D2 Men Keep Playoff Hopes Alive at Home

Flanker Alex Gordon setting down his fourth try of the season against the Rochester Aardvarks on Saturday, October 20, 2018.

 

PITTSBURGH, PA – After a disappointing loss the week prior, the D2 men looked to keep themsleves in the Midwest playoff hunt by exacting some revenge on the Rochester Aardvarks at home. In their previous meeting on September 22nd, the Aardvarks squeaked past the Forge in Rochester by a score of 31 – 27.

On a sunny, but cool afternoon in southwestern Pennsylvania, the Forge kicked off to Rochester to begin the contest. After a few minutes, a Rochester winger was able to open the scoring with a try, a conversion and later a penalty kick to give the Aardvarks a quick 10 – 0 lead at the eleven-minute mark of the game. Just one minute later, Andrew Knuttel (PITT) would get the Forge on the board with a penalty kick of his own followed by a nice try by powerful lock Sam Angelo (SRU/IUP). That try would go unconverted by Knuttel, but bring the Forge back to within two points at the seventeen-minute mark.

At twenty-minutes, Alex Gordon (SRU) would have a nice carry and dot down his fourth try of the campaign followed by a Knuttel conversion. Gordon would continue to have a stellar game off the score sheet on his way earning his second Man of the Match distinction this season. Two injuries, first to forward Cody Fulton and then to fullback Billy Gordon (Villanova) would bookend a nice break away try by center Patrick Dobbins (UPJ) followed by a tough earned try from forward Tony Cardamone (SRU) to end the half. The Forge would take a 17-point lead into the break.

Center Patrick Dobbins on his way to scoring his first try of the day against the Aardvarks.

 

The second half would begin with the Forge conceding a penalty try to Rochester seeing front row player Frank Cacciotti (Geneva) being sent off with a yellow card. Playing a man down would not slow down the Forge, however, as scrumhalf and team captain Rous Kluever (PITT) was able to score his team leading eighth try of the season at the forty-seven minute mark. This was followed by Sam Angelo’s second try of the day at the fifty-minute mark.

Utility back Josh Robertson (SRU), on for the injured Billy Gordon, would add his second try of the season, the kicked converted by Knuttel, followed by Patrick Dobbins’ second try of the match, that kick also converted, but this time by Kluever. At sixty-minutes, the Forge held a commanding 55 – 22 lead over the Aardvarks.

Coach Stephen Walsh would bring on elusive forward Brandon Benvenuti in for Knuttel at sixty-minutes as well as high flying winger Eric David for Julyan Jenkins. Rochester would set down a try at sixty-two minutes before Benvenuti would dot down his second try of the season off a nice pick ‘n go near the goal-line. To close out the scoring for the Forge, flyhalf Tyree Massie (Cal U) would set down his second try of the season, converted by Kluever, before Rochester would get a bonus point, converted try just before the last whistle. Final score read Pittsburgh 67 – Rochester 36.

 

LINEUP INFORMATION

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

Reserves: 16 – Kyle Franklin, 17 – Josh Robertson, 18 – Jackson Allan, 19 – Brandon Benvenuti, 20 – Eric David

Substitutions: 22’ – Frankin for Fulton (IJ), 31’ – Robertson for B. Gordon (IJ), 60’ – Benvenuti for Knuttel (IJ), David for Jenkins (TC), 70’ – Jackson for Cacciotti (TC)

Discipline: Frank Cacciotti – Yellow

Referee: Dan Houlihan, ARURS

 

SCORING INFORMATION

Tries: Angelo (3, 4), Benvenuti (2), T. Cardamone (3), Dobbins (2, 3), A. Gordon (4), Kluever (8), Massie (2), Robertson (2)

Conversions: Kluever (2/3), Knuttel (5/7)

Man of the Match:  Alex Gordon (2), [co] David Ashline (1)

 

Photo Credits: Nicole Beswick

Men Split Results on Forge Day

Forge center Corey Jacobs runs the ball wide against South Pittsburgh on Forge Day; Saturday, October 13, 2018.

