Forge Women Stand Tall Over Cleveland Iron Maidens

Pittsburgh Forge vs. Iron Maidens

Pittsburgh’s Bobbie Kolarik and Kirsten Andrews close ground on Cleveland defender.

 

CLEVELAND, OH – On a warm and sunny morning, the Pittsburgh Forge Women traveled to the outskirts of Cleveland to test their mettle against the well established Cleveland Iron Maidens. Known for their strong offense that targeted the 5 meter channel, The Forge was up against one of their most challenging competitors yet.  The field conditions at Impett Park were fair: a seemingly wide flat field, slightly long grass, and a line of oak trees provided shade for those in need of a break from the sun..

The game kicked off at 12:00 PM sharp, with Cleveland receiving the ball off the foot of Ashley Chipps (#8).  A little less than five minutes into the game, The Forge capitalized on a Cleveland penalty at the 10 meter line.  Olivia Lindsay (scrum half) passed the ball out to a strong pod option and then received the ball back, inserting herself into hole in the defensive line, scoring the first try of the game. Maddie Miller (fly half) sweetened the first try by sailing the ball through the uprights.  The score was 0-7, Pittsburgh.

The Iron Maidens, true to their name, were not so easily bent by The Forge hammer.  By the 11 minute mark, they answered back with a try and conversion of their own. Cleveland’s Hailey Hodgson (lock), took advantage of Pittsburgh’s porous defense and went in for the try.  Cleveland made their conversion, sealing the score at 7-7.

At the 12 minute mark, Jessie Brewer (fullback) made a game saving tackle (the first of four).  In the midst of stopping the Cleveland breakaway, Brewer’s tackle resulted in head assessment for Brewer.  Mackenzie “Mack” Dirlam, stepped into the fullback position while Brewer stepped off.

Just six minutes later, the Pittsburgh Forge regained possession of the ball and marched down the middle of Impett Park.  Pulling in Cleveland players, The Forge was able to send the ball wide, to a powerful veteran group of players. Outside center, Hannah Zibert, drew in one of the remaining defenders, making contact and sending it out to lock, Nicole Beswick.  Beswick charged through a hole but was caught with a few meters to go. With Dana Zimmerman (wing) charging in, Beswick gave her a quick pass. Zimmerman was able to make those last few meters and touched the ball down, now raising the score to 7-12. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful.

Brewer, cleared to play, returned to the field and Dirlam stepped back off to the sideline.  Once again and for the last time, Cleveland answered Pittsburgh’s try with a try of their own at the 23 minute mark, scored by Jordan Costy (14).  They, too, were unsuccessful in their conversion attempt, leaving the score at 12-12.

With just 30 minutes into the match, The Pittsburgh Forge charged downfield, with eyes set on the try line. Chipps, at a near hobble, finished the charge with a try of her own in the left hand corner of the field, after bulldozing down Cleveland’s outside defense.  The kick proved to be elusive once again; the score now 12-17. Having accomplished what she set out to do, Chipps exited the field with Dirlam stepping on. The battle ensued, Cleveland driving hard for that give one, take one pattern that had been established in the first twenty minutes of the game.  By the half, neither team scored again; the score remained at a close 12-17.

With both teams re-grouped and somewhat refreshed, the two teams hashed it out once again.  This time, The Forge Women received the ball and for the majority of the second half, kept possession.  Beswick was instrumental in this second half, orchestrating the backs and forwards into a driving force that took advantage of Cleveland defensive holes.  On the outside, Beswick received the ball and drove into the Cleveland defenders. As she made contact, she once again set up a teammate for the try. This time, Chloe Correia (wing), took the ball in, raising the score to 12-22.  Miller was able to recapture the uprights, sending the ball right through. The Forge was now 12 points up.

The next fifteen minutes were a battle.  Cleveland stormed down the middle of the field, reaching The Forge’s five meter defensive line by sheer force of will.  Losing a player to a yellow card for a high tackle, The Forge were a man down while Cleveland gained momentum. The Forge, however, would not yield.  At the 69 minute mark,The Forge reclaimed the ball and steamed ahead. The tides had officially turned and within the next minute, Jamie “Boo” Filipek (inside center)  took advantage of a back peddling Cleveland defense. Sliding through a hole, Boo sprinted for 20 meters and in for a try. The score now was 12-29.

With five minutes to go, The Forge’s physical fitness and tactical subs allowed them to complete two more tries.  At 76 minutes in, Beth Rose (prop) side-stepped a Cleveland defender and sidled into the try zone with Miller completing the conversion. Three minutes later, The Forge displayed their skill with a polished quick ball: Lindsay to Correia to Brewer and then back to Lindsay for a 20 meter break away.  In the 79th minute of the game, Beswick gave a strong off-load to Dirlam who dashed 40 meters for the final try of the game. Miller topped the game with a strong conversion. The final score was 12-48.

The Pittsburgh Forge Women will be competing at Philip Murray Park against North Buffalo on Saturday, September 22nd at 11:00 AM.  This will be their home opener.

LINEUP INFORMATION

First XV: 1 – Beth Rose, 2 – Kirsten Andrews, 3 – Bobbie Kolarik, 4 – Chelsey Mitchell, 5 – Karina Sarver, 6 –Nicole Beswick, 7 – Carrie Dvorsak, 8 – Ashley Chipps, 9 – Olivia Lindsey, 10 – Maddie Miller, 11 – Dana Zimmerman, 12 – Jaime Filipek, 13 – Hannah Zibert, 14 – Chloe Correia, 15 – Jessie Brewer

Reserves: 16 – Holly Ramey, 17 – Gerri Russell,  18 – Kathryn McGuire,  19 – Jess McArdle,  20 – Taylor Guzy,  21 – Mackenzie Dirlam,  22 – Jessica Brown,  23 – Sam Smarto

Substitutions: 31′ – Ramey for Chipps, 46′ – Dirlam for Zibert, 52′ – Guzy for Zimmerman, 65′ – McGuire for Kolarik, 77′ – McArdle for Rose, 78′ – Russell for Sarver, 75′ – Gawlas for Brewer

DisciplineChloe Correia (Y)

Referee: Renee Whittenberger

SCORING INFORMATION

Tries: Lindsey (1, 2), Zimmerman (2), Chipps (3), Correia (3), Filipek (1), Rose(2),

Conversions: Miller (4/8)

Player’s PlayerJessie Brewer

D3 Men Make Statement Against South Pitt

Pittsburgh Forge D3 Men get some last minute coaching from Allan Murray before kicking off against rival South Pittsburgh on September 15, 2018.

 

McDONALD, PA – Coming off a disappointing loss last week at the hands of the Presque Isle Scallywags, the Forge Men’s D3 side looked to rebound and make a statement against crosstown rival South Pittsburgh. Over the past several seasons, the Highlanders have dominated the Hooligans, not losing to them since 2014. Pittsburgh, however, would split the series over that span, so the Forge looked to build on those successes this week in McDonald, PA about a thirty minutes southwest of the City.

After just a few minutes of feeling one another out, Forge lock Brandon Benvenuti, back from missing several weeks with a knee injury, opened up the scoring against South Pitt at the eight minute mark with his first try as a member of the Pittsburgh Forge. The conversion was made by Al Cochran (PITT). Just four minutes later, winger Nate Hoellman, would place down his first try of season, followed by center Corey Jacobs just two minutes after that. Both tries would go unconverted, by at the seventeen minute mark, the Forge had jumped out a 19 – 0 lead and South Pittsburgh appeared stunned.

