The Buffalo State men’s club rugby team defeated Niagara University, 24-0, on the road Saturday to remain a perfect 6-0 on the season.
It was the first time that Buffalo State had beaten Niagara in the regular season since 2009.
“It felt great to break that streak with a shutout,” senior captain Jeremy Galante said. “It was still a very hard fought game.”
Aggressive offense, quick passing and stout defense has been the game plan for Buffalo State throughout the season, and it continued to pay dividends on Saturday.
“We played with high intensity and did a good job taking advantage of their weaknesses,” Galante said. “We also continued to play strong defensively.”
“We were really good at keeping the ball in their side of the field,” senior captain Christian Feickert said. “That way, even if we had a penalty, they couldn’t score on us.”
Feickert said he believes strong defense was key in the shutout.
“Defensively, we landed some big hits to get them on their heels,” Feickert said. “Someone would always make the big defensive play when it needed to be made.”
It was the team’s second shutout of the season, the first coming in the home opener against Hobart.
“Defensively, we did a great job at preventing them from generating momentum with well-spaced, aggressive defense,” Galante said.
The overall play was not entirely clean, and both teams committed numerous fouls.
“The game was very tense and there were a lot of penalties on both sides,” senior Sam Morrealle said. “But that’s a problem we want to minimize.”
“It was a fun game to play in although it did get out of hand at times,” Feickert said. “There were a couple minor fights and a lot of yellow cards were thrown.”
A total team effort enabled Buffalo State to beat Niagara. Many different players came up big.
Fran McCann scored two tries, Edem Wade played well defensively and made several big hits, Rob Vinal played stout defense and made most of his tackles behind the gain line, and Clayton Hoyt played a strong game at the lock position.
The team plans to rest some of its starters in the coming weeks as it prepares for the playoffs.
“We plan on playing a lot of our B-team in this game to give our A-team some rest,” Feickert said.
The team will have a chance to close out a perfect season with a win at Hobart this Saturday, a team it beat, 59-0, in the home opener.
“I expect this game to be a little bit more difficult than last time,” Feickert said. “Traveling and playing on a team’s home field always changes things.”