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AIC Faces Kutztown in Ranking Clash

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AIC Faces Kutztown in Ranking Clash

It’s a non-conference game that doesn’t mean anything, except it means a lot and no one is backing down.

American International College, ranked #20 by Goff Rugby Report, fresh off an undefeated run in the ECRC, hosts #7 Kutztown, still stung by a close loss to Army that likely cost them the Rugby East title.

“All our focus is on Kutztown,” said AIC co-captain Skyler Adams after his team clinched the ECRC. “They are a top-ranked team and we want to see where we match up. We wanted to play Army and that game got cancelled. This is a big game for us.”

KU Head Coach Gregg Jones agrees. His team is taking the matchup very seriously, and in part because the known skills of AIC are different than those of Army or Penn State.

“We expect them to be more dangerous in their attack form the backline,” he said. “They have a good forward back, but there are lots of formidable forwards in the Rugby East. But we’ve seen them in 7s and they have a lot of really good athletes. Chrisitan Adams deserves a lot of attention but they’ve got other players we respect as well.”

Kutztown has had to move some players around, with Niku Kruger being one of his fixtures, at scrumhalf, he has used players such as Alex Faison-Donahoe and Wes Hartman in a variety of positions. But they have some good news as Robert Stortz, feared out for the season with a torn MCL, is back on the field. It turned out to be just a strain, so the doctors say, and he will line up at inside center, partnership with Nu’u Aiava. Neither is exactly big, and will have their hands full against Adrian Ray and Seth Halliman in AIC’s midfield.

But it’s not just about the backs at AIC. Lock forward Connor Gleason, who partners with Corey Momsen to field almost 13 feet of second row, says the Yellowjacket forwards should not be overlooked.

“The backs are scoring the tries and getting the glory, but that’s OK,” said Gleason. “It’s a really team effort. If we weren’t doing our job they couldn’t do their job. We match up pretty well with Kutztown, and we’re looking forward to it. It should be the hardest team we’ve played all year.”

Key for AIC will be composure, and Gleason said that’s been something the squad has improved on over this season.

“Last year, when we got scored on, players would start getting down on each other,” he said. “This year we don’t have that. Guys are staying positive. We will need to stay positive against Kutztown.”