Wheeling, W. Va. – The Wheeling University Rugby team (2-4, 1-2) hosted their annual “Ruck Cancer” game as part of Homecoming & Family Weekend on Friday Night. It was a close game on the pitch, but the Cardinals were unable to overtake the Falcons falling 15-8. The defenses dominated throughout the night as neither offense was able to effectively move the ball up the pitch.
After neither team could push it across the try line over the first seven minutes, Wheeling would get the first opportunity off a Penalty Kick. Ayoub Jalli would go for the kick, but it ended up flying wife right of the goalpost and the game remained tied at 0-0. The first points would come 14 minutes later when Notre Dame drove down to the Wheeling side of the pitch. They got to the one-yard line and were able to get across the try line and make it a 5-0 game. The ensuing conversion kicks made it 7-0 and Wheeling was looking to respond. They would get that response two minutes later as Ayoub Jalli would attempt another conversion kicks. He line the tee up from about 49.5 yards out and kicked it through to bring the score to 7-3. The two teams went into halftime with that same score as Wheeling looked to battle back.
However, the Falcons were right back at it in the second half, scoring their first try just 1:06 into the half. The Cardinals had another three points try a few minutes later, but once again the kick hit off the upright and the score remained 12-3. The back and forth continued for the next ten minutes before Wheeling broke through for their first try. After Josh Blankenship was tackled at the five-yard line, Ayoub Jalli flipped the ball to Aaron Juma on the 10. Juma did the rest weaving through defenders to score gis first try of the year and make it a 12-8 game. The conversion kick would then fail and Notre Dame College for the ball back. One more Falcon penalty kick in the final minutes if the game accounted for the final three points of the night and brought the game to its 15-8 final score.
Aaron Juma scored the lone try for the Cardinals on the day, marking his first collegiate try. Ayoub Jalli missed his lone conversion kick and went 1-3 in Penalty Kicks throughout the night. While the Cardinals were unable to pick up the win, the defense led by Bailey Brunner, Josh Blankenshipand Larry Olddid a nice job of shutting down several NDC rucks throughout the night.
The Wheeling University Rugby team returns to action on Saturday, October 11th, when they take on Iowa Central Community College in a neutral site Big Rivers Rugby Conference (BRRC) match.