Rugby Club Team Wins Twice, Reaches National Championship Game

Monday, November 19, 2018

by Kevin Donahue

The Saint Joseph’s University men’s rugby team is one step away froma  USA Rugby Collegiate National Championship. 

It defeated Salisbury University, 53-17, and Wetern Michigan University, 15-10 this weekend, Nov. 17-18, at Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Maryland. The championship game is set for Dec. 2, in Charlotte, N.C.

The Hawks came into the weekend ranked No. 2 in the nation, the highest ever for the Hawks program.

“We’re excited,” said fifth-year head coach Dan Yarusso. “It’s awesome to be ranked so highly, and it’s such great recognition for the team and for St. Joe’s.”

The team plays an aggressive, wide-open style that Yarusso, mixing sports, compares to that of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints. “We pass the ball a lot and use the full width of the field,” he said.

The team is led by captains Noah Niumataiwalu '20 and George Harris ‘19, and Aram Keshgegian ’19.

Keshgegian, whose nickname is “The Kesh Express,” was named the most valuable player of the 2018 MARC D1AA Fall 15 season after the team’s thrilling, 47-38 win over West Chester University on Nov. 3.

While the team is undefeated and riding high, there is a heaviness to the season. Freshman Mark Dombroski died accidentally last March in Bermuda, where the team was participating in a tournament. The team has dedicated the season in his honor.

“It’s weighing heavy on our hearts,” Yarusso said. “In some ways it unifies the team playing this season in his honor.”

The club field hockey team spent the weekend at the Virginia Beach Sports Complex, in Virginia Beach, Va., as the 12th seed in the National Field Hockey Championships. 

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