Nov 20, 2021
If the brisk fall day didn’t hit Mary Washington hard enough, the Bonnies certainly did.
After a slow start and a narrow escape near the Eagles’ try zone, St. Bonaventure methodically beat down the Virginia university, 39-7, before more than 300 fans at the Marra Athletics Fields Complex in the first round of the National Collegiate Rugby Division I Tournament Saturday afternoon.
Northern Ireland native Keelin Coyle opened the scoring with a penalty kick to give the Bonnies a 3-0 lead 14 minutes into the game, and Lukas Otineru bulled his way to a try just 4 minutes later. A Coyle conversion made it 10-0 to give the Bonnies all the points they’d need.
The top-seeded Bonnies advance to meet the winner of Sunday’s Kutztown-Iona game on Dec. 4 at Penn State Berks in Reading, Pennsylvania. The winner of that game moves on to the title game the weekend of Dec. 10-12 at AVEVA Stadium in Houston, Texas, home to Major League Rugby’s Houston Sabercats.
“We just needed to settle into our game to get things going. Once we made some positive tackles and got into our system, things changed and we started to make some carries they couldn’t handle and we started capitalizing on their mistakes,” said Tui Osborne, Bonnies head coach.
On a 39-degree day and a slippery field dotted with snow, Coyle had a splendid day kicking, going 3-4 on conversions and making both his penalty kicks for 12 points.
Sy Mendenhall and Cory Ratka added first-half tries to stake the Bonnies to a 25-0 halftime, while Mendenhall and Sebastiano Villani added second-half tries after Mary Washington, the No. 7 seed, had cut the lead to 25-7 early in the second half. Josh Smith added the conversion to Villani’s score.
Ratka, a senior flanker from Kenmore, and Villani, a senior scrum half from Parma, Italy, were named the Men of the Match.
“Their experience as seniors, helping us to control the game, really shined through,” Osborne said.
On the other side of the tourney bracket today, No. 2Penn State rallied past No. 6 Brown, 27-26, and No. 3 Queens defeated No. 8 Northeastern, 28-0.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. St. Bonaventure was named the #5 regional university value in the North in U.S. News and World Report’s 2022 college rankings edition.