Jacobs would add his second try of the day just five minutes later, this time being converted by Cochran before Nick Eritz (Cal U) would add his first try of the season at the thirty-one minute mark, also converted by Cochran. Fullback Devin Zangaro (IUP) would add a (converted) try near the end of half before a defensive breakdown would allow South Pittsburgh to score to end the half; the Forge led 40 – 5 at the whistle.

With a comfortable lead, Coach Allan Murray decided to begin emptying out his fully stocked bench beyond the two replacements he needed to make in the first half due to injury. At the half, tough forward Lance Reaghard was brought on for Benvenuti after Jurnee Wilson (Cal U) came on for the injured Nate Hoellman at twenty minutes and Nick Cooksey (Cal U) came on for Stephan Patterson (PITT) at thirty-nine. Right off the kickoff, the Forge would score again; this time number 8 Bryce Markwardt (SRU) would dot down a try and Cochran would add yet another conversion.  After an answer back try from South Pittsburgh at forty-five minutes, Reaghard would power for his second try in two matches and Cochran would make good on that conversion as well, extending the lead back out to forty-four points.

Scrumhalf Nick Cardamone passes the ball out to lock Jackson Allen against South Pittsburgh on September 15, 2018.

 

With the second frame more than half over and a sizable lead maintained, Coach Murray brought on youngsters Mike Franzone, Paxton Thomas and Stephen Stasa for Jacobs, Markwardt and Cochran, respectively. Shortly thereafter, tough veteran prop Justin McCallister (SRU) would go down with an injury and front row Ben Carozza wound enter the match with about ten minutes remaining. South Pitt would add two late tries, to no avail, with the final score reading Pittsburgh Forge 54 – South Pittsburgh 27.

With the win, the Forge D3 side improves to 2 – 1 in league play and remains in first place at the top of the table. South Pittsburgh falls to 1 – 1 and will travel to a tough Presque Isle side this upcoming weekend. For the Forge, they will travel to Greensburg and face the Maulers who they beat in week one by a score of 62 – 12.

 

LINEUP INFORMATION

First XV: 1 – Justin McCallister, 2 – Brett Albrect, 3 – Dan Andrus, 4 – Brandon Benvenuti, 5 – Jackson Allen, 6 – Nick Eritz, 7 – Percy Taylor, 8 – Bryce Markwardt, 9 – Nick Cardamone, 10 – Al Cochran, 11 – Nutchapol Thepboon, 12 – Stephan Patterson (C), 13 – Corey Jacobs, 14 – Nate Hoellman, 15 – Devin Zangaro

Reserves: 16 – Kyle Porter, 17 – Ben Carozza, 18 – Paxton Thomas, 19 – Lance Reaghard, 20 – Jurnee Wilson, 21 – Mike Franzone, 22 – Nick Cooksey, 23 – Stephen Stasa

Substitutions: 20’ – Wilson for Hoellman (IJ), 35’ Porter for Andrus (TC), 39’ – Cooksey for Patterson (IJ), 40’ – Reaghard for Benvenuti (TC), 62 – Franzone for Jacobs (TC), Thomas for Markwardt (TC), 68’ – Stasa for Cochran (TC), 70’ – Corozza for McCallister (IJ)

Discipline: None

Referee: Alex Gralia, ARURS

 

SCORING INFORMATION

Tries: Benvenuti (1), Eritz (1), Hoellman (1), Jacobs (2, 3), Markwardt (1), Reaghard (2), Zangaro (2)

Conversions: Cochran (7/8)

Man of the Match:  Nick Eritz (1)

 

Photo Credits: Paxton Thomas

Forge D2 Drop Heartbreaker in Cleveland

Stand-out rookie winger Julyan Jenkins running against Syracuse on August 25, 2018. Julyan was the Man of the Match against the Cleveland Crusaders on September 15th.

 

CLEVELAND, OH – The Pittsburgh Forge Men’s D2 side traveled to Cleveland this weekend to take on the rival Crusaders in their first of two clashes of the season. While the game was not a “must win” for the Forge, beating the Crusaders at home would put the Forge securely in the driver’s seat for a birth in the Midwest Championship in November. Last season, Pittsburgh Rugby Club split the season series with the Crusaders, each side winning at home.

Within the first ten minutes, the opportunistic Crusaders were able to jump to quick 14 – 0 lead, taking advantage of a slow Forge start and several ball handling mistakes.  After a gut check, the Forge was able to regain their focus and began possessing the ball for much of the remainder of the match. Scoring for the Forge was opened up Andrew Knuttel (PITT) with a penalty kick at the fourteen minute mark to cut the lead down to eleven (11).

Shortly thereafter, the Forge found themselves deep in their defensive zone when scrumhalf and captain Rous Kluever (PITT) was able to keenly grab a loose ball and carry it a long ways down the field. After some crafty ball movement involving flanker David Ashline (PITT) and Knuttel, veteran lock Kyle Franklin (UIC) was able to finish the brilliant play and bring the score closer, 14 – 8 after eighteen minutes of play.

The Crusaders would pounce back once again however, counter-attacking quickly off a turn over ball to add yet another try at the twenty-two minute mark. This try would go unconverted, but would once again extend their lead to eleven. Luckily, the Forge would pounce again too with outside center Patrick Dobbins (UPJ) feeding stand-out  rookie winger Julyan Jenkins a great off-load to spring the youngster for his first try of the afternoon and third in three games as a Forge player. Knuttel would nail the conversion and cut the lead down to four (4). The Forge would immediately threaten again off the ensuing kick-off, but time would expire in the half and leave them behind still at the whistle.

Center Neil Reynolds running carrying the ball with Tim Bagatti and Billy Gordon in support against Syracuse on August 25, 2018.

 

After the half, the Crusaders would look to extend their lead again quickly by adding a penalty try at the forty-five minute mark. Following the try, the Forge would make some personnel changes to their lineup bringing in Jeff Muha, Frank Cacciotti (Geneva) and Tony Wilson (Woodland Hills) for Franklin, Sam Angelo (SRU) and Eric David, respectively. For the next several minutes, the Forge would possess the ball and threaten constantly against a stout Cleveland defense. Finally, fullback Billy Gordon (Villanova) would get free out wide and set down a try, converted by Knuttel, to cut the Crusader lead back down to four (4) once again.  Unfortunately, Knuttel would exit the game just a few minutes later with an ankle injury bringing on veteran forward Tim Bagatti (PITT) at the fifty-six minute mark.

Again, the Forge would gain and maintain possession, threatening to score several times, but failing to put down the go-ahead try. With just about ten minutes remaining, the Crusaders would again be opportunistic and put down what appeared to be a back-breaking try to go up nine points with time ticking away. The Forge men would not quit, however, and Jenkins would find the try zone once again at the seventy-six minute mark. After the conversion by Kluever, the Forge were down only two points with just under four minutes remaining in the game. At the restart, the Forge began attacking again, but another handling error deep in Crusader territory would seal the game for the Cleveland with the Forge knocking (literally and figuratively) on the doorstep. Final score: Cleveland Crusaders 31 – Pittsburgh Forge 29.

Both teams are 2 – 1 in league play after three weeks, although by earning two points in the loss, the Pittsburgh Forge remain ahead of the Crusaders in the standings with twelve (12) league points to Cleveland’s eleven (11). Next weekend, the Forge will travel to upstate New York again to take on the 1 – 2 Rochester Aardvarks while the Crusaders will take on 0 – 3 South Buffalo.. Cleveland will travel to Pittsburgh for the rematch and for what could likely decide the Eastern Conference Champion on Saturday, October 13th.

