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Massive MARC Clash As St. Joe's Visits West Chester

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Massive MARC Clash As St. Joe's Visits West Chester

St. Joe's vs West Chester in 2018. Photo courtesy St. Joseph's rugby.

The two undefeated teams in the Mid-Atlantic Men’s DIAA conference meet up this weekend as St. Joseph’s faces West Chester.

This has developed into a very nice rivalry, as St. Joe’s Head Coach Dan Yarusso continues to build long-term success in Philadelphia. Meanwhile, Bjorn Haglid hasn’t been at West Chester as long, but his arrival has spurred West Chester to new heights.

“The rivalry is going strong,” said Haglid. “It has been our two clubs fighting for 1st place; we had a terrific MARC final last fall, unfortunately we came up short.”

Haglid said he and Yarusso drive each other to improve and that has helped the conference as a whole. The games continue to be competitive throughout the league.

“Our clubs are driving each other to get better and that helps our conference do better at the next level,” he said. 

“This game should be a good one,” added Yarusso. “Both teams are undefeated and the match will most likely have huge implications on who gets the automatic bid to Nationals. The rivalry has certainly grown over the years. Bjorn Haglid has done a fantastic job with West Chester. Every year the matches get more and more competitive.”

The matchup will likely be a bit about power versus pace, but both teams have a decent serving of both. Jonathan Ahern has had a bit of a breakout fall for St. Joe’s, while Max Bryson has emerged as a try-scorer and a leader for West Chester.

“We have revamped our squad and our using some new talented freshmen that are fitting in well with our senior players,” said Halgid. “St. Joe’s squad is well coached and they bring great offense and can attack from different points on the field. West Chester will just have to retain the ball more than them. Call it selfish, but we don’t intend to let them have the ball much.”

“They are a tough and physical team,” added Yarusso. “For us it will be controlling possession and minimizing mistakes. In previous matches we have gotten off to fast starts. We hope to do the same this Friday night and keep it going throughout the match.”

West Chester hosts St. Joe’s tonight, Friday, at 7PM Eastern Time. 

West Chester is 5-0, having beaten Wester Virginia, IUP, Rowan, Delaware, and, last weekend, Pitt. St. Joe's is 6-0, including a non-league win over Fordham, and conference victories over Rowan, Pitt, West Virginia, Temple, and Towson.