 

WHITE OAK, PA – The Pittsburgh Forge looked to celebrate their first season as an organization with all three sides competing at home on the same day. After the Akron Women forfeited their match against the Forge ladies, that left only the men to play on Saturday, October 13th. It was a cold and gloomy day with rain drops falling intermittently throughout the day.

FORGE D3 V. SOUTH PITTSBURGH

The day would begin with the D3 men taking on crosstown rival, South Pittsburgh in a game that would ultimately end up being meaningless in the standings. Win or lose, the Forge had the number 2 seed in the Allegheny Conference locked up once Greensburg had forfeited their match against Presque Isle earlier in the week. The Forge would use this game as a valuable warm up for the playoffs and an opportunity to flex their muscle against a rival.

The scoring would be opened up by Forge winger Yhong Thepboon after nearly 20 minutes of back and forth rugby. Yhong would make a nice move out in the fringes to touch down his second try of the season. The conversion was missed by Devin Zangaro (IUP), but the Forge were out to a 5 – 0 lead. A few moments later, at the 25-minute mark, scrappy scrumhalf Nick Cardamone (SRU) would find space for his fifth try of the season, this try also going unconverted.

Shortly before half, talented South Pittsburgh winger would dot down a try and make the conversion, but Forge lock Eric Kress would answer just two minutes later with his first try of the season. This one would be converted by Zangaro and the Forge would take a 17 – 7 lead into the half.

Forge center David Gregg attacks the heart of the Hooligan defense.

 

At the half, Coach Allan Murray would make just one change, bringing in hard running and tackling Lance Reaghard in for the rookie Paxton Thomas at Number 8. Within a few minutes, the South Pittsburgh flyhalf would dot down a converted try to bring South Pittsburgh within 3, but just five minutes later, Reaghard would add his third try of the season, powering through a number of South Pittsburgh defenders.

After a Hooligan yellow card in the 67th minutes, fullback Devin Zangaro would add to the lead with his fifth try of the season and nail the conversion kick to extend the Forge lead with just thirteen minutes remaining. South Pittsburgh would add a late try as time expired, but the Forge marched to a 29 – 19 victory to sweep the Hooligans on the season series.

LINEUP INFORMATION

First XV: 1 – Percy Taylor, 2 – Brett Albrecht, 3 – Dan Andrus, 4 – Roy Wotring, 5 – Eric Kress, 6 – Kyle Porter, 7 – Nick Eritz, 8 – Paxton Thomas, 9 – Nick Cardamone (C), 10 – Josh Robertson, 11 – Jurnee Wilson, 12 – David Gregg, 13 – Corey Jacobs, 14 – Yhong Thepboon, 15 – Devin Zangaro

Reserves: 16 – Ben Carozza, 17 – Taylor Schnepp, 18 – Charlie Cross, 19 – Lance Reaghard, 20 – Stephen Jochim, 21 – Mike Franzone, 22 – Stephen Stasa

Substitutions: 40’ – Reaghard for Thomas (TC), 55’ – Joachim for Robertson (TC), 58’ – Schnepp for Andrus (TC), 68’ – Cross for Eritz (TC), 70’ – Franzone for Gregg (IJ), Carozza for Albrecht, 74’ – Stasa for Schnepp (BL).

Discipline: None.

Referee: Bob Hensel, ARURS

SCORING INFORMATION

Tries: N. Cardamone (5), Reaghard (3), Thepboon (3), Zangaro (5)

Conversions: Zangaro (2/4)

Man of the Match: Yhong Thepboon (1)


FORGE D2 V. CLEVELAND CRUSADERS

Captain and Forge scrumhalf Rous Kluever looks for touch against the Cleveland Crusaders on Forge Day; Saturday, October 13, 2018.

 

The D2 men looked to build on the success of the D3 men and secure a spot in playoffs with a win over rival Cleveland Crusaders. A win would put the Forge in the driver’s seat for the Eastern Conference playoff seed, but a loss would mean they would need to battle for a wild card spot. After narrowly losing to Cleveland in Ohio a few weeks back, the Forge liked their chances to beat the Crusaders at home.

