On Saturday, October 5th, Davenport Panthers traveled to meet the Kutztown Golden Bears for a hard fought 80 minutes of rugby. A tough loss of 15-45 to Kutztown, Davenport faced quick feet from the Golden Bear pack and a back line that exploited every opportunity to place the ball in the try zone.
Coming off the heals of last week’s victory at Michigan State University’s homecoming match, Davenport has shown great strides as the season comes into full swing. The Panthers initiated play as a cohesive unit setting a strong tempo in the first half, flowing between their forward and back line. Coach van Biljon emphasized strong communication and phase progressions as proof of a unified force that took the field against Kutztown.
This weekend however, Davenport’s momentum fell short against the Golden Bears. “We built some phases and had some good parts of our structure but gave some easy tries away on mistakes you can’t make against teams like Kutztown,” said van Biljon. Moving forward, the Panthers will need to eliminate the basic errors in order to remain in the D1-A top ranks.
Kutztown stand out, Mike Lawrence served as a source of tranquility in more hectic moments of play. “[Lawrence] kept his team calm throughout the match and had an outstanding game stealing a lot of our line-outs,” says vanBiljon. Kutztown scrumhalf Niku Kruger continues to live up to expectations as one of the strongest field-commanders in the country.
Davenport will take next weekend off of XVs to exercise their Seven’s program at the Notre Dame invitational to face Lindenwood, Western Michigan University and University of Illinois, keeping fitness up ahead of their match against Penn State’s Nittany Lions on Saturday, October 26th.
Meanwhile, Kutztown returns to the pitch next weekend to battle the Nittany Lions for the inaugural face-off within the East conference. Kick off is at 2:00p at PSU’s premier facilities.