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With only two weeks remaining in the Rugby East season, Penn State, Army, Iona, and St. Bonventure concluded Week Nine with wins. The Nittany Lions remained undefeated with a 66-5 victory over Wheeling Jesuit on Friday night, while Army ended its conference schedule with a 38-19 defeat of Kutztown. Iona took out Buffalo, 31-14, and St. Bonaventure outlasted Delaware, 39-24.
Penn State completed its home schedule under the Friday night lights in University Park, Pa. against the third place Wheeling Jesuit. The Nittany Lions scored early and often establishing a 38-5 lead at halftime before scoring another four converted tries in the second half for the 66-5 win.
“We played fast and were consistent,” PSU head coach Blake Burdette said. “The boys are trusting each other and trusting the system. There were no standouts, just a total team performance. We will continue to play within ourselves and try not to do to much.”
The team effort included four players scoring two tries apiece as Rob Irimescu, Chris Burian, Malcolm May, and Kiefer Kei-Boguinard each made their mark on the scoreboard. Wing Connor Cassidy also found the endzone and scrumhalf Jimmy Ronan was a perfect 9/9 on conversions.
For its final Rugby East match of the season, Army blitzed Kutztown for a score of 38-19. At Anderson Rugby Complex in West Point, N.Y., the Black Knights shut out the Bears in the first half, 15-0, before Kutztown climbed back into the match to cut the lead to eight points with 14 minutes remaining on the clock. Army tightened up the defense late and scored the final 11 points to secure the 38-19 victory.
“Our defense has been the most consistently strong aspect of our game this season,” Army head coach Matt Sherman stated. “We did an effective job with the possessions we had to build up pressure and create scoring opportunities. Our defensive shape was very good against a challenging Kutztown attack.”
Jeff Malm-Annan, Andy Sullivan (2), Jake Lachina, and Torran Raby each crossed the whitewash for Army and flyhalf Jon Kim broke the team career points record with three penalties and two conversions. In the loss, Jake Glass, Christian Crow, and Dmontae Noble scored for Kutztown.
With the Rugby East schedule complete, Army will venture out of its conference for one of biggest matches of the year against Air Force. “It’s the most important match we will play this fall, our fellow service academies always are,” Sherman added. “We expect a ferocious and tightly contested game against an Air Force team that’s already proven their considerable strength this fall.”
The Gaels of Iona captured its third victory of the season with a 31-14 win over Buffalo. Iona led 24-7 at halftime and traded tries in the second as Mike Marino (2), John Powers, John D'Allara, and Jon Petteruti each scored for the Gaels.
When asked about the match, Iona head coach Bruce McLane said, “ We got four tries in the first half, so we had an early bonus point and then got complacent. Buffalo played tough for the many New York area alums who were at the game.”
Iona ends its season with an opportunity to get to 0.500 with St. Bonaventure at home, while Buffalo is at West Virginia on Saturday and at Kutztown on November 12th.
St. Bonaventure also earned its third win of the season with a 39-24 defeat of winless Delaware. Although SBU head coach Tui Osbourne was disappointed in his team’s defense, he was encouraged by the no quit attitude of his squad to keep working for the victory.
“We gave up too many points during the game and played our worst game defensively so far,” Coach Osbourne remarked. “The positive was that we turned it around when we needed to and the guys played better towards the end of the game... We knew going into the second half that we needed to make better decisions around the breakdown. A little bit a patience in their half got us some points [to win the game].”
Charles Schwenk, Patrick McCormack, Jesus Robles, and Edward Gorman each dotted the ball down for the Bonnies, but Christian Artuso outscored Buffalo all by himself with 19 points with a try, a penalty, a drop goal, and three conversions. In the defeat, outside center Matt Ramirez scored a hat trick and lock Nick Lintner one more for the Blue Hens.