The College Premier Division season ended on a bright note for both Kutztown and Penn State, as each won their final match of the season.
Two tries from flanker Maurice Chester paced Kutztown to a 31-15 victory over Dartmouth. After a season of close losses, the Bears were happy to claim a victory. Dartmouth jumped out to an early 5-0 lead and held that lead until midway through the first half, when Chester scored his first. The flanker ran in another seven minutes later to make it 12-5 and KU never looked back.
Kerry Fryberger, Bruce Dolan and Andrew Stinson also scored tries while Tim Acker added three conversions.
“We rallied well after that loss to Rutgers,” said Head Coach Gregg Jones. “We never got discouraged. We felt maybe with a little luck we could have been 5-2, but we’re not. The boys worked really hard to finish on a good note and they did. Today we started six freshmen and six sophomores, so the future is bright for us.”
Kutztown ended up 3-4 in the competitive Rugby East, but three of those losses were within a try. Dartmouth drops to 3-4.
Meanwhile Penn State won a barnburner 42-41 over Delaware. The Blue Hens ran out to a 27-5 lead before Penn State came roaring back.
“I don’t know, maybe they thought that was a sufficient lead,” said Delaware Head Coach Bjorn Haglid. “Hats off to Penn State, they kept coming.”
Delaware scored seven tries to Penn State’s six, but the difference-maker was flyhalf Joe Baker, who was a perfect 6-6 in conversions, four of which were from the touchline, including one where he shook off an injury to belt the ball through the sticks.
“Joe was amazing today,” said Penn State Head Coach Don Ferrell. “He was perfect, and it won the game for us. It was an very exciting game and I think a lot of fun for the fans – maybe not for the coaches!”
On the first truly sunny rugby day in the region, Penn State was led by vice captain Mike Erickson, who was inspirational in the comeback.
“I don’t think much changed for us,” said Ferrell. “We just got the momentum back.”
Both coaches said they are happy with the future for their teams, as neither squad was heavy with seniors.
“We had some good performances, and we feel pretty good about the future,” said Haglid.
“It’s been a very interesting year,” added Ferrell, who didn’t really expect his team to end up 5-2 and 3rd in the Rugby East. “We recognized our seniors today and it was six guys. We have a young team and another good recruiting class coming in. But even so it’s tough to win in this league. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a league with more parity in it. There are no easy matches, and a lot of respect between the teams. Overall I couldn’t be more pleased with how this all came down.”