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Three blowouts and a nine-point victory highlighted this past weekend in the Rugby East. Army, Penn State, and Wheeling Jesuit each won by at least five tries over West Virginia, Buffalo, and St. Bonaventure, respectively. Lastly, Iona gave Kutztown a run keeping it close all game as the Bears held for a 35-24 win.

Kutztown at Iona

On Sunday in New Rochelle, N.Y., two undefeated teams took to the pitch as Kutztown collided with Iona. In charge all game, Kutztown’s attack and offload game led the Bears to victory, 35-24. Iona played a tough physical match, but could not capitalize on their opportunities.

“We were always in the lead, but they put a lot of pressure on us because they played the kick and chase game,” Kutztown head coach Gregg Jones said. “They made a couple of breaks in the midfield with their outside center. Both teams played good rugby, but both teams hurt themselves with sloppy ball in contact and easily could have been tries and lost the ball at strategic places and times. Iona has improved a great deal. They are very good defensively and very aggressive on the kick and chase type offense... They are probably the team that has joined the conference recently that has improved the most.”

In the first half, both clubs exchanged tries back and forth for a 21-12 Kutztown lead. The Bears’ Jason DeNofa scored first taking a ball out wide from a scrum. Iona responded with a charge down block of a clearing kick, which Andrew Rossi recovered for the try. Next, Vetekina Malafu broke a 35-meter run after a pass from Robert Stortz to extend to the Bears lead to 14-5. The Gaels answered with Tyler Ringwood taking a loose ball to the house to cut the lead to two points. The half closed with Stortz setting up Jordan Ghyzel for the score by luring in two defenders then passing to his teammate for the try. Kutztown’s John Sage was three for three on conversions in the first half.

The Bears came out of the break with the momentum as Trent Hensley raced in for a converted try after a stolen ball and a series of offloads. Iona turned a stolen scrum into points when Mike Marino scored to make the tally 28-19. Kutztown continued to bring the intensity and Ghyzel scored his second try beating three defenders for a 15-meter scamper. The Gaels would score one more try by Sean Hardiman, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the point deficit, as Kutztown remained undefeated, 35-24.

“Iona came up short versus Kutztown and their offload game hurt us,” Iona head coach Bruce McLane said. “We had chances to put it away, but we blew those chances.  Kutztown’s #13 played tough and well. It was good to reverse 71-0 loss from last year.”

Army at West Virginia

Army made the trip to Morgantown, W.Va. where the Black Knights easily handled the Mountaineers, 63-13, to stay perfect at 5-0. Army ripped off a total of 12 tries by eight players in the rout. Army will be on the road again next Saturday as they travel to south for a date with Iona.

“We played well overall, particularly with mixing in some new combinations of players,” Army head coach Mike Sherman said. “Particularly pleasing was that we were more physical at the breakdown and tackle, which was a point of emphasis for us this week... West Virginia is a scrappy group of guys who played hard and tough. From what I’ve seen before, I think they’re an improving team.”

Thomas Del Pino, Jack Ireland, Donny Goff, and Jacob Barnarhall each had two-try games and Andrew Borer, Torran Raby, Dom Mori, and Connor Parker dotted down one of their own. Del Pino added three conversions in the winning effort.

For West Virginia, CJ Burns scored the Mountaineers’ lone try of the game off a lineout to score in the middle. Chris Mackenrodt would kick the conversion and also slotted two penalty kicks for his team.

Although they lost, head coach Richard Glover said, “We walked away extremely positive. It was probably the best performance our team put in all season. We were unlucky at the end. In the end, we lost out to conditioning as the last ten minutes, they just really went up in gear.”

Buffalo at Penn State

After suffering a 46-36 loss to Army last Saturday, Penn State rebounded and took out it’s frustrations on Buffalo winning 122-10. The score was 42-0 by the 25 minute before Buffalo could notch it’s first point. The Nittany Lions went on to lead 70-5 at halftime and would proceed to score another 42 points in the second half. Penn State will host Delaware in a non-conference match next week before Iona comes to State College, Pa. on October 30th.

Twelve Nittany Lions dotted the ball down as Brendan McCabe, Robert Irimescu, Andrew Iscaro (2), Kevin Trotter (2), James Haley (2), Sean Mahon, John McLean, Malcolm May, Mike Eife (2), Zachary Barnes, Gabriel Tupper, and Keifer Kei-Boguinard each scored tries. McCabe was perfect on conversions in the first half hitting ten kicks and Jimmy Ronan contributed with six conversions in the second frame.  Maninderjit Singh scored Buffalo’s two tries in the game.

With the Army loss weighing heavy on Penn State, a decisive win was just the solution to move on. “We came out and had a good week of practice,” Penn State head coach Blake Burnette said. “We were determined to put that Army game behind us and get better. I though the boys did that. Buffalo has had one of those season that hasn’t been favorable to them and we just came to play. Buffalo played hard the whole time and our boys did as well. Our goal was to work on our game and get better and we did.”

Wheeling Jesuit at St. Bonaventure

After a bye week following it’s loss to Army, Wheeling Jesuit put one in the win column with a 46-10 beating of St. Bonaventure. After the Cardinals only led by a try at halftime, the scoring opened up as Wheeling Jesuit piled on 29 points in the second half.

“It was another hard-nosed physical game,” Wheeling Jesuit head coach Tal Bayer said. “The Bonnies play a smash-mouth forwards oriented game. We prepared for it and focused on defense over the last two weeks trying to keep our shape and make our tackles. Our forwards had a really strong showing in the scrums giving us a good solid base off the base. Our loose forwards’ work rate was tremendous. We had a couple of young guys get their first starts, so it was good for us especially after tough losses against West Point and Penn State.”

A penalty kick by Brandon Stine started the scoring for the Cardinals. The Bonnies took their only lead of the day 12 minutes into the match when Ryan McGovern put his team on the board with a try. The momentum flipped back to WJU when Zach Reichenbach and Cecil Rich scored back-to-back tries. The Bonnies’ Phillip Jackling would score soon after, but unfortunately for St. Bonaventure, that try would be it’s last of the game.

Coming out of halftime with the 17-10 advantage, Wheeling Jesuit flipped the switch and fired off 29 unanswered points to shut out it’s opponent for the rest of the test. Zach Stramanak, Max Lum, Andrew Waggoner, and Aaron Gray each scored for the Cardinals and Stine added another PK to go along with his five conversions.

Orion Man and Andrew Waggoner earned the players of the game for their high work rate. “They were constantly making tackles, tackling on their feet, going to make another tackle,” Bayer said. “[St. Bonaventure] had some pretty big boys and they went nose-to-nose with them and took them down. They did it all game.”