2019 Week 1 Recap: Visiting Clubs Plunder Lionshare of Victories

D1A Rugby: 2019 Week 1 Recap: Visiting Clubs Plunder Lionshare of Victories
Photo Credit: Syracuse Rugby IG: @cuse_rugby

Several powerhouses from the fall 2018 season reasserted their dominance in the first week of D1A rugby action this past weekend. With the start of their conference matches just three weeks away, #5 Navy travelled to take on #18 St. Bonaventure. St. Bonaventure was able to break through the Navy defense early on, advancing the Bonnies early lead to 17-8 at the half. Navy were able to storm back from the half time deficit, thanks in part to their scrumhalf Kevin Strehle who compiled two tries, as well as hooker Tyler Young and forward reserve Thomas McMurrain to record their own tries. Navy’s defense improved in the second half as they were able to limit a strong St. Bonaventure attack to just a single try in the second half, helping them come out on top. Navy will look to continue in building momentum for their remaining preseason matches, before kicking off their in-conference season against Davenport, September 28th.

Final Score: Navy 34 – St. Bonaventure 24

Two teams on the verge of cracking the Top 20 faced off this weekend, as Notre Dame hosted Ohio State. The Fighting Irish got out to an early lead when tight head prop Max Coduti crashed through the Buckeyes defense to score the first try of the game. Notre Dame would successfully convert the kick and take a 7-0 lead over Ohio State into half time. The Buckeyes however would draw first blood in the second half, as hooker Ben Richards crossed the line in the 50th minute. A successful conversion drew the scores level at 7-7 with 30 minutes left to play. Neither team would be able to score after tough defense play, until Notre Dame gave up a penalty within kicking range of Ohio State’s flyhalf and penalty-taker, Conor Forrestal. The Buckeye flyhalf was able to convert the penalty kick, and give his team a 10-7 lead with minutes to play. Ohio State would go on to cushion their lead in the 70th minute, with an unconverted try from flanker Michael Kwarteng.

Final Score: Ohio State 15 – Notre Dame 7

#12 Kutztown kicked off their regular season against the newly welcomed D1A club, Mary Washington. Despite Mary Washington having a hot start and getting out to an early 8-3 lead, Kutztown rallied back and took the lead going in to half time. The final minutes of the first half culminated in a couple try scorers, courtesy of lock Matt Gelhaus and prop Keyon McCloud-Holman. Kutztown would continue with their momentum and go on to dominate the second half, shutting out Mary Washington completely while adding on 21 more points themselves.

Final Score: Kutztown 38 – Mary Washington 6

Air Force hosted Colorado State in their first game of the season in the Rocky Mountain Conference. Colorado State’s strong attack was too much for Air Force, as they ran in 22 points within the first half alone. While Air Force’s defense improved immensely in the second half, the previous damage done by CSU in the first half, was too great to overcome. The Rams finished with a dominate win over Air Force to start their regular season.

Final Score: Colorado State 27 – Air Force 12

Other Matchups Around the League:

Buffalo played their first game since moving to the Liberty Conference, after transferring out of the East. Buffalo defeated Albany 47-15, and were propelled to victory thanks in part to a strong showing by outside center Cooper Szelest, who scored 22 points. Elsewhere in the Liberty Conference, Syracuse trounced Brockport 58-7. A hat trick within the first 12 minutes from fullback Jean Eric van der Elst set the tempo early for Syracuse, and helped put Brockport on the back foot for a majority of the game. In the final game of the week Rhode Island lost at home to Stony Brook 24-29. Clemson defeats a valiant Texas A&M side, 27-13 at home. The Notre Dame College vs. Wisconsin game was ultimately cancelled due to a Badger forfeit.