 

LINEUP INFORMATION

First XV: 1 – Cody Fulton, 2 – Andrew Knuttel, 3 – Derek Neubauer, 4 – Sam Angelo, 5 – Kyle Franklin, 6 – Alex Gordon, 7 – David Ashline, 8 – Tony Cardamone, 9 – Rous Kluever (C), 10 – Tyree Massie, 11 – Eric David, 12 – Neil Reynolds, 13 – Patrick Dobbins, 14 – Julyan Jenkins, 15 – Billy Gordon

Reserves: 16 – Jeff Muha, 17 – Frank Cacciotti, 18 – Tim Bagatti, 19 – Tony Wilson, 20 – Trevor Keough

Substitutions: 42’ – Muha for Franklin (TC), 48’ – Wilson for David (TC), Cacciotti for Angelo (TC), 56’ – Bagatti for Knuttel (IJ), 59’ – Keough for B. Gordon (TC)

Discipline: None

Referee: Unknown.

 

SCORING INFORMATION

Tries: Franklin (2), B. Gordon (2), Jenkins (3, 4)

Penalty Kicks: Knuttel (1/1)

Conversions: Kluever (1/1), Knuttel (2/3)

Man of the Match:  Julyan Jenkins (1)

 

Photo Credits: Florence Griffith

Forge Women Earn First Win Over South Buffalo

Wickstrom goes for the ball after a stolen ruck by Andrews & Correia.

BUFFALO, NY – The Pittsburgh Forge Women’s Rugby Club ventured to New York state for their first league match of the Fall season. Packed into several cars, the Forge Women traveled with 24 to the outskirts of New York’s second largest city. A chilly day with noticeable winds, the Forge welcomed the change from the hot and humid days that had plagued Pittsburgh.

Winning the toss, Chelsey Mitchell (captain, lock) requested the team kick off to South Buffalo. With a strong kick from Ashely Chipps (#8) at 12:35 PM, the game was launched and the Forge’s first league match began. However, it was a slow and arduous begining for the Forge. South Buffalo was chomping at the bit and their energy over-powered The Forge for much of the first half. Working with hard punches and quick ball, South Buffalo scored the first try of the game, exploiting gaps in the staggered Pittsburgh defensive line.

After that first try, the smoldering Pittsburgh energy began kindle. Kicking off to S. Buffalo once again, Pittsburgh was able to reclaim the ball. The forwards worked hard, making punch after punch into the S. Buffalo defensive line. With 12:59 PM on the clock, Chipps took a pick and go off of the 5 meter line and bruised her way to score Pittsburgh first try, a few meters outside of the uprights. Maddie Miller (fly half) sealed the try with a conversion, making the score 7-7: a tie game.

S. Buffalo was in no mood to be taken down so easily. Within the next ten minutes, S. Buffalo scored another try but was unable to complete the conversion, leaving the score 12-7. The Pittsburgh Forge were able to regain possession of the ball and once again, trudged downfield. Off of a five meter scrum, Chipps took a quick pick and go, touching that ball down at 1:16 PM, tying the game up. Miller’s second attempt at a conversion was unsuccessful.

The game finally settled into a back a forth pull: S. Buffalo setting strong rucks and making quick ball while The Forge’s conditioning and tightening defense helped stave off S. Buffalo. While marching up field, The Forge received a penalty option right smack dab in the middle of the uprights. The positioning was too perfect to abandon and a penalty kick was decided upon. With tension mounting as S. Buffalo scrambled to set up defense for the under-used penalty option, Chipps sent the ball dead center. The Forge finally pulled ahead, leaving the score to 12-15, Forge.

With the momentum of the last score behind them, The Forge moved like a steam train, chugging down the field. Sensing and channeling the momentum, Nicole Beswick (flank) conducted the forwards into a force that the S. Buffalo team could just not keep back. Within five minutes from the last try, The Forge forwards gathered the defense in, only to send the ball out in a most expectant back line. While ground was gained, S. Buffalo was able to defend against this line until prop, Beth Rose, looped on the outside of Chloe Correia (wing) and charged through the defensive line. Sprinting another 20 meters, Beth finished her run with a try.

S. Buffalo was quick to answer back, sending in a try and completing the conversion, making the score tighter than ever: 19-20, Forge.

However, Correia and Rose combination was not yet over. Not more than three minutes later, Rose slid into the back line between the outside center and wing. After a quick breakdown, Beth emerged with the ball, once again breaking through some of the defense, just as she did minutes before. Bogged down the remaining defense, Beth gave a quick pass to Correia (wing) who took it in for a try. Receiving the kick, The Forge pushed quickly ahead, exploiting S. Buffalo’s tiring defense. Punch after punch from the forwards yielding one more try for the Rose and Correia deadly combination, with Correia receiving a quick pass from Rose at top corner of the field. The score now was 19-30. Pushing back, S. Buffalo sent one more try up, now 24-30. It was the Forge’s game if they could only hold on for ten more minutes.

With few minutes to go, Dana Zimmerman (wing) made the final try of the game, securing The Forge’s win. Racing up the outside, having received a pass from outside center, Zimmerman zigged in and out of defenders until she found the try line 30 meters later, centering the ball between the uprights. With Chipps finishing the game with a conversion, the final score left S. Buffalo with 24 and The Forge at 37.

The Forge will face the Iron Maidens of Cleveland on 9/15 at noon for an A and B side match.

LINEUP INFORMATION

First XV: 1 – Bobbie Kolarik, 2 – Taylor Guzy, 3 – Kirsten Andrews, 4 – Chelsey Mitchell, 5 – Karina Sarver, 6 – Carrie Dvorsak, 7 – Nicole Beswick, 8 – Ashely Chipps, 9 – Chloe Wickstrom, 10 – Olivia Lindsey, 11 – Dana Zimmerman, 12 – Maddie Miller, 13 – Hannah Zibert, 14 – Jessie Brewer, 15 – Gerri Russell

Reserves: 16 – Beth Rose, 17 – Chloe Correia,  18 – Laura Beth Matulevich,  19 – Brooke Gawlas,  20 – Holly Ramey,  21 – Kelly Rush,  22 – Kathryn McGuire,  23 – Shannon Connolly

Substitutions: 40′ – Correia for Russell, 70′ – Connolly for Miller, 70′ – Rose for Kolarik, 70′ – McGuire for Sarver, 73′ – Ramey for Zibert, 73′ – Rush for Guzy, 75′ – Gawlas for Brewer

Discipline:  None

Referee: Unknown

 

SCORING INFORMATION

Tries: Chipps(1, 2), Rose(1), Correia(1, 2), Zimmerman(1)

Conversions: Miller (1/5), Chipps(1/1)

Player’s Player: Ashley Chipps

 

Forge Men D2 Win Big in South Buffalo

Flanker David Ashline jumping against South Buffalo Rugby on September 8th.

 

BUFFALO, NY – The Pittsburgh Forge Men’s D2 side traveled three hours north to take on South Buffalo Rugby after their women defeated South Buffalo’s women’s side just moments before. The game was Pittsburgh’s first of three trips to upstate New York this fall and aside from a key injury, the day couldn’t have gone any better.

Within a few moments of the opening kickoff, center Neil Reynolds (UPJ) was able to offload to young and talented winger Julyan Jenkins to open up the scoring with his second try in two Forge league contests. Andrew Knuttel (PITT) would add his first conversion of the day and the Forge would jump out to an early seven nil lead. Unfortunately shortly before the score, standout fullback Clark Hoopes (UMass Amherst) would go down with an apparent lower body injury and not be able to return.

After several minutes of sustained possession from South Buffalo, Neil Reynolds would break loose for his first try of the day, the conversion made by Knuttel. Once again after the restart, Buffalo would have some possession but the Forge defense would hold strong and Trevor Keough, on as the injury replacement for Hoopes, would run for his first try as a Forge member. Keough was fresh off a promotion to D2 after a strong performance at D3 against Greensburg on August 25th. This try would also be converted by Knuttel, his third of the day.

