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New-Look Rugby East Kicks Off With Competitive Games

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New-Look Rugby East Kicks Off With Competitive Games

Queens players seemto enjoy training.

So who leads the Rugby East?

It might be too early to tell, of course, after just one week. It's relatively rare to have a team just roll throughout without at least a scare, if not an outright loss.

Army did beat Kutztown but it was close—25-17 (full report here>>). of course, it's also worth reporting that this was a five tries vs two tries game. Kicking for goal does matter and no one goes back to a game and says "akshually your three converted tries don't outscore four unconverted tries after all." But ... in terms of looking at a set of teams and evaluating where they sit in a pecking order, yes, Army scored five tries and Kutztown two. Army does need to sort out its goalkicking and they likely will.

Navy beat Southern Virginia bby a lot and that's not a surprise. SVU Head Coach David Smyth said his team needed a bit of time and so that seems evident. JD Bengston scored three tries for Navy and Lewis Gray scored 20 points thanks to two tries and five conversions. Tanner Russell and Presley Sayavong also scored two for Navy.

"We took another step forward against a big and physical Southern Virginia team. We know we still have plenty of work to do but we are satisfied that we executed our game plan effectively," said Director of Rugby Gavin Hickie. "Peter Ratnayake had a great training week and capped the week off with a standout performance, while 8-man Ben Haugh is setting new standards for the team. Finally, Lewis Gray is realizing his potential as one of the best collegiate players in the nation."

Perhaps the most head-turning result was Queens University defeating Penn State 27-10. Penn State actually scored a try within the first three minutes with Dalton Musselman slicing through from short range. He would convert for a 7-0 lead, but the Queens defense held them out after that. Flyhalf Tom Keay would score, finding a seam to curve under the posts five minutes later. Hilton Olivier converted to tie it. A restart error by Penn State allowed Queens to immediately go back on the offensive. Keay set up Chester Stanyong with a flat pass and the center curved around the outside to put his side in the lead 12-7.

Musselman would add a penalty to make it 12-10 at halftime.

In the second half, flanker JC Curry scored following a long period of pressure to make it 19-10. Penn State came right back to threaten the Queens goalline. But a penalty allowed Queens to run out of trouble on a quick tap, and soon thereafter Keay slotted a very well-taken drop goal to put his side up 22-10.

Once again Penn State got close, only for a mistake to give Queens the ball and for the Royals to once again run out of trouble. Eventually No. 8 Chester Stanyon crashed over and that capped off the scoring.

Four tries to one for Queens was a good showing in their Rugby East opener.

St. Bonaventure escaped a tenacious Notre Dame College side that probably wished they'd had a little more luck on the goalkicking front. NDC had some chances and early on were held up in-goal. A few minutes later the Falcons had a long-range penalty attempt that drifted wide, and the about 10 minutes later another. So it was still scoreless until about 27 minutes when St. Bonaventure broke the deadlock. Some good work from the backs for them into the NDC 22 and then the ball was spun wide where prop Ethan Doumbe made a very nice offload to No. 8 Niku Otineru, who crashed over.

Center Keelin Coyle hit the difficult conversion for a 7-0 lead.

Just before halftime, NDC struck back. A knock-on in the NDC 22 gave the Falcons the ball and a clearance kick bounced oddly, giving wing Xavier Allen enough time to race under, take the ball on the bounce, and run on for another 50 meters for a try. No conversion, and it was 7-5.

Coyle slotted a penalty goal for Bonnies, but NDC tied it up again about 25 minutes into the second half. This time a penalty set up a lineout in the St. Bonaventure 22, and they scored on the right. Now it was 10-10. But soon after the restart St. Bonaventure worked the phases and forced an offside penalty. Coyle hit the penalty kick without too much trouble, and SBU held on from there.

Defensively, Notre Dame College put in a huge effort, but St. Bonaventure hung in there and didn't panic.

Also winning a relatively tight game was Mount St. Mary's, 23-7 over Virginia Tech.

So clearly the winning teams are all the front-runners, but it's not that simple. With only one real blowout, almost everyone still seems to be in the mix at the moment. For example, can Penn State rebound against Kutztown, or is it the other way around? Queens at Army on Friday is going to leave someone disappointed.

All of that that kicks off the standings:

Rugby East W L T PF PA PD BT BL Pts
Navy 1 0 0 75 0 75 1 0 5
Queens 1 0 0 27 10 17 1 0 5
Army 1 0 0 25 17 8 1 0 5
Mount St. Mary's 1 0 0 23 7 16 0 0 4
St. Bonaventure 1 0 0 13 10 3 0 0 4
Notre Dame College 0 1 0 10 13 -3 0 1 1
Mary Washington 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Kutztown 0 1 0 17 25 -8 0 0 0
Virginia Tech 0 1 0 7 23 -16 0 0 0
Penn State 0 1 0 10 27 -17 0 0 0
Southern Virginia 0 1 0 0 75 -75 0 0 0