said, “I really liked our defensive shape and effort.  I thought we were physical and competitive, but smart challenging for possession in contact for most of the game.”

Army was in control for the entire match and ended the first half up 38-0. Jon Kim, Nathan Brooks, Jareth Long-Garrett (2), and Andrew Finken (2) scored in the half with Kim converting four of his kicks. In the second half, Brooks scored his second try followed by James Mbony, Jordan Jurosic, and Drew Zagula.

“Overall, it was a decent performance,” Sherman added. “A lot of positive aspects to build on and lots we can work on to improve and get better. If we do that I think we could become a pretty good team.”

Sherman noted that Army graduated 11 players from last year’s squad that included seven who started the final game against Penn State. Adding to that number, many players were unavailable. “That posed a challenge to a team,” Sherman stated, “but has been an opportunity to other guys, who I feel are taking advantage of that and putting their hand up.  I think we will continue to get deeper and stronger as those other players come back into the fold.”

Army hosts Wheeling Jesuit this Saturday and Sherman will have his West Pointers ready. “[Wheeling Jesuit] has been really tough the last couple years and we expect nothing different next Saturday. Our goal will be the same as it always, to improve this week and perform to the best of our abilities next week.”

In non-conference action, #7 Penn State took the show on the road to Massachusetts and tore up the Ivy League beating both Harvard and #24 Dartmouth by a combined score of 168-23. The Harvard match on Friday was a developmental game and the freshman and sophomores blanked the Crimson 113-0. Saturday's test against Dartmouth was more competitive as the A-side players beat the Big Green, 55-23.

It was new head coach Justin Hundley’s first victories with Penn State and he was pleased with his team’s performance “Great team effort and lots of composure. In all of the games, the teams stuck to the systems. Against Dartmouth, there was a chance for the game to get away from us, but the leaders kept everyone composed, which helped us settle down and build phases to score.”

A pair of freshmen stepped up to earn Man of the Match honors in each match. At Harvard, center Luke O’Malley scored a game high five tries and ran hard with ball in hand. Against Dartmouth, Brian Stella racked up four tries with solid carries all around the pitch. 

On the Dartmouth match, Hundley commented that the forwards were on point all game long. “They set solid platform for the backs all day. Senior Zach Barnes was immovable force up front today... [We] stuck to the system, managed the speed of the game well, and took chances when they came. Defense was solid all round.” 

On Saturday, Penn State will welcome #13 Notre Dame College to the Rugby East when Cougars venture to South Euclid, Ohio. NDC beat #15 Davenport 27-14 this weekend and will be ready for its first D1A action.

Ahead of Saturday’s match, Hundley said, “We have to up our defensive efforts and work rate off the ball. Have to continue to improve in all aspects as we go.”

In other non-conference games, St. Bonaventure beat New England College, 32-7, and #14 Kutztown edged DI Men’s Club, Schuylkill River, 44-39.

The first full weekend of the Rugby East is September 16th with St. Bonaventure at Kutztown, Penn State visiting NDC, and Army hosting Wheeling Jesuit.