After a few minutes of phases back and forth, Cleveland was able to strike first to take a 5 – 0 lead at the five-minute mark of the game. The Forge would battle tough though and earn a penalty deep inside Crusader territory allowing scrumhalf Rous Kluever (PITT) to nail his second penalty kick of the season. Cleveland would answer back, however, adding a converted try just three minutes later to extend the lead to 12 – 3 at the sixteen-minute mark.

At twenty-three minutes, Trevor Keough, getting the start at flanker today, would add his second try of the season. After the conversion by Kluever, the Forge would cut into the Crusader lead, now only down by two. Powerful lock Sam Angelo (SRU/ IUP) would give the Forge their first lead at thirty-six minutes when he would dot down his second try of the season. However, the Crusaders would cut the lead down to two just before the half when the added a penalty kick in the thirty-ninth minute, the score at half; Forge 17 – Crusaders 15.

Center Stephan Patterson carries the ball against the Cleveland Crusaders.

 

Two tries by the Crusaders to open up the second half would put the Forge behind the eight-ball. Both were scored by their talented winger and after only one conversion kick, the Forge found themselves down 27 – 17 with about twenty-four minutes remaining. Coach Stephen Walsh wanted to get fresh troops off the deep bench and it appeared to work as the Forge were able to spring Kluever for a try at seventy-one minutes. Kluever would convert his own kick and the Forge was down only three with nine minutes remaining.

The Crusaders were able to put the nail in the Forge’s coffin at seventy-six minutes with a third try from their winger, but the Forge would not give up. Even after a yellow card to their eighth man Tony Cardamone (SRU) at seventy-seven minutes, the Forge would battle down to the Crusader goal and get a try from center Stephan Patterson (PITT). His collegiate teammate Kluever would nail the conversion, but the final whistle would blow and find the Forge down to the Crusaders by only one point, final score; Crusaders 32 – Forge 31.

LINEUP INFORMATION

First XV: 1 – Frank Cacciotti, 2 – Jeff Muha, 3 – Kyle Franklin, 4 – Sam Angelo, 5 – Cody Fulton, 6 – Trevor Keough, 7 – Alex Gordon, 8 – Tony Cardamone, 9 – Rous Kluever (C), 10 – Tyree Massie, 11 – Julyan Jenkins, 12 – Stephan Patterson, 13 – Patrick Dobbins, 14 – Tony Wilson, 15 – Billy Gordon

Reserves: 16 – Brandon Benvenuti, 17 – Eric David, 18 – Josh Robertson, 19 – Nick Eritz

Substitutions: 56’ – David for Jenkins (TC), Benvenuti for Muha (TC), 68’ – Eritz for Keough (IJ), 74’ – Robertson for Wilson (TC)

Discipline: Tony Cardamone – Yellow

Referee: Mark Seaton, ARURS

SCORING INFORMATION

Tries: Angelo (2), Keough (2), Kluever (7), Patterson (8)

Conversions: Kluever (4/4)

Penalty Kicks: Kluever (1/1)

Man of the Match: Trevor Keough (1)

 

Photo Credit: Kiyomi Knox

Forge Women Defend Undefeated Record with Win Over Buffalo

Forge Women lineup for team photo after their defeat of Buffalo

BUFFALO, NY – The Pittsburgh Forge traveled to Buffalo New York for their final in season away match against the well-established and competitive Buffalo Rugby.  The Forge was eager to provide the previously undefeated Buffalo Rugby with competition, stepping on the pitch with a desire to prove themselves to teammates and fans.

The game was fast paced, forcing each team to show their mental and physical strength as both clambered to stay ahead. Trys, conversions, and injury and tactical subs were abound in this battle; every five minutes of the game included at least one. The two teams traded tries for the first twenty minutes as Jessica Brewer, Carrie Dvorsak, Ashley Chipps(2) scored tries and two Maddie Miller conversions. The Forge scoring two unanswered as the teams went into the break leading 24-12.

Buffalo came back after the half with passion, scoring 3 back-to-back tries to steal the lead 31-24. The Forge, however, would not be out done.

“We let in three tries in eight minutes and had to fight back,” Coach Jason Edsall said of the 31-24 deficit after 55 minutes. “The team culture took over, and the captains, the sidelines – everyone picked each other up. That was a great chance to fall apart, but it was all a positive message.”

