Monday, September 28, 2009

Villanova Rugby off to Great Start

The Villanova Rugby Football club opened up their EPRU (Eastern Pennsylvania Rugby Union, for all of those new to rugby) season last Saturday with a convincing win over Shippensburg University. The 'Cats forwards played a very strong game and were able to control the pace of the game against a big Shippensburg pack. Nova's backline also played a great game, running all over Ship just about everytime the ball got out wide. In addition, Scrum Half Bryan McCusty contributed with two tries in a 37-10 rout of Ship.

This week VRFC took on #18 in the nation, the St. Joes Hawks. In most recent meetings the Hawks have had a severe advantage and usually run away with the game and the 'Cats dignity. However, with one of the strongest teams in recent memory, VRFC came into this game prepared to make sure that the Hawk would die. The game opened up with both teams coming out strong, and the 'Cats playing strong defense, holding off repeated St. Joe's attacks. While 'Nova's defense stayed strong, the Hawks forwards were finally able to punch in a try about 20 minutes into the first half. The Hawks made the conversion, giving them a 7-0 lead. In the past this would have started a St. Joes' scoring barage, however this new Villanova team was able to regroup and come right back with a try of their own, compliments of Senior Center, Ryan Fentin-Thompson, finishing out the half down only 5-7. Both teams opened up the second half strong, with St Joe's scoring first once again and Villanova coming right back with a try of thier own from Senior Flanker Mike Salera to tie the game at 12-12. The rest of the half was a heated battle as both teams fought to gain any advantage they could. Unfortunately for Villanova, some chances were wasted deep within the St. Joe's 22-meter line and the 'Cats were not able to find the try-zone. The game remained tied until just under ten minutes left in the game when the Hawks were finally able to break through 'Nova's pack and put down another try, going up 17-12. The missed conversion would not come back to hurt the Hawks, as they punched in one more try near the end to make the final 22-12. While the 'Cats had a win in their sights, this was a hard fought game with an outcome that made a statement: Villanova Rugby is Back. The 'Cats now sit in second place in the EPRU's Liberty Conference and third overall in Division 2. Villanova's next game is this Saturday at East Stroudsburg. The 'Cats next home game is Saturday October 10th, come out and support them as the take on the Temple Owls.

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