By Justin Sweitzer
KU men’s rugby faced West Virginia University on Saturday, September 24 in their first game of Division I competition this season, dominating the Mountaineers en route to a 95-8 victory.
The Golden Bears went into the game ranked ninth in the country and found themselves without prominent players of previous years, including Wes Hartmann, Alex Faison-Donahoe and Trent Hensley. Key losses
on the Golden Bears’ roster didn’t stop the team from taking it to West Virginia, as KU put pressure on the Mountaineers from the very beginning.
KU gave West Virginia little chance to score in the first half, scoring 44 unanswered points to begin the game.
West Virginia was able to muster up a try before the first half ended, which would also end up being their only try of the match.
A multitude of Golden Bears contributed to the scoreboard, including John Sage scoring tries on multiple occasions. Murphy Lill and a host of others also helped run up the score on a struggling Mountaineer team.
Sage, Lill and Vetekina Malafu made their presence known on the pitch, as their experience and leadership were on full display against the Mountaineers.
By the end of the game, the question among the crowd was not whether KU would emerge victorious, but whether the Golden Bears would break triple digits on the scoreboard.
The loss to KU marked the second straight loss for the Mountaineers; they were shut out by Penn State University on September 9 by a score of 76-0.
KU2, the second Golden Bear squad to face West Virginia, also made easy work of the Mountaineers’ second team, shutting them out by a score of 55-0.
Following the first two games against WVU, KU’s third rugby squad welcomed Indiana University of Pennsylvania to the pitch, but suffered a less than desirable outcome. The Crimson Hawks outfought the Golden Bears, defeating them by a score of 42-17.