Kutztown too strong for Army, Bonnies notch first win

D1A Rugby: Kutztown too strong for Army, Bonnies notch first win
Photo Credit: Kent Miller

BOULDER, Colo. – A massive win was earned by Kutztown over the weekend when the Golden Bears overcame Army, 39-26. Elsewhere in Rugby East, Wheeling Jesuit returned home to beat Buffalo, and St. Bonaventure notched its first win of the season against West Virginia.

No. 6 Kutztown vs. No. 7 Army
Players, coaches, and supporters of the Golden Bears program had reason to rejoice on the campus of Kutztown University this past Saturday. After falling 34-30 to West Point last season, a match that cost Kutztown the Rugby East title, the Golden Bears outplayed its conference counterpart, 39-26.

Army claimed the first advantage in the match after Mitchell Sanderson went over the line and fly half Thomas Del Pino converted. The next two tries were scored by Golden Bears Jordan Ghyzel and Trent Hensley, but neither went converted, and the Golden Bears led narrowly, 10-7.

Andrew Irwin recaptured the lead for the Black Knights with his try, but back-to-back tries before the half put Kutztown up 22-14 at intermission.

The back-and-forth rugby continued when Irwin scored his second try to open the second half. Del Pino’s boot continued to keep Army in the match by slotting his third consecutive conversion to put West Point within just one point of the lead.

The majority of the second frame would be dominated by the home team, though, as Johan Van Wyke found the try zone twice, and captain Wes Hartmann scored his own try. A last-minute try would be added to Army’s total thanks to Harrison Farrell to give the cadets a bonus point. However, the afternoon belonged to Kutztown for its 13-point win.

With the victory, the Golden Bears control their own destiny in Rugby East. It still has two matches remaining, including a daunting test Nov. 7 at Penn State, but if Kutztown wins out, it will have sealed a conference title.

The loss against Kutztown ends Army’s Rugby East campaign, Still, West Point’s season is not over, as a rivalry match against Air Force awaits the Brothers Nov. 6 in Colorado Springs, Colo. Of course, if Kutztown can’t beat the Mountaineers and Nittany Lions on consecutive weekends, then Army can still claim the Rugby East title.


No. 10 Wheeling Jesuit vs. Buffalo
In its first home game since a difficult Sept. 19 loss to Penn State, Wheeling Jesuit took care of business against Buffalo, 57-15. After the Cardinals provided themselves an early, 10-3, lead, the Bulls got on the scoreboard with a Ryan West penalty kick at the eighth minute. The rest of the half would belong to Wheeling Jesuit, which scored 33 straight points before the halftime whistle sounded.

Buffalo received a tremendous second-half performance from Thomas Dreitlein, which saw the eight man score two tries. However, the Cardinals added two second-half tries of their own for the 42-point win.

Next week, Wheeling Jesuit will conclude its Rugby East season at home versus West Virginia. Buffalo has one last shot at picking off a conference win. That opportunity will come at home Nov. 7 against St. Bonaventure.


West Virginia vs. St. Bonaventure
Winless heading into the match, St. Bonaventure showed up to Morgantown, W.V., determined to change that against the Mountaineers. Tries from Patrick Hogan, Jordan Farrant. and Greg Terry all went unconverted, but were still enough to give the Bonnies a 15-3 halftime lead.

Luke Ellis connected on his second penalty kick to open the second half, and get his West Virginia side as close as 15-6, but St. Bonaventure would respond. Eight man John Sullivan dotted down in the 50th minute, and Terry added his second 17 minutes later for a 27-6 lead.

Ellis capped off a great individual performance with a try, giving the scrum half all 11 of West Virginia’s points. The Bonnies would, though, close the game with a sixth try and a 32-11 victory.

West Virginia has two matches remaining, but neither will be easy. The Mountaineers host Kutztown on Halloween, and then conclude its season on the road at Wheeling Jesuit. The Bonnies could double their win total Nov. 7 when they pay Buffalo a visit.