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It was a thrilling end to the ECRC conference as Boston College battle back to tie AIC in a game that determined the conference title. With the tie, both teams finished 7-0-1 but AIC earned one more bonus point to capture its third consecutive conference title.
The first half went the way of AIC, with the Yellow Jackets leading 22-8. AIC managed to get three tries, two of which came in the final 10 minutes of the half to take the lead.
“In the first half we really kept penalties to a minimum. We felt like we had momentum, we had control for most of the first half. We felt really good about what we were doing,” said AIC coach Rob Guiry.
AIC added one more at the start of the second half and looked to be in complete control. However, Boston College regrouped and turned the momentum.
“I really have to give credit to Danny Schatzman and Brian Reilly our captains. Despite any of the on field issues we had with AIC or the referee, they rallied the troops,” said BC coach Rob Conway. “AIC scored right after the half and they said this is it. We need to play our game, lets get it finished.”
Boston College capitalized on a bevy of AIC penalties and an eventual yellow card to score three unanswered tries. Schatzman did captain’s work to cut the lead to 29-15 and the Eagles added two more late to even the game at 29-29.
"They certainly wanted it. They were hungry. They came out and played a really hard game. I applaud their coaching staff and their team for being ready for a tough test,” Guiry said of Boston College.
It was a bittersweet performance for the Eagles. They battled back from 21 down to tie a team that beat them 50-7 last year but ultimately lost out on a conference title by one bonus point.
“We are a little bit heartbroken to be honest,” a disappointed Conway told Rugby Today. “These guys go to the gym together, they eat together, they practice together, they do everything together, which is something we have not seen as much of in the last couple of years until this year. I think the fact of how cohesive they were as a unit is really what made that big change from last year to this year.”
With the result, AIC wins its third consecutive ECRC title. Boston College made them sweat, but the tie and an additional bonus against UMass paved the way for a conference victory.
“We are very happy that we were able to walk out of there hopefully learning a lesson while still calling ourselves conference champions. In a way it didn’t feel like a win but we are still taking away the conference trophy,” Guiry said of the result.
“I do want to extend my congratulations to AIC for winning the conference this year and to Rob Guiry in his first year as head coach,” Conway added.
Both teams will be taking on the winner and runner up of the Empire Conference next week. Neither team will be participating in the USA Rugby DIAA playoffs this fall. Next week will be it for Boston College while AIC will be taking part in the ACRC Bowl Series at Iona College.