Just a few moments later, Neil Reynolds would pop through a hole and score his second of the day, the Forge jumping out to a twenty-eight point lead after the Knuttel conversion at the twenty-six minute mark. Finally before the half, lock Kyle Frankin (UIC) would touch down his first try as a Forge player. Knuttel would end his perfect kicking half, going five for five, and the Forge held a thirty-five to nil lead.

Winger Julyan Jenkins runs through the defense of South Buffalo rugby with Center Neil Reynolds in support.

 

After the restart, Neil Reynolds would once again find the try-zone and Knuttel would once again convert the try. With the forty-two point lead, Coach Stephen Walsh would bring on utility forward Tony Cardamone (SRU) onto the pitch to relieve number 8 Tim Bagatti (PITT). Shortly thereafter, scrumhalf Rous Kluever (PITT) would dot down his second try in as many games and once again Knuttel would convert the try at the fifty-three minute mark. Just four minutes later, outside center Patrick Dobbins (UPJ) would get in on the scoring action and touch down his first try as a Forge player.

Now up by fifty-four, prop Jeff Muha was brought into the game in relief for Derek Neubauer (SRU) and Billy Gordon (Villanova) would be brought on to spell hard running flyhalf Tyree Massie (Cal). These late game reserves would be instrumental in the Forge not letting off the proverbial gas. At the sixty-six minute mark, flanker David Ashline (PITT) would add his first try of the day followed a few minutes later by his second. Both would be converted by Knuttel. His flanking counter-part, Alex Gordon (SRU) would add his first try of the day, and third of the season at the seventy-two minute mark and finally, Billy Gordon would add a second try scored by a Forge reserve with a score at the seventy-six minute mark. Both tries were converted by Knuttel who would go eleven for twelve in conversions for the day.

Forwards Andrew Knuttel and Samuel Angelo look on as flanker Alex Gordon scores his third try of the young season against South Buffalo.

 

LINEUP INFORMATION

First XV: 1 – Derek Neubauer, 2 – Andrew Knuttel, 3 – Cody Fulton, 4 – Samuel Angelo, 5 – Kyle Franklin, 6 – Alex Gordon, 7 – David Ashline, 8 – Timothy Bagatti, 9 – Rous Kluever, 10 – Tyree Massie, 11 – Eric David, 12 – Neil Reynolds, 13 – Patrick Dobbins, 14 – Julyan Jenkins, 15 – Clark Hoopes

Reserves: 16 – Jeff Muha, 17 – Tony Cardamone, 18 – Billy Gordon, 19 – Trevor Keough

Substitutions: 5’ – Keough for Hoopes (IJ), 50’ – Cardamone for Bagatti (TC) 57’ – Muha for Neubauer (TC), Billy Gordon for Massie (TC)

Discipline: None.

Referees: Unknown.

 

SCORING INFORMATION

Tries: David Ashline (2, 3), Patrick Dobbins (1), Kyle Franklin (1), Alex Gordon (3), Billy Gordon (1), Julyan Jenkins (2), Trevor Keough (1), Rous Kluever (2), Neil Reynolds (1, 2, 3)

Conversions: Andrew Knuttel (11/12)

Man of the Match:  Andrew Knuttel (1)

 

Photo Credit: Hannah Chapman

Forge D3 Stumble Against Presque Isle

Pittsburgh Forge Men D3 set up a ruck and their offense against the Presque Isle Scallywags at Edinboro University Highland Games on Saturday, September 8th

 

EDINBORO, PA – The Pittsburgh Forge men’s D3 side traveled about two hours north to Edinboro, PA to take on the Presque Isle Scallywags in the first meeting for the organizations. The Forge was coming off a strong win against Greensburg two weeks prior while the Scallywags were opening their 2018 – 2019 season. The game was held as a feature event at Edinboro University’s Highland games.

After several minutes of back and forth rugby and a slight delay due to the injury of a Presque Isle lock, Forge center Stephan Patterson (PITT) was able to open up the day’s scoring, taking over from last game where he dotted down three tries. The score was converted by flyhalf Devin Zangaro (IUP) giving the Forge a seven nil lead at the twenty minute mark. The lead would be short lived, however, as Presque Isle was able to regain possession on the restart kick and drive down for a converted try of their own and tie the game at seven a piece.

Nearing the half, the Forge were unable to take advantage of a Scallywag in the sin bin at the thirty-two minute mark and even gave up a penalty kick of their own to go into the half down by three. Both sides made a number of tactical substitutions at the break before stepping back onto the field. Once again, the Scallywags would take advantage of a Forge penalty in their defensive zone and nail a penalty kick to extend the lead to six at the forty-two minute mark.

After more back and forth rugby for more than ten minutes, the Scallywags would be able to string some phases together and score their first try in thirty minutes. Center Jordan Heberle would add the conversion, giving himself thirteen points on the day, including the penalty kicks he nailed earlier.

Forge Center Stephan Patterson cuts through the Scallywag defense on his way to his second try of the day on Saturday, September 8th.

Down now by eleven, the Forge would put themselves in some peril when prop Jonathan Dutton (PITT) would earn a yellow card for a dangerous tackle at the fifty-six minute mark. The Forge played tough down a man, but with just one minute remaining on the card, Presque Isle would score a try, which was converted, to extend their lead to twenty with only fifteen minutes remaining.

Winger Nate Hoellman would find himself in the bin only three minutes after Dutton would return to the field, Hoellman also going in for a dangerous tackle. Even down a man, Stephan Patterson would find the try zone and Zangaro would add the conversion to chip away at the lead, but Heberle would answer with another penalty to bring the game to a close. The final score read Presque Isle 30 – Pittsburgh Forge 14.

 

LINEUP INFORMATION

First XV: 1 – Justin McCallister, 2 – Benjamin Carozza, 3 – Dan Andrus, 4- Roy Wotring (C), 5 – Jonathan Dutton, 6 – Nick Eritz, 7 – Percy Taylor, 8 – Bryce Markwardt, 9 – Nick Cardamone, 10 – Devin Zangaro, 11 – Nathan Hoellman, 12 – Stephan Patterson, 13 – Josh Robertson, 14 – Lawrence Wilson, 15 – Nutchapol Thepboon

Reserves: 16 – Kyle Porter, 17 – Paxton Thomas, 18 – Jackson Allen, 19 – Jurnee Wilson, 20 – Michael Franzone, 21 – Stephen Stasa

Substitutions: 40’ – Porter for Carozza (TC); 50’ – Allen for Andrus (TC); 65’ – Franzone for Eritz (TC); 72’ – Thomas for Taylor (IJ); 75’ – Stasa for Wilson

Discipline: Jonathan Dutton (Yellow), Nathan Hoellman (Yellow)

Referees: Daniel Houlihan (ARURS)

 

SCORING INFORMATION

Tries: Stephan Patterson (4, 5)

Conversions: Devin Zangaro (2/2)

Man of the Match: Stephan Patterson (2)

 

Photo Credit: Presque Isle Scallywags Rugby Club

Forge Women Debut with Strong Win

 

Pittsburgh Forge Women enjoy a a post-game picture after a commanding win over the Columbus Squirrels.

 

COLUMBUS, OH – The Forge Women traveled to Columbus, Ohio for their debut 15’s match.  Traveling with 16 able-bodied yet veteran players, the Forge was eager to test their mettle against what was once Scioto Valley, now Columbus Women.  The weather was typical of late August; overcast skies and a gusty autumnal wind created a great pre-season rugby atmosphere.  The ability to communicate amongst players would prove to be a challenge for both teams as a marching band’s drum and brass line practiced their half time performance just 20 meters from the pitch.

