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The action in the Rugby East featured two shutouts, a blowout, and a nail-biter that came down to the last minutes of the match. For the first three games, Army overpowered St. Bonaventure, 55-0, Iona blanked Buffalo, 29-0, and Kutztown beat Delaware, 77-21, in a non-conference match. The Penn State versus Wheeling Jesuit contest was a much more intimate affair, featuring five lead changes and a total of 11 penalty kicks in the game. In the end, the Nittany Lions outlasted the Cardinals and held onto a five-point victory, 38-33.
St. Bonaventure at Army
Coming off an 48-0 shutout of Buffalo last week, Army followed it up with a 55-0 bludgeoning of St. Bonaventure in their second match of league play in the Rugby East. Playing under the lights on Saturday night at the Anderson Rugby Complex in West Point, N.Y., the Black Knights scored nine tries by seven different players, while the defense kept the Bonnies from entering the try zone.
With three tries in the first half, Jake Lachina led all scorers with Andrew Fargo and Peter Basnight each picking up tries to have Army take a 29-0 advantage into halftime. In the second half, the offense continued it’s assault with tries by John Sproul, Andrew Irwin, Logan Weiland, and Ammon Tuimanuei. Thomas Del Pino slotted three conversions for his club and Andrew Borer made two more in the second half.
Head coach Matt Sherman thought his team improved from last weekend and “half backs Thomas Del Pino and Jake Banarhall did a much better job of running and controlling the game this week.” As for his squad’s opponent, “I thought [St. Bonaventure] improved as the contest went on. In the second half, they had a significant portion of possession and territory and battled valiantly.”
The Black Knights complete their three-game homestand next week when Wheeling Jesuit comes to West Point. “We expect a very difficult challenge next week in Wheeling Jesuit,” Sherman said. “We know they have some very talented players and collectively have been achieving great results on the field.”
Iona at Buffalo
Known for their bruising physical style of play, the Iona College Gaels walloped Buffalo, 29-0, for their first conference win of the season. Iona led 12-0 at halftime and stepped up the intensity in the second half to score three more tries. Andrew Rossi, Evan Staikos, and Tyler Ringwood (2) each touched down tries and the team was awarded a penalty try after the ball was kicked away before a quick tap at the five-meter line.
Even though the Gael’s defense shutout their opponent, head coach Bruce McLane was critical of his club’s play. “Iona played very good defense, but we weren’t able to turn our defensive pressure, which was substantial, into points... Based on the way we defended, should have put a lot more points on the board. We had so many opportunities to do things in attack and we just made silly mistakes. We didn’t operate as efficiently as we hoped to.”
Delaware at Kutztown
In their second tune-up game prior to the start of the conference season next weekend against Buffalo, Kutztown beat former Rugby East foe, Delaware, 77-21, in Kutztown, Pa. The Bears ripped off 65 points before Delaware put it’s first try on the board. Kutztown touched the ball down 13 times by 11 different players. The Blue Hens were able to put across three tries in the final 15 minutes to avoid the shutout.
Wesley Hartman, Robert Stortz, Alex Faison-Donahoe, David Sneed, Vetekina Malafu (2), Jordan Ghyzel (2), Trent Hensley, Andrew DeColli, Jason DeNofa, Murphy Lill, and Nick Hohlt each scored tries for the Bears. Devon Somma and Davis Sneed each kicked three conversions in the first and second halves, respectively.
“We overwhelmed [Delaware] because of their inexperience,” Kutztown head coach Gregg Jones. “We scored 13 tries, the backs scored seven and the forwards scored six. It was a just a matter of us moving the ball quicker and wider and them not being able to reorganize on defense because of their inexperience... Delaware is just trying to get back on track. They were gracious enough to come up and play us so they could improve their program by playing better programs.”
Penn State at Wheeling Jesuit
In a wild penalty-filled game that relied heavily on the boots of the kickers, Penn State prevailed over Wheeling Jesuit, 38-33, in Wheeling, W.Va. on Saturday. A lot of penalties occurred at the breakdown allowing Penn State to take advantage to the tune of eight penalty kicks by Jimmy Ronan. The teams exchanged the lead four times in the first half before tying at 16-16 at halftime. Ronan slotted two penalty kicks in the first ten minutes of the second half to pull ahead. The closest the Cardinals were able to the lead was two points with six minutes left, but the Penn State defense held for the victory.
“It was a back and forth contest,” Wheeling Jesuit head coach Tal Bayer said. “Penn State was able to convert our mistakes, i.e. penalties, into points. I think we coughed up 24 points in penalties on Saturday. We didn’t adjust to what was being called. We scored four tries to two, but we can’t afford to give away those kind of penalties.”
To go along with Ronan’s eight penalty kicks and two conversions, Michael Eife scored two tries for the Nittany Lions. For Wheeling Jesuit, Zach Reichenbach, Andrew Waggoner, Michael Fitzpatrick, and Max Lum each scored tries and Brandon Stine hit three penalty kicks and two conversions.
Penn State travels to West Virginia next weekend as Wheeling Jesuit head to West Point for a date with Army.