The Kutztown University Mens Rugby Team spent their spring break on the sunny island of Bermuda. The team was returning to defend their 2017 title at the Ariel re Bermuda Collegiate Sevens Tournament. The team was coming off of two tournament cup wins.The first at the Salisbury University Sevens Tournament and then a massive Cup Championship victory at the Las Vegas Collegiate Sevens Tournament. The Golden Bears were looking to keep their early season form intact when they landed in Bermuda. The Arielre Bermuda, collegiate competition consisted of Ohio State University, Notre Dame University, St, Joe?s University, Colgate University, Ithaca College, Rowan University, Stony Brook University, University at Albany and Bermuda.
Kutztown opened the Pool Play competition with an excellent 45-0 defeat of Colgate University. An hour later, the Golden Bears found themselves, on the short end of what everyone except Ohio State, considered an upset loss of 20-12. The Buckeyes played like they wanted it and put themselves in a secure position to win the pool play. In the third and final game of the day, Kutztown felt the pressure and ramped it up to dispose of St. Joe?s 34-7.
The next day saw the Golden Bears take on Ithaca College for their final pool game of the tournament. Of course Kutztown was under the gun to score as many points as possible, in order to make the championship brackets with one loss. They have been in this position before and knew that by achieving the highest point differential criteria, they would advance. The magic of a sevens tournament, is the fact that a team always has the ability to avenge a loss and advance with a high powered attack and a stingy defense. Kutztown followed the plan and ran away from Ithaca 45-0. That team performance vaulted the
Golden Bears into the Semi-Final bracket. The Final Four qualifiers were Kutztown, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Bermuda.
Kutztown drew the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. The Irish are a physical rugby team and what they might lack in any catagory, they make up in size and tenacity. It was a bruising contest from the opening kickoff to the final whistle. However, the Golden Bears don?t lack a physical component and that attribute combined with excellent team speed and defense, but them into the Cup Final. Hats off to Notre Dame, it was a hard fought 17-5 victory over the boys from South Bend.
In the other semi-final matchup, Bermuda rang up the exact same score in disposing of the Buckeyes, 17-5. The Cup Final had shaped up to be a rematch of the 2017 Cup Championship. The Bermuda side and all of their supporters were looking for revenge from the 33-5 drubbing at the hands of the 2017 Golden Bears. One of the Kutztown co-captains, Murphy Lill, was on the sidelines with a hamstring pull and the team was taking the field without one of their most experienced players and respected leaders. However, veteran leaders John Sage and Jason DeNofa, along with the youth movement that is the engine room of this team, were up to the task. The Golden Bears were never in serious trouble and manufactured a surgically, structured team victory over a very talented Bermuda side, 24-12.
RUN WITH THE BEARS!