Having lost the toss, the Forge started the game with the kickoff; Columbus receiving the ball just after 11 AM.  Jessie Brewer (wing), made short work of their offense, snatching a ball intended for their back line, and taking it straight up the sideline for a try.  The conversion attempt, while centered, was unsuccessful. This would prove to be a trend for the first half of the Forge’s offensive game.

The Forge, now receiving the kick, was quick to set up their offensive structure. Scrum half, Chloe Wickstrom, orchestrated the forwards, reeling in the Columbus defense towards the middle of the pitch.  After just five minutes in to the first half, Wickstrom sent the ball right, past the forward pods and into the hands of the three-man back line.  The back line was able to draw in the remaining defense and sent the ball into the hands Jessie Brewer (wing).  Brewer raced down the five meter channel and scored her second try in the top right hand corner of the field.

Fielding the high and short placed Columbus kick, the Forge lost no time in charging down the field for their third try. At minute nine, Ashley Chipps (#8) took advantage of Columbus’s sagging defensive line, , darting forward with a pick and go off of a dying ruck.  Chipps charged downfield, defenders sucking in to drag her down.  Having slowed Chipps to a near crawl, it seemed a ruck was eminent; Chipps, however, twisted her body and gave a short pass to Chloe Correia (Wing), who then drew the last defenders out of the five meter channel, leaving Brewer to once again take advantage of that sideline to score her third and final try of the game.

Columbus, however, answered back with haste, using a standard pick and go off of an uncontested ruck to gain an impressive amount of ground.  Columbus’s #8 sprinted down the middle of the field, evading a few poor Forge tackle attempts for a 40 meter try.  Their conversion was made, and now, the score was 15-7, with 67 more minutes to go.

The pace of the game slowed as both teams began to test one another’s strength and endurance. Several harrowing scrums and somewhat dangerous rucks later, Chloe Correia blitzed the Columbus offense, intercepting a pass intended for their back line.  Hustling down field, Correia scored the Forge’s fourth try, about 15 meters off the uprights in the 28th minute of the game.

Near the end of the first half, Columbus took advantage of the Forge’s lack of post and pillar defense, scoring back to back tries.  Winded and with frustrations beginning to rise, it was at this point that the Forge’s communication seemed on a downhill slide.

After half time, spirits were improved and communication amongst players was back on the rise.  Having marched down the field, Wickstrom choreographed the forward pods and back line into an optimal position.  At the 58 minute mark, Hannah Zibert (Hooker) received a fabulous five meter pass from Wickstrom.  Zibert pushed forward, faked a pass to her outside, and then ran in 10 meters to score another try for the Pittsburgh Forge.  The score now, with a completed conversion by Maddie Miller (Fly Half), was 32-19, Forge.

Just four short minutes later, the Forge found itself yet again near Columbus’s try line.  Several Forge pack members cycled in and out, pulling in many Columbus defensive players in.  After several attempts of scoring amongst the pack players, Beth Rose (Prop) came out victorious, raising the score to 39-19, with again, Miller making the conversion kick.

In the last 10 minutes of the game, Columbus was able to send in one more try with a successful conversion.  However, it was Forge’s Carrie Dvorsak (#8) who had the last say in the final four minutes of the game.  Keeping power in the otherwise fatigued forwards, charging through two tacklers, twisting to keep their arms from making a successful wrap, Dvorsak centered the ball right between the uprights, setting up Miller to make one more successful conversion.

On September 8th, Forge Women will travel to Buffalo, NY for an A side and B side match.

LINEUP INFORMATION

First XV: 1 – Kristin Smock, 2 – Kirsten Andrews, 3 – Beth Rose, 4 – Chelsea Mitchell, 5 – Karina Sarver, 6 – Taylor Guzy, 7 – Carrie Dvorsak, 8 – Ashely Chipps, 9 – Chloe Wickstrom, 10 – Maddie Miller, 11 – Jessie Brewer, 12 – Gerri Russell, 13 – Hannah Zibert, 14 – Chloe Correia, 15 – Kate McGuire

Reserves: 16 – Maddie Neely

Substitutions: Not tracked.

Discipline:  None

Referee: Unknown (ORRS)

 

SCORING INFORMATION

Tries: Brewer (1, 2, 3), Correia (1), Zibert (1), Rose (1), Dvorsak (1)

Conversions: Miller (3/7)

Man of the Match: Chloe Wickstrom
Honorable Mention: Carrie Dvorsak

 

Forge Men Dominate in Week One

Pittsburgh Forge D3 defending against a Greensburg Mauler lineout during the first half of their 62 – 12 win on Saturday, August 25th.

 

PITTSBURGH, PA – The Forge Men welcomed the Greensburg Maulers and the Syracuse Chargers to Pittsburgh to open up the 2018 – 2019 Competitive Cycles. After a long spring, summer and preseason, the Forge were eager to earn their first regular season wins as an organization. D3 kicked off to Greensburg under sunny skies at 12:00 PM at Phillip Murray Field followed up the D2 kicking off to Syracuse at 2:00 PM under slightly more cloudy skies.

FORGE D3 v. GREENSBURG MAULERS

After winning the toss, the Forge elected to kick the ball to begin the game. After just a few minutes, the Forge was able to gain possession and spring center Stephan Patterson (PITT) free through the Greensburg defense. He put down a nasty stiff arm into the chest of the Mauler defender and powered his way into the try to open the scoring for the Forge. Flyhalf Al Cochran (PITT) would nail the conversion and the Forge were off to a great start.

After receiving the restart kick, the Forge was able to drive down the field once again and force a Greensburg penalty near the goal line. Scrumhalf Nick Cardamone (SRU) was able to take advantage and jot down his first try as a Forge player. Once again, Cochran was true and the lead was extended to 14. A few minutes later, Nick’s brother Tony Cardamone (SRU) was able to jot down his second try since coming back to Pittsburgh after playing several years in Orlando. The conversion was missed, but the Forge lead was up to 19 points.

Greensburg would answer back a few minutes later with a converted try, but Corey Jacobs would find space out wide and jot down his first try as a member of the Forge. Cochran would nail the conversion and then the Forge was attacking again off the restart kick. Powerful Forge forward Lance Reaghard would take a pass from Nick Cardamone on a penalty play and touch down his first career try. Finally, before the half, Patterson would find space again in the back line and touch down his second try of the contest. Cochran would make good on the conversion and the Forge took a 38 – 7 lead into the half.

With the solid lead, the Forge then focused on clearing their bench to get as many players as possible some playing time while resting some players for the Division 2 bench. Shortly after the restart, Tony Wilson (Woodland Hills) was able to break the defensive line with more tough running and set down his second try as a Forge player. Cochran would hit the conversion. Jonathan Dutton (PITT) would pick up a try after a nice carry from Tony Cardamone to extend the lead even further with a Cochran conversion. Patterson would add his third try of the day about 15 minutes into the second half which would extend the lead to 57 – 7.

Greensburg would add a try about half way through the second half, but missed the conversion. Captain Bill Marnell (Cal U) would break the defensive line and then offload to replacement flyhalf Devin Zangaro (IUP) who sat down his first try as a Forge player. Devin would miss the conversion and close out the scoring. The final read Pittsburgh Forge 62 – Greensburg Maulers 12.

Pittsburgh Forge Men discussing half time adjustments against the Greensburg Maulers.

 

After a bye next week for Labor Day, the Forge D3 men will travel to Edinboro, PA to take on the Presque Isle Scallywags in their home and season opener. Presque Isle is a relatively new club, created from the ashes of the former Erie Rugby Club. This may likely be the biggest test for the Forge D3 side during league play this season.

