Iona Shocks Army
Iona Shocks Army
Iona College, the #48 team in the Goff Rugby Report gal DI rankings, defeated #1 Army 43-26 Saturday in New Rochelle, NY.
Iona unleashed its ferocious defense and caused a tough Army team all sorts of problems. Evan Staikos scored two tries for the Gaels and Sean Hardiman scored a try, five conversions, and a penalty for 18 points. Greg Amaty, Andy Cacinovic, and Jon Petteruti also touched down for Iona. Army got two tries from Jake Banarhall and one from Andy Sullivan in the loss
“We just out-hit them,” said Iona Head Coach Bruce McLane. “Our defense was great, our kicking game was great. It was a very physical game. Army was better than us in the scrums, but we countered pressure with pressure.”
Army was unable to power through Iona, so they went wide.
“That was an intelligent move,” said McLane. “But we had practiced defending that.”
While Army got solid games from Jacob Banarhall at scrumhalf and Mike Del Pino in the midfield, Hardiman “played the best rugby game of his life,” said McLane. Hardiman's day included a brilliant kick-and-chase try that stuck the dagger in.
But key for Iona was that the Gaels were able to produce a complete team effort.
Iona got on the board first, and Army replied in the 18th minute to make it 7-5 Black Knights. But Iona kicked a penalty from Hardiman and added another try to lead 15-7. Army inched closer but every time they threatened to re-take the lead, Iona pulled ahead. Twice the Black Knights closed it to a one-point game, but the Gaels scored two key late tries to extend their lead to 15, and then scored on more to ice it.
“That all comes down the to captains,” said McLane. “They are really good at leading, and they have the guys playing a good physical game. Remember, this was a team that beat us 73-0 a year-and-a-half ago.”
Also in the Rugby East, Kutztown defeated Wheeling Jesuit 31-14. Army remains in 1st in the Rugby East, but will almost certainly lose their #1 ranking in the Goff Rugby Report fall rankings. Iona moves to 4-2 and 2nd in the Rugby East, and will almost certainly move way up after this result. Kutztown, now at 4-0, hosts Army next week. West Virginia defeated Buffalo 22-20.