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Kutztown, Penn State Win In Rugby East

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Kutztown, Penn State Win In Rugby East

Colleen McCloskey photo.

Penn State pulled away, barely, from Notre Dame College to beat the Falcons 31-25 in the Nittany Lions' first Rugby East game of the season.

The score was 18-17 Notre Dame College at halftime thanks in part to tries from NDC's Matt Smith and Christian Olsen and the kicking of Fadzai Mushonga put, who also added a try late in the half.. Penn State wing Brian Stella scored a try just before the break and then scored another in the second half to put his side ahead. Wing Jesse Capriotti then extended that lead to 31-18 with Connor Dellapina's kicking.

"Connor's been working hard on his kicking and he did really well today," said PSU Head Coach Justin Hundley. "He's been fantastic; a different player from who we had before at flyhalf, but the guys are learning."

Smith's second try for NDC brought the team, with Mushonga's conversion, within a try, but they got no closer. With time up, hooker/No. 8 Tom Capriotti (Jesse's older brother) stripped the ball away and that was it. LJ Koi-Larbi also scored for Penn State in this game where the PSU outside backs showed their quick-strike ability.

"Notre Dame College played well," said Hundley. "They are a very physical team, especially at the breakdown. We made some errors that kept the game close, but they put us under pressure and forced those errors. We'll need to iron those out in the next couple of weeks."


Meanwhile, many eyes were on Kutztown vs Army, as Army had looked a little vulnerable against Dartmouth, and Kutztown had looked in control against Mary Washington. This weekend, Kutztown won in impressive fashion 29-12. 

Army in fact led for most of the first half, scoring after Kutztown tipped the kickoff into West Point arms. The Black Knights consolidated from there and were up 7-0 after three minutes. It remained that way until flyhalf Thorne O'Connell scampered in from 20 meters for Kutztown to tie it up. The game remained deadlocked at 7-7 until into the second half. No. 8 Callum Bartlett then put Kutztown ahead to stay with a snappy pick-and-go.

With about 16 minutes to go, prop Keyon McCloud powered over to make it 19-7 Bears. Moments later, center Brock Stinson capped off a nice backline movement to make it 26-7.

Army replied with a late try to come within two converted tries, but Kutztown iced it with a penalty goal.

Flanker DaQuan Perry was a force for Kutztown on defense and in setting up scoring opportunities for his teammates. The win put KU at 2-0 in the young season, and with a win over Army, the Bears are now a team to worry about.