Within the next 10 minutes, Maddie Miller, Chloe Correia, and Olivia Lindsey were able to dig deep and answer back with each tries of their own. Following a Miller conversion, the Forge were, again, ahead 41-34. One final score at the last whistle would put Buffalo a conversion away from forcing a tie. The tying kick was missed wide, and game would end with the Forge victorious 41-39, maintaining their perfect record.

“Walking off the field, there was no Highlanders or Angels, just one team,” Edsall said. “They saw a change in themselves. We just took down a team that went undefeated in the league for multiple years in a row, and they knew what an accomplishment that was.”

Maddie Miller earned the most points for the team at 11 points for her successful conversions and her first ever 15s try.  Ashley Chipps followed closely behind with her two back-to-back tries. Jessie Brewer, Carrie Dvorsak, Chloe Correia, and Olivia Lindsey, along with aide from their teammates, pulled in the remaining tries to secure the win.

The Pittsburgh Forge enjoys a well deserved break in the upcoming week.  Their final game will be against Akron at home on October 13, and then the Midwest playoffs begin. The top-two teams from East Gold will face the top-two teams from East Green, and then the East victor will face the West champion.

Check out our write-up from The Rugby Breakdown!

LINEUP INFORMATION

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

Reserves: 16 –Mackenzie Dirlam, 17 –Holly Ramey,  18 – Kathryn McGuire,  19 – Gerri Russell,  20 – Megan Zimcosky,  21 – Jessica Brown,  22 – Alexa Brightman,  23 – Holly Kendall

Substitutions: 18′ – McGuire for Kolarik

DisciplineBuffalo Team (Y)

Referee: Unknown

SCORING INFORMATION

Tries: Brewer (1), Dvorsak (1), Chipps (5, 6), Miller (1), Correia(4), Lindsey(5)

Conversions: Miller (3/7)

Player’s Player: Olivia Lindsey

D2 Men Rebound Against League Best Buffalo

Man of the Match Tyree Massie carries the ball through the Buffalo defense on his way to setting up a score on Saturday, September 29th. Photo: Kim Beswick

 

PITTSBURGH, PA – After performing well enough to win all three games on the road, the Forge D2 Men ended their road trip with a disappointing 1 – 2 record, earning nine of an available fifteen league points over those three weeks. While happy to be at home, they would be hosting a very tough and talented Buffalo squad, a team who has been on the top of the Great Lakes table for the past three years. The Forge knew that securing a win at home against the Bison would be no easy task.

Things started well for the Forge, much like most of their games on the road, with a quick score from talented forward Tony Cardamone (SRU). Scrummy and captain Rous Kluever (PITT) would hit the conversion kick and the Forge were off to a quick 7 – 0 lead just two minutes into the game. After an infraction deep within their zone, Buffalo would concede a penalty kick to Kluever and the Forge at the eight minute mark and things were looking good for the Forge.

Then that streak of bad luck, which plagued the Forge during the three game road trip, seemed to creep into the match. At eleven minutes, a failed pass interception by fullback Billy Gordon (Villanova) gave the Buffalo wing another room to score on the outside and cut the lead to three after the conversion. Just ten minutes later, the Buffalo fullback would make the most of a Forge giveaway and give the Bison the lead after an unconverted try. Then, perhaps the most deflating, an intercepted pass between the back three of the Forge by the Buffalo winger allowed him to jog into the try-zone and give the Bison a commanding 19 – 10 lead near the end of the half. Three consecutive opponent scores, all gift wrapped to them by the Forge was deflating, but none so more than what would happen at the conclusion of the first half.

Forward Tony Cardamone opens up the scoring against Buffalo Rugby Club on Saturday, September 29th. Photo: Kim Beswick

 

With little time remaining in the first half, the Forge gained a little momentum back with nice carries from winger Julyan Jenkins, Kluever and Billy Gordon. The progress put them deep into Buffalo territory with an opportunity to cut the lead to four or even two with a conversion. The Forge had a majority of the Buffalo defense sucked into the breakdown and looked to get the ball out wide with a clear overload near the goal line. Front Row Jeff Muha passed the ball out the flyhalf and Club President, Neil Reynolds (UPJ) who made a great play to field to bouncing ball off the ground. Even though Neil had players outside of him, the clean-up play forced him to keep the ball himself and make dive for the try-zone. Unfortunately, the Buffalo defender attacked at Reynolds by sliding down with both knees rather than attempting to tackle him. The collision knocked Reynolds unconscious, severely cutting his ear and causing him to knock the ball into the try-zone.

