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St. Joe's, West Chester, Temple Undefeated In MARC

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St. Joe's, West Chester, Temple Undefeated In MARC

Photo - WCU Rugby

St. Joseph's, Temple, and West Chester are now 3-0 in the Mid-Atlantic Rugby DIAA Conference after impressive wins this weekend.

Temple and Towson was a clash between the 2-0 Owls and 2-1 Towson, and it was a dramatic one. In a back-and-forth game, Towson ran out to a 14-0 lead, but Temple inched back. After a try made it 14-5, Towson got a yellow card and the Owls punished that mistake quickly, scoring to make it 14-10. Pressing their advantage, Temple scored out wide to then take the lead 15-14.

Down with yet another yellow card, Towson managed to retake the lead with a penalty goal, only to have Temple score with no time left and win 22-17.

West Chester, which had won fairly comfortably in the Rams' first two league games, had a massive battle against 0-2 but competitive Rowan.

On a very hot day, WCU ran out to a 17-3 lead at the break. But in the second half, the Rams started to wilt a bit and Rowan punished WCU mistakes to lead 22-17.

"We tried to do to much," said WCU Head Coach Bjorn Haglid. "But we fixed it at the end." 

The West Chester backs produced their best work of the day at the end of the game, and Max Bryson scored to tie the game 22-22, and then added another, his third, to win it 29-22.

"Rowan is a tough-tackling team. We didn’t have much competition until today," said Haglid. "And we learned a lot. A young team can, when it's in the lead, can drift from the game plan, but we were able to pull it back together, and that's all we can ask."

And St. Joe's went to 3-0 with a 57-14 defeat of West Virginia. The Hawks, last year's national DIAA fall runners-up, have outscored Rowan, Pitt, and WVU by a combined score of 150-53.

Averaging 50 points per game is a product of the Hawks having returned basically their entire backline. Of course, the backs need the forwards to get the job done, too, and a pack that returned regular starters Andrew Sullivan and Nick Ballas has had to get up to speed. They have.

"Everyone just filled the shoes and we hit the ground running," said Head Coach Dan Yarusso. "We are getting better and better level of competition in this conference. We've played some competitive mathes and you know our team has gone far [in the playoffs]."