BOULDER, Colo. – Wheeling Jesuit’s second half comeback that fell short against Army produced the most exciting rugby of the weekend out of Rugby East. Fellow top-ten sides, Kutztown and Penn State, cruised in their victories, while Iona moved above .500 by beating St. Bonaventure.
Iona vs. St. Bonaventure
A 33-10 defeat of St. Bonaventure over the weekend moved Iona to 2-1 in Rugby East. After entering the half leading, 14-0, the Gaels kept their foot on the throttle for most of the second half.
Iona received another good game from Mike Marino, while Tyler Ringwood crossed the end line for two tries. Just a freshman, Greg Amaty has stepped up to take charge of the kicking duties for the Gaels. On Saturday, Amaty was steady from the tee, hitting on four of his five conversion attempts.
For the Bonnies, a pair in the back three were able to find enough space in the Iona defense to score second-half tries in Dan Dillon and Ryan McGovern.
West Virginia stands between Iona and a 3-1 record. The Gaels will host the Mountaineers Oct. 3. St. Bonaventure will need to regroup in a hurry, as a contest with No. 6 Kutztown awaits the Bonnies on the same day.
No. 5 Army vs. No. 9 Wheeling Jesuit
In front of its home fans at Anderson Rugby Complex, West Point raced out to a 25-0 first-half lead thanks to 10 points off the boot of Thomas Del Pino and winger David Huff’s first try of the season.
After sneaking a penalty kick in prior to half, Wheeling Jesuit began mounting a comeback with a converted try by prop Cecil Rich at the 43rd minute. Fellow front rower Julian Santana add his own 10 minutes later, and All-American Peter Malcolm sliced Army’s lead to 28-23 with his second score of the season.
Under immense pressure from the Cardinals, eight man Peter Basnight distanced his Black Knights from their challenger by scoring in his third consecutive Rugby East match in the 64th minute. Del Pino added his 14th and 15th points following the try, and capped Army’s 35-23 win.
Wheeling Jesuit is off next weekend before getting back into Rugby East play on the road against St. Bonaventure Oct. 10. West Point can’t rest on its laurels as Penn State looks forward to hosting the cadets this Friday night. The Nittany Lions will be Army’s second top-10 test in as many weeks.
No. 6 Kutztown vs. Buffalo
The Golden Bears appear to be in midseason form. A relentless effort against Buffalo led to a 79-0 shutout for Kutztown.
New scrum half David Snead had a double, as did All-Americans Alex Faison-Donahoe and Robert Stortz to help give the sixth-ranked Golden Bears their first conference win (1-0) and third overall (3-0).
The Bulls will have plenty of time to look back at the one-sided loss, as winless Buffalo doesn’t play again until its Oct. 10 visit to Penn State. Kutztown has its first Rugby East home game to look forward to next week against St. Bonaventure.
West Virginia vs. No. 8 Penn State
Penn State rudely welcomed West Virginia to Rugby East with a 79-5 beat down in Morgantown, W.V.
Nine different Nittany Lions dotted down, including eight man Chris Burian and back liners Robert Irimescu and Tyler May, who each had two tries. Last week’s D1A Player of the Week, Jimmy Ronan, followed up his 28-point performance against Wheeling Jesuit by adding a try and six conversions for 17 points against the Mountaineers.
Fielding one of the youngest sides in Rugby East, West Virginia was overwhelmed by Penn State’s team play and dependable execution. Scrum half Luke Ellis did find the try line at the 79th minute to steal a shutout from the Nittany Lions, but the five points still aren’t a lot to build off of for next week’s encounter with Iona.
Penn State has four more days to prepare for No. 5 Army. The massive Rugby East contest will have conference championship implications, but could also spearhead a shakeup in the Canterbury D1A Top 20.