No penalty or penalty try was award and play continued for a few minutes while Reynolds remained motionless on the field. After the play had stopped, Reynolds was treated on the field as the referee called for half as the crowd and his Forge teammates remained silent and stunned. After a few minutes of being treated by renowned team doctor, Dr. Sam Akhaven and the superb training staff at sponsor East Suburban Sports Medicine Center, Reynolds was able to come off the field under his own power before being taken to the hospital to be treated for his injuries.

At the break, Coach Walsh worked hard to regain the focus of his rattled squad, challenging them to will their way through the bad luck of the first half. Talented center and Reynolds’ long time teammate with UPJ and the Highlanders, Patrick Dobbins, was brought in to replace him and Tyree Massie (Cal U), playing outside center today, was moved back to flyhalf  to begin the second half.

At the whistle to begin the second half, the Forge were determined to win this game for themselves, their coach, their president and the fans that came out to support their club. It took Captain Rous Kluever just eight minutes to turn the tide of the game when he found a crack in the Buffalo defense and streaked toward the try-zone for his sixth try of the season. After the failed kick, the score was 19 – 15, but the Forge were on a roll.

After the restart, the Forge would attack again and push the Bison deep into their own zone. After a few set piece restarts, the Forge were able to get the ball out wide and spring winger Tony Wilson (Woodland Hills) for his first try at the D2 level, second on the season, and give the Forge their first lead since the twelve minute mark, 20 – 19.

The engage Forge sideline watches as Captain Rous Kluever attempts to block a clearing kick from the Buffalo fullback. Photo: Kim Beswick

 

After a yellow card for cynical play at sixty minutes, the Forge would keep pressure on by adding some fresh legs. Winger Eric David and forward Kyle Franklin (UIC) would come on for Jenkins and Frank Cacciotti (Geneva), respectively, and the Forge would battle deep into Buffalo territory once again. Tyree Massie would make a nice move and offload to put Stephan Patterson (PITT) through a hole and after the conversion, the Forge lead was up to eight. It was Patterson’s first try at the D2 level, but seventh on the season as he had been a standout at D3 all year.

Massie wouldn’t be done, however. Just a few minutes later, he would set up his second consecutive try in equally brilliant fashion, this time making space for Billy Gordon to blow the game open. After the Kluever conversion, the score now read:  34 – 19. Massie would then exit the game after playing magnificently in the second half for Trevor Keough. The performance earned him the Man of the Match node from his teammates. In addition to Massie coming off, Cody Fulton (Harrisburg) would also get a spell for Andrew Knuttel (PITT) off the bench.

The Bison would add one more try in the seventy-first  to draw the game a little close, but the match was never in doubt during the second half. Knuttel would miss a penalty kick to end the game; the score at the final whistle Forge 34 – Buffalo 24 at full time.

 

LINEUP INFORMATION

First XV: 1 – Derek Neubauer, 2 – Jeff Muha, 3 – Frank Cacciotti, 4 – Cody Fulton, 5 – Sam Angelo, 6 – Tony Cardamone, 7 – Alex Gordon, 8 – David Ashline, 9 – Rous Kluever (C), 10 – Neil Reynolds, 11 – Tony Wilson, 12 – Stephan Patterson, 13 – Tyree Massie, 14 – Julyan Jenkins, 15 – Billy Gordon

Reserves: 16 – Kyle Franklin, 17 – Andrew Knuttel, 18 – Mike Boyd, 19 – Tim Bagatti, 20 – Eric David, 21 – Patrick Dobbins, 22 – Trevor Keough, 23 – Jurnee Wilson

Substitutions: 39’ – Dobbins for Reynolds (BL), 59’ – David for Jenkins (TC), Franklin for Cacciotti (IJ), 66’ – Keough for Massie (TC), Knuttel for Fulton, 75’ – Bagatti for Muha (TC)

