RIO GRANDE, Ohio — For the University of Rio Grande’s brand-new men’s rugby program, their debut effort couldn’t have gone much better.
The RedStorm scored a successful try just 1:17 into the match and never looked back, cruising to a 91-0 rout of Baldwin-Wallace University, Saturday afternoon, before just over 400 fans at Rio’s Red Valley Pitch.
Rio Grande improved to 1-0 overall and 1-0 in the Small College division of the Allegheny Rugby Union with the victory.
The Yellow Jackets slipped to 0-2 overall and 0-2 in the ARU with the loss.
“My hat’s off to Baldwin-Wallace for coming down to Red Valley for our program’s inaugural match,” said Rio Grande head coach Corey Momsen. “My athletes did an amazing job with the short time we had together to put everything together on Saturday for a team victory. I want to thank all the supporters we had for working to fill the hill. Hopefully, we’ll see them all at our next home match.”
Freshman Ben Kelly (Basinstoke, England) got the scoring underway with one of his three successful tries a little more than a minute in and the rout was on.
The RedStorm opened up a 39-0 advantage by the intermission and continued to play add-on in the second stanza, scoring 33 points in the final 15:40 to set the final score.
Freshman fly half Che Spiotti (Charlotte, NC) led Rio’s offensive onslaught with four successful tries, good enough for five points on each occasion, while Kelly and freshman prop Christopher Gates (Charlotte, NC) had three each.
Freshman flanker Dean Brits (Still Bay, South Africa) and freshman center Solomone Ahoia (Lawndale, CA) added a pair of successful tries each in the winning effort and freshman center Jeremiah Williams (O’Fallon, MO) tallied one try.
Senior Caden Harden (Oak Hill, OH) totaled eight two-point converts for the RedStorm.
Rio Grande was scheduled to host California University (Pa.) this Saturday, but the match has been canceled due to COVID-19 travel restrictions for the Vulcans.
“We tried to find a replacement opponent and we tried to re-arrange things with one of our future opponents, we just couldn’t make anything work,” Momsen said.
Rio’s next match will now take place at Robert Morris University in Moon Township, Pa. on Sept. 25. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.