(State College, PA) Center Sam LaPaille delivered a hat trick to lift #8 Penn State over #9 Kutztown 44-37 at home, as the Nittany Lions extended their undefeated streak in the D1-A East.
Wing Andrew Stinson slotted two early penalties, establishing a 6-5 beachhead for the visitors halfway through the first. But Kutztown flanker Casper Huizenga was sinbinned, and the Nittany Lions wasted no time in exploiting his absence - backrow Kevin Kimble and center Conor Mariani added a try each to bring the score to 17-5. The Golden Bears responded with scores from hooker Jamie Gregory and center Robert Stortz, reclaiming a slight 18-17 lead at halftime.
LaPaille broke open the second half with his second try for PSU, converted by fullback Joseph Baker. Gregory, the Kutztown captain, led from the front with a second try of his own, bringing the score to 24-23 - as small as Penn State's lead would ever be. The Nittany Lions made effective use of their backline and precise kicking from Stinson, piling on twenty points in twenty minutes. Kutztown's forward pack closed the gap in the final moments, with tries from lock Mike Lawrenson and the sinbinned Huizenga, but PSU's one-try margin was enough for a 44-37 win.
The Nittany Lions (4-0 East) continue their D1-A campaign against #5 Army April 21st in College Station, PA. Both teams have already secured playoff seeds, having gone unbeaten to this point - they will battle for first place in Rugby East. Kutztown (3-2 East) is now out of playoff contention and will wrap up their season against Rutgers (1-4 East) at home.
Penn State Nittany Lions
Tries: Sam LaPaille (3), Kevin Kimble, Conor Mariani, Ben Janssen
Conversions: Joseph Baker (4)
Penalty goals: Joseph Baker (2)
Joseph Baker; Ben Janssen, Conor Mariani, Sam LaPaille, Dominic DeFalco (David van Hoof); Blaze Feury, Christopher Saint; Matthew Spellman (Gabe Free), Chris Karas, Jonathan Hellman, Ryan Goulding (Brian Mellody), Daniel Metcalf, Sean Herbert (Michael Fredin), Kevin Kimble (Cameron McFeely), Michael Erickson.
Kutztown Golden Bears
Tries: Jamie Gregory (2), Robert Stortz, Mike Lawrenson, Casper Huizenga
Conversions: Andrew Stinson (3)
Penalty goals: Andrew Stinson (2)
Yellow card: Casper Huizenga
Gareth Lourens; Devon Somma (Justin Duncan), Robert Stortz, Bruce Dolan, Andrew Stinson; Tom Domino, Dan Callahan; Zack Jessell, Jamie Gregory ©, Joe Brady (Rob Anderson), Greg Conover, Mike Lawrenson, Casper Huizenga, Matthew Frederick, Michael Cress.