Discipline: None

Referee: Alex Gralia, ARURS

 

SCORING INFORMATION

Tries: T. Cardamone (2), B. Gordon (4), Kluever (6), Patterson (7), Wilson (2)

Conversions: Kluever (3/5)

Penalty Kicks: Kluever (1/1), Knuttel (0/1)

Man of the Match:  Tyree Massie (1)

D3 Exact Revenge on Presque Isle

Number Eight, Mike Boyd, carries the ball against Presque Isle on Saturday, September 29. Photo Credit: Florence Griffith

 

PITTSBURGH, PA – After spending nearly a month straight on the road, the Forge men were thrilled to be back home and to get a crack at exacting some revenge for their only loss of the season, a 30 – 14 loss against the Scallywags in Edinboro, PA on September 8th.

The Forge started quickly with flyhalf Al Cochran (PITT) feeding center Josh Robertson (SRU) with a nice ball through a hole and into the try-zone at the six minute mark of the game. Cochran was able to add the conversion and things were looking bright for the Forge. The Scallywag defense would tighten up however and prevent this game from being a shoot-out.

At twenty four minutes, the Forge would be threatening again deep inside the Scallywag defensive zone, but Presque Isle was able to pounce on a quick turnover quickly carry the ball down field for an unconverted try from their outside center. Then, just four minutes later, Forge lock Roy Wotring would go to the sin-bin for a high tackle and the Forge were on their heels a bit down a man and facing some Scallywag momentum. The Forge would play stout defense with only fourteen men and even get a brilliant score from scrumhalf Nick Cardamone (SRU) who was able to slice through the Presque Isle defense on his way to a long try that would put the Forge up by nine after the Cochran kick at the thirty-two minute mark.

Fullback Yhong Thepboon carries the ball down the sideline as the Forge crowd looks on against the Presque Isle Scallywags. Photo: Florence Griffith

 

Wotring would get back into the game with no damage inflicted, but a bad luck play again deep in Scallywag territory, the kind of play the Presque Isle loves, would shift momentum again and give the Scallywags life as similarly to their first try, the outside center would scoop up a turnover ball and carry it eighty-meters to the try zone once again to bring the score at half 14 – 12 Forge.

Coach Allan Murray would make a number of half time adjustments including bringing in talented center Corey Jacobs, utility player Bryce Markwardt (SRU) and tough prop Justin McCallister (SRU). It took only seven minutes for those adjustments to pay dividends as Jacobs was able to power his way to his seventh try of the season and give the Forge a 21 – 12 lead after the Cochran kick.

For the next twenty-five minutes, Presque Isle would threaten but the Forge defensive effort was strong lead by eighth man Mike Boyd (Cal) and then his replacement David Gregg (IUP); flankers Nick Eritz (Cal) and Jackson Allen; the fantastic boot of Cochran; and the superb three quarters play of winger Jurnee Wilson (Cal).

The tough Forge defense stands against Presque Isle led by David Gregg making the tackle. Photo: Cody Fulton

 

Finally, at the seventy-minute mark, Presque Isle would finally break through and touch down a try, but it would be too little too late. At the final whistle, the Forge defeated their foes from the north, 21 – 17.

 

LINEUP INFORMATION

First XV: 1 – Percy Taylor, 2 – Brett Albrecht, 3 – Dan Andrus, 4 – Roy Wotring, 5 – Charles Cross, 6 – Nick Eritz, 7 – Jackson Allen, 8 – Mike Boyd, 9 – Nick Cardamone (C), 10 – Al Cochran, 11 – Jurnee Wilson, 12 – Josh Robertson, 13 – Mike Franzone, 14 – Stephen Jochim, 15 – Yhong Thepboon

Reserves: 16 – Bryce Markwardt, 17 – Justin McCallister, 18 – David Gregg, 19 – Eric Kress, 20 – Stephen Stasa, 21 – Corey Jacobs, 22 – Paxton Thomas, 23 – Ben Carozza

Substitutions: 41’ – Jacobs for Franzone (TC), Markwardt for Jochim (TC), McCallister for Andrus (TC), 57’ – Gregg for Boyd (TC), Kress for Wotring (TC)

