Army Outlasts Kutztown Second Half Surge

Kutztown vs. Army – Rugby East D1A

Kutztown University Men’s Rugby hosted Army West Point Men’s Rugby on Saturday, Oct. 21 in Kutztown, PA. Kutztown entered the match with a 2-1 Rugby East D1A record, while Army had a 3-1 record.

Army had five tries during the first half and took a 35-5 lead into the break. After an Army try to begin the second half, Kutztown storms back with five tries, before Army added a late try and a penalty kick for a 51-32 win.

Next Saturday, Army will travel to Penn State for a 1:30 pm match to decide the Rugby East title. Penn State has a 5-0 record with 25 points, while Army is 4-1 with 22 points.

Kutztown vs. Army West Point Recap

Army Outlast Kutztown Second Hlaf Surge
Lisa Schlager Photography – Kutztown Pregame v Army

First Half

Kutztown’s Jackson Clark kicked off deep to begin the match and Jon Kim promptly cleared. That would be Army’s pattern during the match with Kim clearing for territory or as part of a kick and chase.

Kutztown attacked from a lineout, but a penalty stymied their attack. Army then attacked from a lineout, executing a cross kick and after several picks, a knock on while going over the line, gave Kutztown a 5-meter scrum.  The Golden Bears cleared and Kim returned, which set up a Kutztown attack with Ryan Nolan offloading to Dmontae Noble for a try to lead 5-0.

Kutztown appeared to be on the verge of adding another try, but a pass was intercepted by James Mbony for a try under the posts and an easy Jon Kim conversion to lead 7-5.

Army increased it’s lead to 14-5 after a kick by Kim and a chase by Jake Lachina for a try in the corner with Kim adding a conversion. The lead soon became 21-5 after a Kutztown penalty had Army attacking inside the 22 meters with picks and crashes before Raaqim Rispress barrelled over for a try.

Kutztown used a penalty by Army as Dmontae Noble and Evan Anderson led the attack with a knock on gave Army a scrum deep in their territory. Kim then tried a clearance kick, but Kutztown’s Jackson Clark was sent to the bin for a late hit. This enabled Army to clear for territory and then attack from a lineout. This resulted in Mitchell Sanderson adding a try from close range and a Kim conversion to increase the lead to 28-5.

With six minutes remaining prior to the break, James Mbony found a gap and Jordan Jurosic finished with a try. Kim was a perfect 5 for 5 on conversions, for a 35-5 lead.

Army Outlast Kutztown Second Hlaf Surge
Lisa Schlager Photography – Army Flyhalf Jon Kim kicking

Comments:

Army continued their pattern of having Kim clear the ball for territory or attacking with kicks and chases. Army had an advantage in the scrums, creating penalties as Kutztown was often on their back foot or the scrum wheeling. Army defence was strong within their 22 meters.

Kutztown backs Nolan, Dmonte, Malafu, and Gray was able to penetrate the Army backline with steps and good open field running. Attacking the Army forwards made them hones, but often did not lead to gaining territory.

Army Outlasts Kutztown Second Half Surge
Lisa Schlager Photography – Kutztown Vetekina Malafu
Army Outlast Kutztown Second Half Surge
Lisa Schlager Photography

Second Half

Army appeared to seal the match two minutes into the second half when Jayden Demmy found a seam, scoring a try for a 40-5 lead. Kim had his first missed conversion in six attempts.

Kutztown attacked after a Kim clearance kick to Aaron Gray and after several phases, Ryan Nolan scored a try with Nolan’s kick wide left. Kutztown then had a team attack with Aaron Gray offloading to Murphy Lill for a try in the corner. Soon after, Dmontae Noble scored a third unanswered try and Nolan converted to narrow the lead to 40-22.

Army was temporarily able to interrupt Kutztown’s attack with Kim slotting a penalty kick after an infraction at the breakdown.

The restart by Army was targeted for the corner inside Kutztown’s 22 meters. Noble spun the ball wide and Gerald Lowe went into contact inside the Army 22 meters. This lead to a Brandon Boon offload to Joe O’Shields for a try.