LINEUP INFORMATION

First XV: 1 – Jonathan Dutton, 2 – Brett Albrecht, 3 – Nick Eritz, 4 – Bill Marnell (C), 5 – Lance Reaghard, 6 – Elcanio Smith, 7 – Percy Taylor, 8 – Tony Cardamone, 9 – Nick Cardamone, 10 – Al Cochran, 11 – Nick Cooksey, 12 – Stephan Patterson, 13 – Trevor Keough, 14 – Corey Jacobs, 15 – Nutchapol Thepboon

Reserves: 16 – Joseph Bostrom, 17 – Ben Carozza, 18 – Kyle Porter, 19 – David Gregg, 20 – Devin Zangaro, 21 – Lawrence Wilson, 22 – Scott Powers, 23 – Dan Andrus

Substitutions: 25’ – Carozza for Albrect (IJ), 40’ – Andrus for Eritz (TC), Wilson for Keough (TC), 50’ – Bostrom for Dutton (TC), 60’ – Gregg for Reaghard (TC), Zangaro for Thepboon (TC), 65’ – Porter for Smith (TC), 70’ – Powers for Cooksey (TC)

Discipline:  None

Referee: Patrick Feitt (ARURS)

 

SCORING INFORMATION

Tries: N. Cardamone (1), T. Cardamone (2), Dutton (1), Jacobs (1), Patterson (1, 2, 3), Reaghard (1), Wilson (1), Zangaro (1)

Conversions: Cochran (6/9), Zangaro (0/1)

Man of the Match: Stephan Patterson (1)

 

FORGE D2 v. SYRACUSE CHARGERS

For the second match of the day, the Forge D2 side would host Syracuse. Both teams would use the first few minutes of the game feeling each other out before the Forge were awarded a penalty and kicked the ball into touch deep in the attacking zone. From the lineout, the Forge were able to retain possession and maul the ball into the try zone were veteran lock Sam Angelo (SRU/ IUP) was able to touch down his first try of the regular season after scoring last week against Wheeling Jesuit. A few minutes later, the Forge would be deep into Charger territory once again, but this time flanker Alex Gordon (SRU) would find some space and touch down his first league try for the Forge after scoring against Scioto Valley the first week of competition. Both conversions would be missed, but the Forge were quickly out to a 10 – 0 try after the first 15 minutes.

At the 18-minute mark, Clark Hoopes (UMass Amherst), who had a great weekend last week at Wheeling Jesuit, would touch down his first try of the season after dotting down two in the preseason test last week. This time, Andrew Knuttel (PITT) would nail the conversion before a scary moment in the scrum a few moments later would have him exit the game early. Knuttel’s substitution, collegiate teammate Jonathan Dutton (PITT) would come on and fill in admirably after playing fifty minutes in the D3 match earlier in the day. He would earn a card at the 35 minute mark for a dump tackle, but the card wouldn’t be too costly as the Forge held the Chargers back even down a man for ten minutes. Scrumhalf Rous Kluever (PITT) would add a try and a conversion for the Forge before half and extend the lead to 24 – 0 at the break.

After the half, David Ashline (PITT), playing flanker today, would set down his first league try for the Forge. Shortly thereafter, veteran forward Derek Neubauer (SRU) was able to take a nice feed from Kyle Franklin (UIC) to place a try down directly under the goalposts to ensure an easy Kluever conversion. Syracuse would score a converted try at the 51-minute mark, but by this point the lead was too much, 36 – 7 at this point. Alex Gordon would add his second try of the day for good measure followed by rookie wing Julyan Jenkins to close out the scoring with eleven minutes remaining.

All afternoon, the Chargers had no answer for the smothering Forge defense lead in the pack by Gordon and prop Jeff Muha and in the backline by centers Neil Reynolds (UPJ) and Patrick Dobbins (UPJ). Additionally quality performances would put on by winger Billy Gordon (Villanova), flyhalf Tyree Massie (Cal U) and prop Cody Fulton (Harrisburg); all played extremely well on both sides of the ball, but didn’t make the score sheet on this day. The score at the final whistle read Pittsburgh Forge 46 – Syracuse Chargers 7.

Pittsburgh Forge Men pause for a picture under the goal posts after defeating the Syracuse Chargers to open up league play on Saturday, August 25, 2018.

 

After the Labor Day bye weekend, the Forge D2 men will travel with the Forge ladies to South Buffalo on September 8. South Buffalo will be coming off a loss to Buffalo Rugby Club after going 0 – 8 the previous season. Last year, Pittsburgh Rugby Club defeated South Buffalo in Pittsburgh by a score of 55 – 34.

 

LINEUP INFORMATION

First XV: 1 – Cody Fulton, 2 – Andrew Knuttel, 3 – Jeff Muha, 4 –Sam Angelo, 5 – Derek Neubauer, 6 – David Ashline, 7 – Alex Gordon, 8 – Kyle Franklin, 9 – Rous Kluever (C), 10 – Tyree Massie, 11 – Julyan Jenkins, 12 – Neil Reynolds, 13 – Patrick Dobbins, 14 – Billy Gordon, 15 – Clark Hoopes

Reserves: 16 – Jonathan Dutton, 17 – Tim Bagatti, 18 – Percy Taylor, 19 – Devin Zangaro, 20 – Trevor Keough, 21 – Corey Jacobs

Substitutions: 25’ – Dutton for Knuttel (IJ), 50 – Bagatti for Muha (TC), 70 – Zangaro for Dobbins (TC), 71 – Keough for Hoopes (TC)

Discipline: Dutton (Yellow – 1)

Referee: Dan Houlihan (ARURS)

 

SCORING INFORMATION

Tries: Angelo (1), Ashline (1), A. Gordon (1, 2), Hoopes (1), Jenkins (1), Kluever (1), Neubauer (1)

Conversions: Knuttel (1/3), Kluever (2/5)

Man of the Match: Alex Gordon (1)

 

Photo Credits: Andrew Chapman

Forge Men Look Forward to First League Season

Fullback Billy Gordon carries the ball against Scioto Valley RFC during a preseason match in August 2018. Photo Credit: Florence Griffith.

 

PITTSBURGH, PA – The announcement of the merger of the Pittsburgh Rugby Club and the Pittsburgh Highlanders came four months ago, back in April, when both clubs were in the midst of their spring friendly seasons. Although the men’s clubs began supporting each other right away, they remained separate until Forge Day on May 19th when both sides played each other one last time before becoming one organization. During the summer, members from both clubs participated in the Forge’s summer 7 programs and really got their first taste of working with one another. The chemistry proved undoubtedly to be there as the Pittsburgh Forge’s Premier Men’s 7’s side was able to bring home the Cup Championship at this year’s Steel City 7’s Tournament, the most prestigious 7’s tournament in the region.

In late July, the club transitioned to fifteens and newly hired coaches, Stephen Walsh and Allan Murray, had their first opportunities to begin working with many of the Forge athletes. After only four trainings together, the Forge hosted Division 1 side Scioto Valley,  and then just one week later, traveled to Wheeling Jesuit University to take on a powerhouse D1A collegiate program. This preseason schedule, after only six training sessions together, would have been difficult for even the most experienced Division 1 side, but the Forge wanted to test their mettle right out of the gate. Although they didn’t come away with any wins during the rigorous preseason, that wasn’t the point, or the goal. From each game the coaches were able to take away several positives as well as areas of focus all while trying to shuffle through sixty plus players to develop competitive Division 2 and Division 3 squads. Up until this past Thursday evening’s training, leading up to the regular season opener, a number of positions were still up for grabs, and competition may continue to be wide open throughout the first few weeks of the season. Regardless of how the individual rosters shake out, the Forge are finally ready to put it all on the field starting this weekend.

