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WPU, Sacred Heart to Tri-State Final

College Men

WPU, Sacred Heart to Tri-State Final

Chris Coyne led the Sacred Heart effort.

It will be William Paterson against Sacred Heart for the Tri-State Conference championship after both won semifinals this weekend.

Sacred Heart faced off with RPI, a team they beat by over 100 a couple of weeks ago. That game, however, had no bearing on the standings, and as such, wasn't a harbinger of what would happen in the semis. RPI, the defending conference champs, played a tough, hard-nosed game in rain and thunder and lightning (the lightning forcing a suspension of the game for more than an hour during the second half). 

But, led by prop Chris Coyne, center Jack Connelly, and lock Kenny Eckert, Sacred Heart held off RPI 26-10.

"RPI was a different team this time around," said Sacred Heart Head Coach Ray Peterson. "This was a classic, old-time mud-and-blood game."

Meanwhile, William Paterson defeated Siena 39-19. WPU is now 7-0 after starting the season 0-3 last year and getting suspended. The turnaround, said club president Andrew Massefski, was because of a number of issues.

"I wanted this club to be a lot more organized, to operate like one of our varsity teams," said Massefski. "We recruited a bunch of new players, and then we got coach Morne Pretorius. All of those things brought it all together, and the seniors who have been through the down times got to feel what it was like to win."

Bolstered by more organized program and a new coaching situation, WPU waded through the the league, and, so far, through the playoffs. No. 8 Kevin Kirsh was excellent for WPU this weekend, while center Josh Jones, back from injury, has been scoring tries all over the place.

Next week, those two and the rest of WPU get to play a Sacred Heart team on just as much of a roll.

"It's going to be a close game," said Massefski. "If they get to play their game, they'll probably win. If we get to play our game, we'll probably win. We're excited to play it."