Nick Hohlt secured the restart inside the Kutztown 22 meters and ran to midfield. Kutztown continues to attack deep into Army territory and after several penalties by Army, Kenyon McCloud powered his way over the line. Jackson Clark converted to cut the lead to 43-32.

On the restart, Kim’s kick was off target and went directly into touch for a Kutztown scrum at midfield. After some back and forth play, another Kutztown attack ended with a knock. This did not end the golden Bears attack as Gray and Noble weaved through Army defenders before Kenyon McCloud lost the ball on contact. From the ensuing scrum, an Army attack had Jake Lachina offloading to Nate Williams for a try in the corner. Jon Kim would add a penalty kick with no time on the clock for a 51-32 victory.

Army Outlast Kutztown Second Half Surge
Lisa Schlager Photography

Coaches Comments

Kutztown Head Coach, Gregg “Doc” Jones

“It was a tale of two halves. Matt Sherman & I mentioned that after the game when we met. Congratulations to Army? They are a very good side. We’re a very young side, very talented!

When looking at the match Jones added that “I think it’s all about coming back in the second half. I think we can use that for momentum in going forward for our final two games of the season against Wheeling Jesuit and Notre Dame College, which will be big tests, as well.

I’m all about progress. We seem to be getting better each week. The younger kids are getting better and their skills are improving. We’re enjoying the season.

All the best to Army!”

Army West Point Men’s Rugby Head Coach, Matt Sherman

“It was a tale of two halves. The first half was phenomenal. It was probably our best half of rugby in my 2 1/2 years here, with the possible exception against Cal a couple of years ago in the playoffs.

We lost our way in the second half and Kutztown, a good team, fought their way back into it. I was really pleased with our world imploding and momentum against us, how the men kept leading and kept engaging and fought their way out of their slump and reversed the momentum for the win.”

Next week Army travels to Penn State with the Rugby East D1A title on the line. I asked Coach Sherman about what will be needed against Penn State? 

“We need both of those things for all 80 minutes. We need a great performance and great leadership. Penn State is a very good team and even harder to beat at Penn State. We’re carrying some confidence with us. We’ve beaten two good teams on the road. We know we have a good 80 minutes in us and that’s what we’re focused on for the next week, our best 80.”

Kutztown: 1 Jake Glass 2 Maxim Bennett 3 Allan Kaufman 4 Casey Renaud 5 Angel Santiago 6 Evan Anderson 7 Sam Devine 8 Gerald Lowe 9 Keagan Barnes 10 Jackson Clark 11 Murphy Lill 12 Ryan Noble 13 Dmontae Noble 14 Vetekina Malafu 15 Aaron Gray 16 Keyon McCloud 17 Nick Hohlt 18 Michael Earley 19 Joe O’Shields 20 Jordan Ghyzel 21 Tyler Valvcin 22 Brandon Boon 23 Dondre Ross

Army West Point: 1 Jareth Long-Garrett 2 Ryan Moshak 3 Austen Deppe 4 Mitchell Sanderson 5 Collin Grosse 6 Nathan Brooks 7 Raaqim Rispress 8 Bailey Abercrombie 9 Harrison Farrell 10 Jon Kim 11 Nathan Williams 12 Jayden Demmy 13 Jordan Jurosic 14 James Mbony 15 Jake Lachina 16 Liam McMillin 17 Marco Carrabotta 18 Will Miller 19 Jake Ericksen 20 Matthew Meehan 21 John Royston 22 Brendan Cunningham 23 Thomas Zagulia

Interview: Vetekina Malafu

 

Vetekina Malafu will be playing Major League Rugby with Austin Elite Rugby. Malafu was interviewed after the match about Maui Rugby, Kutztown Rugby and his new club, Austin Elite Rugby, upon graduation in December. An October 13th article elaborates about his signing along with extensive comments by Maui Coach Jack Breen and Kutztown Coach Gregg “Doc” Jones.

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