Cup Championship Side; Back Row – Nick Cardamone, Clark Hoopes, Rousseau Kluever, Billy Gordon, Sam Angelo, Devin Zangaro, David Ashline; Front Row – Cory Hushon, Andrew Knuttel, Frank Cacciotti, Eric David, Yhong Thepboon

 

DIVISION 2 PREVIEW

The Forge will play a bit of a unique Division 2 schedule this fall. Since only two clubs make up the Midwest’s D2 Eastern Conference, both the Forge and the Cleveland Crusaders will play one another in a home at home series while playing six additional matches against Empire’s Upstate D2 Conference, a league that features two teams from Buffalo, a side from Syracuse and finally a side from Rochester, NY. To qualify as the Eastern seed in the Midwest Championship, the Forge must finish higher in the table standings than the Crusaders at the conclusion of league competition on October 27th.

To start the season, the Forge will host the Syracuse Chargers on August 25th. The Chargers went 3 – 5 in the Upstate Conference last season, but did not play Pittsburgh Rugby Club as part of last year’s crossovers. The Chargers were able to post convincing wins over South Buffalo and Rochester at home, but played a much closer game against South Buffalo in Buffalo and ultimately lost the match against the Aardvarks in Rochester. They also lost handily to the Fairfield Yankees, Buffalo Rugby Club twice, the Village Lions and Morris Rugby.

Coaches Stephen Walsh and Allan Murray address the team during the half to make adjustments against Scioto Valley RFC on Saturday, August 11, 2018.

 

After a bye week over the Labor Day weekend, the Forge men will hit the road for their first significant travel game for the 2018 season as they travel to South Buffalo. South Buffalo went 0 – 8 last season in the Upstate Conference including a 55 – 34 loss to Pittsburgh Rugby Club in Pittsburgh. Other games of note for South Buffalo included narrow homes losses to Syracuse and Rochester but big time blowout losses at the hands of Buffalo Rugby Club and the Cleveland Crusaders.

Week 3 of the fall season may be one of the biggest weekends in the young Forge history as the men travel to Cleveland to take on the Crusaders. Last season, the Crusaders narrowly fell to Pittsburgh 29 – 22 when they were the travel side. Two late tries from Pittsburgh’s Chris Austin sealed the deal for City. The Crusaders would get their revenge in Cleveland, however, when the Crusaders defeated Pittsburgh 47 – 17 on September 30th. The Crusaders would go 4 – 4 last season losing to Detroit twice and once at Indianapolis. They would post large wins over Rochester and South Buffalo while narrowly beating Indianapolis in Cleveland.

The Forge will continue on the road for the third consecutive week as they travel to Rochester, NY to take on the Aardvarks. Rochester went 3 – 5 last season and was another Empire club who did not play Pittsburgh in any crossovers. They did post solid wins over Syracuse and South Buffalo twice, but lost big against the Crusaders and Detroit Tradesmen, ironically enough, the Aardvarks did compete well against Buffalo Rugby Club; losing narrowly in Buffalo, 31 – 27, and remaining competitive at home, losing 40 – 20.

Forge Flyhalf Tyree Massie breaks through the Scioto Valley line during a preseason match in August 2018.

 

Week 5 will see the Forge back in Pittsburgh for arguably their toughest match of the season, against Buffalo Rugby Club. The Bison have gone 26 – 6 over the past four seasons including one undefeated season and two seasons with only one loss. The only anomaly was the 2016 – 2017 Competitive Cycle when the Bison went 4 – 4. Last season, the Bison hosted Pittsburgh Rugby Club on October 21st and beat them in a competitive match 44 – 26. On their way towards a 7 – 1 season, the Bison posted big wins over South Buffalo and Syracuse while dropping a match to Detroit 68 – 10. The Bison qualified for Empire playoffs, but lost narrowly in the first round to the Village Lions 31 – 29.

After the bye week on October 6th, when the Forge will host their annual Golf Outing, the men will spend two weekends at home hosting return matches against the Crusaders and Aardvarks, respectively. Depending on how the table looks at that point, the October 13 match against the Crusaders could prove pivotal for the Forge’s hopes for a berth into the Midwest Championship. In addition to being potentially a huge match, October 13th will also be Club Day when all of the Forge’s sides will be home.

To close out the season, the Forge will travel to Syracuse on October 27th. If the Forge is able to play well enough to earn a spot in the Midwest Championship, they will have two weeks to prepare for the November 17th game that’s likely to be held in Chicago against a quality opponent from the Midwest’s Western Conference.

DIVISION 3 PREVIEW

With the merging of two Division 3 clubs, the Midwest D3 Eastern League looks a little different this year. Last season, the league was split into North and South sub-leagues with the North featuring two sides from Cleveland, Presque Isle (Erie, PA) and Akron and the South featuring Pittsburgh Rugby D3, the Highlanders, South Pittsburgh and Greensburg. Since the merger, Canton Rugby Club was brought into the Division 3 mix creating an “Ohio” sub-league with the Cleveland sides and Akron. This brought Presque Isle back into Pennsylvania to play in an “Allegheny” sub-league with the Forge, South Pittsburgh and Greensburg.
Each club will play within their sub-league home and away. This will seed the teams and begin playoffs with the top two seeds from each sub-league playing for a berth in the Midwest playoffs and the bottom two seeds playing out some consolation matches. If the Forge is able to win the league, they will then play the winners of the other Eastern Conference Leagues in a two game weekend over November 10th and 11th. The winner of the weekend would play the Western Conference Champions at the Midwest Championships on November 17th.

Forge Center Patrick Dobbins playing against the Toledo Celtics as a member of the Pittsburgh Highlanders in April 2018.

 

On August 25th, the Forge D3 will open up their season again the Greensburg Rugby Club. The Maulers went 1 – 5 last season picking up their only win narrowly against Pittsburgh Rugby D3 by a score of 21 – 19. They lost two games against the Highlanders by an aggregate score of 108 – 14 as well as both games to South Pittsburgh, although those games were much more competitive. The other loss was against Pittsburgh D3 in Pittsburgh, a close match much like the game they won, this time, 38 – 34.

After the Labor Day bye weekend, the Forge will be on the road traveling to Erie, PA to take on the Presque Isle Scallywags. In 2017, the Scallywags finished 2 – 4 with home wins over Akron Rugby and the Cleveland Rovers. Although very competitive in all of their losses, the Scallywags were swept by the Crusaders and lost both away games in Akron and at the Rovers. Presque Isle has not played either the Highlanders or Pittsburgh since reforming in 2016.

Week 3 will see the Forge travel to crosstown rival South Pittsburgh. South Pittsburgh has been neck and neck with Pittsburgh Rugby D3 over the past four seasons, going 4 – 3 – 1 since 2014. Their luck has been much worse against the Highlanders, however, losing all matches to them since 2014 and being outscored 431 to 124 over those eight games. With that being said, South Pittsburgh did post an impressive 4 – 2 record last season, losing to the Highlanders twice, but beating both Pittsburgh D3 and Greensburg twice.

The Forge will then travel for the third straight weekend, this time to Mt. Pleasant, PA to take on the Greensburg Maulers for a second time before coming home for two straight matches. On September 29, they will host the Presque Isle Scallywags before the bye week on October 6. Following the Golf Outing bye weekend, the Forge will host their rivals from South Pittsburgh at Club Day on October 13 and wait for league seeding. Eastern League playoffs will be held on October 20th and October 27th with locations dependent on seeding. If the Forge is able to win the league, they will have a bye on November 3rd before the Eastern Conference Playoffs on November 10th and 11th.