Discipline: Wotring, Yellow (1) – High Tackle

Referee: Mark Seaton, ARURS

 

SCORING INFORMATION

Tries: Cardamone (4), Jacobs (7), Robertson (1)

Conversions: Cochran (3/3)

Man of the Match:  Jurnee Wilson (1)

D3 Men Continue to Roll Against Greensburg

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

 

MT. PLEASANT, PA – After a big time win the previous week against South Pittsburgh, the Forge Men’s D3 side looked to continue to build momentum as they move closer to Midwest Playoffs. This weekend they would be traveling to Greensburg for a return match after Greensburg traveled to Pittsburgh to open the 2018 league season. The Forge D3 side won the first match by a score of 62 – 12.

Prop Dan Andrus would get the scoring started at the eight minute mark with Al Cochran (PITT) hitting the conversion. A few minutes later, the Forge were able to swing the ball to winger Yhong Thepboon for his first try as a member of the Forge to put the club up 12 – 0. At the fifteen minute mark, Greensburg was able to add a converted try, but just two minutes Roy Wotring would add his first try of the season before the scoring would slow down a bit.

The defenses tightened up on the narrow field for the next twenty minutes or so before Corey Jacobs would add his fifth try of the season at the thirty-five minute mark followed by last week’s man of the match, Nick Eritz (Cal U) with his second try in two weeks at the thirty-nine minute mark. The Forge would take a commanding 29 – 7 lead at the half.

The Forge would continue to pour on the scoring in the second half. Stephan Patterson (PITT) was able to touch down his sixth try of the season at the forty-five minute mark and the conversion was nailed by Cochran. With the lead comfortable, Coach Allan Murray would once again be able to bring in quality reserves from his bench. First would be forward Mike Boyd (Cal U) for Wothring followed by crafty scrumhalf Nick Cardamone (SRU) for Stephen Jochim (Juniata) and Kyle Porter for Andrus.

Hooker Brett Albrecht would add his first try of the season at fifty-one minutes, conversion by Cochran, followed by Mike Boyd at the fifty-seven minute mark. Patterson would come off to get some running for rookie Mike Franzone, but the Forge would not slow the pace. Nick Cardamone would break free for his second try of the season before Greensburg would add another try shortly thereafter to bring the score to 58 – 12 with about twenty minutes remaining in the game.

Center Corey Jacobs would set down his third try of the day at sixty-five minutes and Coach Murray would bring on his final two reserves to close out the day. To close out the day, Cardamone would add his second, fullback Devin Zangaro (IUP) would add two tries late followed by winger Jurnee Wilson (Cal U) as time expired. After the final conversion by Cochran and the final whistle, the score read Forge 91 – Greensburg 12.

LINEUP INFORMATION

First XV: 1 – Justin McCallister (C), 2 – Brett Albrecht, 3- Dan Andrus, 4 – Roy Wotring, 5 – Lance Reaghard, 6 – Nick Eritz, 7 – Percy Taylor, 8 – Charlie Cross, 9 – Stephen Jochim, 10 – Al Cochran, 11 – Yhong Thepboon, 12 – Stephan Patterson, 13 – Corey Jacobs, 14 – Jurnee Wilson, 15 – Devin Zangaro

Reserves: 16 – Kyle Porter, 17 – Ben Carozza, 18 – Nick Hebert, 19 – Mike Boyd, 20 – Nick Cardamone, 21 – Stephen Stasa, 22 – Mike Franzone

Substitutions: 45’ – Boyd for Rotwing (TC), 50’ – Cardamone for Jochim (TC), Porter for Andrus (TC), 57’ – Carozza for Albrecht (TC), 65’ – Stasa for Thepboon, 67’ – Hebert for Ertiz

Discipline: None

Referee: Alex Gralia, ARURS

SCORING INFORMATION

Tries: Albrecht (1), Andrus (1), Boyd (1), Cardamone (2, 3), Eritz (2), Jacobs (4, 5, 6), Patterson (6), Thepboon (1), Wilson (1), Wotring (1), Zangaro (3, 4)

Conversions: Cochran (7/14), Zangaro (1/1)

Man of the Match: Lance Reaghard (1)

D2 Men Drop Close Match Again

Outside Center Patrick Dobbins makes a tackle against the Rochester backline.

