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With every Rugby East club playing this weekend, only two in-conference matches were on the docket. Penn State remained undefeated with a 75-45 cracking of Wheeling Jesuit and St. Bonaventure locked up its second win with a 24-13 victory over Buffalo.
In non-conference tests, Kutztown passed the century mark against Delaware, Notre Dame College swept its New England swing by beating AIC and NEC, and Army notched a close win over Iona. The NDC and Army games were recapped in Rugby Today’s non-con report.
Penn State at Wheeling Jesuit
Sixth-ranked Penn State continued its hot streak with a 75-45 win over Wheeling Jesuit. In Wheeling, W.Va., the Nittany Lions trailed early but scored six tries in the first half to lead 42-7 at the half. The second half was closer as Wheeling kept pace with PSU scoring four tries to its opponents’ five.
In 80 minutes of rugby, the try split for Penn State was pretty even. Brian Stella (2), Tyler May, Mike Jennings (2), and Mike Eife scored in the backs while Rob Irimescu, Ryan McNulty (3), and Malcolm May dotted it down for the forwards. Scrumhalf Jimmy Ronan was busy with the boot kicking eight conversions and Leo Van Buskirk and Brendan McCabe each added a conversion late.
Head coach Justin Hundley attributed his squad’s success to good base skill level and great leadership on the roster. “Everyone has a team-first attitude and are excited to play for PSU... [On Saturday,] the attack was hitting on all cylinders. The interplay between everyone was great, which opened up a lot of space.”
Hundley gave praise to his team’s opponent for their inspired play. “Wheeling was able to dominate at times during the match and put in some hard work to score some really nice tries. Their No. 8 was a powerful runner and really put us under pressure. We will need to put some focus on our defense this week and improve moving forward.”
Eightman Inosi Kau dominated in the forwards with four tries for the Cardinals. Alex Holden, Cody Gulasey, and Dante Petrella also scored for WJU and Holden and Joseph Broderick combined for five conversions.
Penn State has Buffalo at home this Saturday before welcoming Army to State College, Pa. on October 28th. For Wheeling Jesuit, the Cardinals host NDC this Sunday then travel to Kutztown in two weeks.
St. Bonaventure at Buffalo
The Bonnies evened their record to 2-2 with a 24-13 win over Buffalo in upstate New York. Tries by Colin Sustersic and Eamonn Matthews gave St. Bonaventure the 10-5 halftime lead. However, a yellow card allowed the Bulls back into the game with a Casey Morgan try for the 13-10 advantage. The score held until the last ten minutes when the Bonnies’ Matthews crossed the whitewash for the lead and Kyle Ciquera sealed the victory with a try at the final whistle.
SBU head coach Tui Osborne was critical of his team’s play but said the Bonnies improved in the second half. “We were our own enemies on the day with handling errors and penalties in the first half. We finally maintained our shape [after halftime] and kept possession late in the game that caused us to score.”
Osborne gave his game ball to freshmen lock and local Buffalonian, Jack Wiles. “He stepped up. Wiles played out of position (prop) with outstanding work rate around the pitch and really made a difference in our scrums.”
Delaware at Kutztown
After its loss to Penn State three weeks ago, Kutztown was disappointed but has bounced back with two 100+ point wins against New England College and on Saturday, old Rugby East foe, Delaware. The Golden Bears will face Army this weekend in one of the squad’s fiercest tests of the season.
Against the Blue Hens, Kutztown was not too kind to their opponent winning 108-12. Wing Murphy Lill scored four tries in the victory and fullback Aaron Gray’s three first-half tries gave him seven in the last two games. Head coach Gregg “Doc” Jones emptied his bench after halftime, but the game was long over before then.
As far as beating Army this Saturday at home, Jones said that defense will be key. “To beat Army, you have to stop their methodical attack where they don’t make any mistakes. They are very good at that because they follow orders...Our defense has to step up. I’m not concerned [about our attack], our offense will score points, we have a very explosive offense. If our defense steps up like I think it can and it has in the last two games, we’ll be in the game.”