Pittsburgh Forge Men’s 2018 – 2019 League Schedule: 

Forge Division 2 Forge Men Division 3
August 25 v. Syracuse Chargers v. Greensburg Maulers
September 1 BYE – Labor Day BYE – Labor Day
September 8 at South Buffalo Rugby at Presque Isle Scallywags
September 15 at Cleveland Crusaders at South Pittsburgh Hooligans
September 22 at Rochester Aardvarks at Greensburg Maulers
September 29 v. Buffalo Rugby Club v. Presque Isle Scallywags
October 6 BYE – Golf Outing BYE – Golf Outing
October 13* v. Cleveland Crusaders v. South Pittsburgh Hooligans
October 20 v. Rochester Aardvarks Eastern League Playoffs
October 27 at Syracuse Chargers Eastern League Championship
November 3 BYE – The Rugby Weekend BYE – The Rugby Weekend
November 10 BYE Eastern Conference Playoffs
November 17 Midwest Championship Midwest Championship

*Club Day

Forge Men Continue Preseason Work at WJU

WHEELING, WV – This past weekend, the Pittsburgh Forge Men traveled to Wheeling Jesuit University with two sides to take on the Division 1A program in two preseason tests. The games were scheduled for 4:00 PM and 6:00 PM and attracted a large crowd as it was Wheeling Jesuit’s freshmen move in day. The weather was hot and muggy under sunny skies for all of the Division 2 match and would that would eventually turn to rain towards the end of the Division 3 match.

FORGE DIVISION 2 v. WHEELING JESUIT (A)
From the kick off, Wheeling Jesuit was able to quickly gain possession and drive deep into the Forge defensive zone. After a few quick phases, a great hit from fullback Neil Reynolds (UPJ) was able to bring spark the Forge defense, a notion that would last throughout the day. After holding out the Cardinals for several minutes, they were eventually able to open the scoring and take a 7 – 0 lead after ten minutes.

The Forge would answer back quickly, however, challenging the Cardinals defense with several drives deep into their defensive zone. Eventually, center Clark Hoopes was able to break through the line and touch down a try. With the conversion by Andrew Knuttel (PITT), the Forge Men tied the game at the twenty minute mark. The rest of the half was marked with several missed scoring opportunities from both sides and stout defense. The Cardinals were able to dot down a converted try before the half and take a 14 – 7 lead into the break.

After the half, both sides began making adjustments to their lineups. The Cardinals were able to take advantage of two scoring opportunities throughout the second half and take a 28 – 7 lead. The Forge Men always seemed to be knocking at the door, but missed several scoring opportunities throughout the second half. Finally, with just a few minutes remaining in the game, Sam Angelo (SRU/ IUP) was able to power over the try line and place down his first try as a Forge player. With little time remaining, the Forge coaches opted to forego the conversion kick as they knew their club needed more tries.

After the restart, the Forge was able to grab possession again and spring flanker Tony Cardamone (SRU) for a try to close out the game. Although the Forge came up short, 28 – 17, the coaching staff was extremely pleased at the resolve the men showed; never giving up and ending the game on a very positive note.

This upcoming week, the Forge Men will be opening their league inaugural season at home with the Division 2 side hosting the Syracuse Chargers from the Empire GR’s Upstate Division. Last season, the Chargers were 3 – 5 which was good enough for second place in the league. Kickoff for the Division 2 match is scheduled for 2:00 PM EST.

LINEUP INFORMATION
First XV: 1 – Cody Fulton, 2 – Andrew Knuttel, 3 – Jeff Muha, 4 – Sam Angelo, 5 – Derek Neubauer, 6 – Tony Cardamone, 7 – Alex Gordon, 8 – Timothy Bagatti, 9 – Nick Cardamone, 10 – Tyree Massie, 11 – Eric David, 12 – David Ashline, 13 – Clark Hoopes, 14 – Patrick Dobbins, 15 – Neil Reynolds

Reserves: 16 – Frank Cacciotti, 17 – Judd Mac, 18 – Rousseau Kluever, 19 – Corey Jacobs

Substitutions: Not tracked

Discipline: None.

Referee: Ian Seaton (ARURS)

SCORING INFORMATION
Tries – Clark Hoopes (1), Samual Angelo (1), Tony Cardamone (1)

Conversions – Andrew Knuttel (1/1); two conversions were elected to not be taken.

Man of the Match – Undetermined

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

FORGE DIVISION 3 v. WHEELING JESUIT (B)
After a few minutes of back and forth rugby, the Forge were able to get on the board with a great run and try from powerful prop Frank Cacciotti (Geneva). The conversion was nailed by Rousseau Kluever (PITT) and the Forge D3 side enjoyed an early lead. After a few additional minutes of back and forth rugby and some great kicking from Kluever, the Forge men were granted a second consecutive lineout near the Cardinal goal line. After a lineout win and maul, lock Bill Marnell (Cal U) was able to pull the ball from the pack and touch down his first try as a member of the Forge. Kleuver again nailed the conversation and the Forge extended their lead to 14 – 0 with ten minutes remaining in the half.

Defensive miscommunication allowed the Cardinals to place down two quick tries and climb back into the game 14 – 12 at the half. The Forge would shake off the mistakes, get re-organized and start the second half with some fresh troops from the bench. After the restart, the Cardinals would take the lead and place down a converted try after several back and forth phases between the two clubs. The Forge defense was led by a young Forge club member, Brandon Fritzius from California University of Pennsylvania. Throughout the second half, Fritzius would lead by example with several punishing tackles and a nice hard run against a frustrated Cardinal defense. This would create momentum for the Forge and eventually led to Tony Wilson (Woodland Hills) making a nice effort to break tackles and place down his first try as a member of the Forge. After yet another conversion from Kluever, the Forge would have the lead, 21 – 19, once again.

The Cardinals would not quit, however. With a seemingly endless supply of players from the bench, the Cardinals would score a try to take the lead back even after a nice play by Brett Albrecht to prevent the score on the previous play. This try would go unconverted and give the Cardinals only a three point lead with time winding down, 24 – 21.

The Forge Men would not quit either, as Clark Hoopes would come in off the bench to make a brilliant play to earn the Forge back the lead. He would kick the ball past the Cardinal defensive line and then field his own kick for a great looking try, his second of the day, one in each game. Again, Kleuver was able to convert and the Forge would have a four point lead with just a few minutes to go. The Cardinals, desperate to get two wins in front of their home crowd, would close out the scoring with a converted try to take the lead and the game with nearly no time remaining. The final score read Wheeling Jesuit 31 – Forge D3 28 in what ended up being a wildly entertaining game.

This week, the Forge Division 3 side will host the Greensburg Maulers who were 1 – 5 in the Midwest Division 3 East – Southern league. Kickoff for the Division 3 match is scheduled for 12:00 PM EST.

LINEUP INFORMATION
First XV: 1 – Frank Cacciotti, 2 – Brett Albrecht , 3 – Judd Mac, 4 – Bill Marnell, 5 – Roy Wotring, 6 – Nick Eritz, 7 – Elcanio Smith, 8 – Charles Cross, 9 – Rousseau Kluever, 10 – Ron Nye, 11 – Corey Jacobs, 12 – Tony Wilson 13 – Julyan Jenkins 14 – Brandon Fritzius, 15 – Billy Gordon

Reserves: 16 – Dan Andrus, 17 – Duc Cau, 18 – Nick Hebert, 19 – Kyle Porter, 20 – Eric David, 21 – Clark Hoopes

Substitutions: Not tracked

Discipline: None

Referee: Mark Seaton (ARURS)

SCORING INFORMATION
Tries – Frank Cacciotti (1), Bill Marnell (1), Tony Wilson (1), Clark Hoopes (2)

Conversions – Rousseau Kluever (4/4)

Man of the Match – Undetermined