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No. 2 Bonnies dominate Lee to earn berth in national rugby final four in Houston ​

Nov 12, 2023

NCR South Region champion Bonnies

Houston? They had no problem.

Dominating from the start, St. Bonaventure (9-0) routed Lee University, 53-5, Sunday morning in the South Region title game of the Collegiate Rugby Championship national small-college playoffs.

The win, which avenged last fall’s 31-10 regional semifinal loss to Lee (5-2), advances the Bonnies to the national small-college final four Dec. 2-3 in Houston, Texas. Final four matches will be announced later this week.

All-American Makenna Ramsey scored just 4 minutes into the game for the Bonnies, ranked No. 2 in the National Collegiate Rugby small-college poll. Kaylee Middaugh scored just minutes later to give SBU a 12-0 lead — with Kyla Nentarz’s successful conversion — and the Bonnies were never threatened.

Bonaventure, which defeated East Stroudsburg, 55-12, in Saturday’s semifinal, led 24-5 at the half and shut out Lee in the final 40 minutes.

For Meredith Pyke, who only had nine players on the club when she was hired as coach in 2022, reaching the final four in her second season wasn’t something she could have ever imagined.

“It’s incredible, a real tribute to how hard the girls have worked,” Pyke said. “The amount of work they have put in — on the field, in the gym, watching film — has really paid off. They love what they are doing and are so motivated. They make my job so easy.”

Ramsey scored four times, Middaugh added three tries and Nentarz and Kaylee Vincent each scored once for the Bonnies; Nentarz added three conversions and Ramsey one.

“We were a little nervous coming in so scoring that early really helped,” Pyke said. “I was really impressed with what we did today. They really played like a team today.”

Lee, which was the national runner-up in 2022 and scored 50 points in its semifinal victory Saturday over Hofstra, was held to a single try.

“We played very well defensively. Jaylei Wagstaff makes a huge difference for us defensively and the rest of the team feeds off of her,” Pyke said.


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. Out of 167 regional universities in the North, St. Bonaventure was ranked #6 for value and #14 for innovation by U.S. News and World Report (2024).