In their final match of the fall varsity season, Wheeling Jesuit University dominated the pace in a 41-10 victory over John Carroll University. With the win the Cardinals finished their fall season with a 5-1-1 record.
Like much of the eastern US, the James LaRosa Athletic Complex was drenched in rain. After a brief 3-0 lead by John Carroll University, the Wheeling Jesuit Cardinals retaliated with five tries and three conversions for 31 unanswered points. Freshman captain Max Lum (Advance, NC) ignited the Cardinal run with back-to-back tries at 10:33 and 14:10. John Stapleton (Sydney, Austrailia) completed the two-point conversion, and the Cardinals led 19-3 mid-way through the first half.
In the 21st minute, WJU would add seven additional points as Dante Walters (Elk Grove, CA) broke free of the John Carroll defense, and Stapleton found the center of the goalposts. Wheeling Jesuit continued to place the ball in the try zone, receiving scores form Wardell Han-Gadson (Philadelphia, PA) and Tim Litton (Charlotte, NC). With the first half approaching the 40-minute mark, JCU’s Chris Benhatzel cut into the Cardinal lead with a try and Coyle completed the conversion. Wheeling Jesuit led 31-10 at halftime.
After the break, Wheeling Jesuit wasted no time answering the Gators last try as Walters took the ball the length of the field for a 36-10 advantage, thus allowing the Wheeling Jesuit Cardinals to expand player participation. Litton put the final points on the board in the 69thminute with his second try of the game to complete the 41-10 victory.
WJU Head Coach Eric Jerpe says despite the wet conditions, he is pleased with his team’s effort.
“We accomplished a lot of our goals tonight.” Said Jerpe “We’ve been waiting to put together a full team effort, and I thought we managed the game well even though it was muddy. We were disciplined tonight, which is something we have been working on during our season. It was definitely a step in the right direction.”
Wheeling Jesuit University announced the renaissance of Rugby early this year after a twenty year hiatus. The school launched their new program as a varsity team, playing a USA Rugby division I independent schedule which included matches against, University of West Virginia, University of Maryland, Ohio State University, Penn State University, and Millersville University.
WJU will conclude their fall season next week when they travel to the University of Delaware as they attempt to qualify for the USA Rugby Collegiate 7s National Championship.
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