 

ROCHESTER, NY – After a close and disappointing loss last week in Cleveland, the Forge Men looked to rebound against the Rochester Aardvarks in the fourth week of league competition. This week’s match would be their third consecutive on the road and the Forge hoped to take a 2 – 1 road record back to Pittsburgh before a nice four week home stand, including a much needed bye week on October 6th.

From the gate, the Forge was able to take command of the ball and drive down to score just three minutes into the game. Captain Rous Kluever (PITT) was able to set down his fourth try of the season, but missed the subsequent conversion. The Forge would immediately threaten two additional times, but each attack was thwarted by penalties near the Aardvark goal line would cost the Forge possession and chances to extend the lead. At the seventeen minute mark, Rochester was able to touch down a try that would tie the game, missing the conversion to match the Forge.

The Forge would take the lead back, just seven minutes later when veteran loose forward Tim Bagatti (PITT) would set down a try, but once again the conversion would be missed by Kluever. Just four minutes later, the Forge would threaten again, but Rochester would find possession on a Forge miscue answer back with a try with a long try. After the conversion, the Aardvarks would take a two point lead, 12 – 10.

Winger Tony Wilson carries the ball against the Rochester Aardvarks on Saturday, September 22, 2018.

 

The rest of the first half would be spent playing back and forth rugby before flyhalf Tyree Massie (Cal U) would break two tackles and find the try-zone for his first score as a member of the Forge at the thirty-nine minute mark. This try would also go unconverted and Forge would take a narrow 15 – 12 lead into the half.

The second half would begin with more back and forth rugby with solid defense being displayed by both sides. At the fifty-minute mark, Rous Kluever would break through for his second try of the day, this time nailing the conversion to give the Forge a ten point lead, 22 – 12. The comfortable lead would be short-lived; as Rochester would again answer just a few minutes later with a converted try of their own to bring the score closer once again.

Five minutes later, the Aardvarks would get their second lead of the game when their inside center would dot down a try and the conversion would be nailed by the Aardvark winger. This was their largest lead of the day, 26 – 22 with a little under twenty minutes left to play prompting Coach Stephen Walsh to make some lineup adjustments to get on some fresh legs. Reserve back Josh Robertson (SRU) would come on for Patrick Dobbins (UPJ) and Trevor Keough would come on for Tyree Massie.

Flyhalf Tyree Massie kicks the ball against Rochester on Saturday, September 22, 2018.

 

The spark seemed to work for the Forge as they were able to drive down and get three quarters Billy Gordon (Villanova) into the try zone to regain the lead, but with the missed conversion, the lead was only one. Rochester would score again to take the lead just a few minutes later, 31 – 27, with just under ten minutes left to play. Like the other losses that the Forge had this season, the club would regain possession and threaten once again for the game winning try, but ultimately, after a knock-on inside the Rochester twenty-two, time would expire and the Forge would suffer the second heartbreaking loss in as many weeks.

LINEUP INFORMATION

First XV: 1 – Derek Neubauer, 2 – Tony Cardamone, 3 – Kyle Franklin, 4 – Jeff Muha, 5 – Sam Angelo, 6 – Tim Bagatti, 7 – Alex Gordon, 8 – Brandon Benvenuti, 9 – Rous Kluever (C), 10 – Tyree Massie, 11 – Billy Gordon, 12 – Neil Reynolds, 13 – Patrick Dobbins, 14 – Tony Wilson, 15 – Julyan Jenkins

Reserves: 16 – Frank Cacciotti, 17 – Josh Robertson, 18 – Eric David, 19 – Trevor Keough.

Substitutions: 54’ – Cacciotti for Benvenuti (IJ), 56’ – David for Jenkins (TC), 61’ – Robertson for Dobbins (TC), Keough for Massie (TC).

Discipline: None

Referee: Unknown

 

SCORING INFORMATION

Tries: Bagatti (1), Gordon (3), Kluever (4, 5), Massie (1)

Conversions: Kluever (1/5)

Man of the Match: Rous Kluever (1)

 

Photo(s) Credit: KRed Photography

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