The Owls, previously undefeated, lost to the West Chester Rams, 12-10, in the playoff finals.
The Temple men’s rugby team (6-1) experienced its first loss of the season Saturday to the West Chester Golden Rams (5-1) in the Eastern Pennsylvania Rugby Union Finals. The 12-10 loss broke the Owls’ undefeated streak and dropped them to second in the Eastern Pennsylvania Division II rankings.
“It was a disappointing loss, but we have to hold our heads up high for the spring playoffs,” coach John Sciotto said. “We’re in the process of rebuilding the team [after this loss], and it’s a step in the right direction. We’re trying to become one of the rugby powerhouses.”
The Owls put up a fight but were no match for West Chester. The Golden Rams got four penalty kicks in the first half and scored on three of them. The first penalty kick, given in the first eight minutes, ended in a missed kick. The Rams scored on the second one after 19 minutes of play to take a 3-0 lead. West Chester’s lead lit a fire under the Owls, though, and pushed them to score their first try by junior prop David Deming for a 5-3 Temple lead. That didn’t last long though, as in the last few minutes of the first half, West Chester scored their third penalty kick to place them, once again, in the lead, 6-5.
West Chester scored two more penalty kicks in the first 20 minutes of the second half to increase the Rams’ lead to 12-5. The Rams’ defense also seemed determined not to let Temple score, as the unit kept the Owls at the end zone for 15 minutes by constantly knocking the ball out of bounds. Senior fullback Tom Folkes scored the last try, but the Owls could not get on the scoreboard again and lost.
The Owls had a good season this year regardless of the playoff outcome. Temple recorded its first undefeated season with six wins and no losses until this game. The Owls also defeated Millersville, 46-20, in last Saturday’s Eastern Pennsylvania Rugby Union Division II semifinals. West Chester’s only loss came to that Millersville team Temple beat. The Rams beat Saint Joseph’s, 21-10, last Saturday in the other semifinal to advance to Saturday’s playoff game against the Owls.
With the victory, West Chester overtakes Temple as the No. 1 team in the Division II series. The Owls drop to second place. Although this loss knocks Temple from the top spot, the Owls can still go onto the spring playoffs, as the top three teams advance.
“West Chester played well,” senior team captain and outside center Gareth Jones said. “We just couldn’t capitalize on good field positions. We played sloppy and made a lot of mistakes. We tip our hats off to West Chester. They played well.”
Nadia Elkaddi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.