Penn State continued its fall 15s campaign Saturday with a 43-20 defeat of Army in State College, Pa. That makes the Nittany Lions’ A-side 2-0 this semester, having beaten Delaware58-19 earlier this month.
“Both teams are early in their seasons, but I thought that we had a pretty good showing. Scoring was pretty well balanced between forwards and backs. I thought we put them under some pressure defensively,” said Penn State coach Don Ferrell.
“They showed us some areas we need to work on, and they went on a couple breaks. We were just fortunate that we were able to cover and they weren’t able to finish. I thought we played a pretty good match for it being this time of year. We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but it’s hard not to be happy coming out on top against a team like Army.”
Penn State returns pretty much all but two players from the spring. Gone are Chris Saint (graduation) and Joe Baker, who is punting for the Penn State football team. Ferrell hopes to get Baker, a senior, back in the spring.
“Obviously losing someone like All American Chris Saint is going to affect your team, but we have some talented young scrumhalves that are working hard,” Ferrell said.
Sophomore Chris Petri, the younger brother of Eagle Mike Petri, got the start at scrumhalf against Army. Senior Dom DeFalco and sophomore Simon Arendt have gotten time there, too.
The Nittany Lions have been young for the past couple of seasons, but now they have a big senior class that includes several starters, like the entire front row in John Hellman, Matt Spellman and Chris Karas, flanker Kevin Kimble, No. 8 Mike Erickson, lock Ryan Goulding, center Greg Voigt and wings Dom DeFalco and Ben Janssen.
“Forwards are a year older, a year bigger and are playing pretty well right now. We’ve got some pretty good depth in the forwards,” said Ferrell. “We’ve got a couple of young backs that are slotted in nicely into the backline and the rest of the backline returned a year older, a year bigger and a year wiser. We’ve been a young team the last year, two years almost, and now we’re starting to get some experience in there.”
Penn State has one more 15s outing this fall, against Temple Saturday, before it focuses more of its attention on 7s.