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Week two of ECRC play featured a pair of close games and a pair of blowouts. Boston College played UConn to a close 26-12 affair while New England College outlasted Northeastern 9-5. Both AIC and UMass cruised to victory over Albany and Fairfield respectively.
Boston College played stout defense against UConn preventing the Huskies from finding the try zone all afternoon. The first half of the match was extremely close, however, with the teams going in 12-9 at the break. While UConn had to settle for penalties, the Eagles managed two first half tries.
“It was a shock for us coming in that the game was that close. Especially in the first half, but we knew with coach (Bob) Merola at the helm, they were going to be a very defensively strong team,” Boston College coach Rob Conway told Rugby Today. “Physically I would say they even out powered us all over the field. They are a very large team and much improved from last year, which is saying a lot for a team that has struggled for a few years to become this strong this quickly.”
The fourth penalty of the day from the Huskies tied the game up early in the second half but Boston College’s playmaker Danny Schatzman scored the game-winning try, his second of the afternoon and completed the hat trick to seal the victory. Schatzman, who was new to rugby prior to coming to BC four years ago, has been a big part of the recent success of the program and has made a name for himself on the big stage at the Penn Mutual CRC.
“This one of the reasons why the players all voted for him to be captain along with Brian Reilly this year,” Conway said of Schatzman. “He is always in the hunt for man of the match. He is always on the scoreboard. What has really kind of benefitted us this year is that we surrounded him with players that can really complement his defensive and offensive capabilities.”
The matchup between New England College and Northeastern was a real tight, sloppy encounter. The Lions had the advantage and disadvantage of already having played a conference game while Northeastern came into the game for its first run out of ECRC play. The Lions came in with a number of injuries from last week, had to shuffle nearly half of the line up and against a tough and improved Huskies, it was close match.
“Northeastern, from what I understand, is much improved from last year. I think our guys probably took them a bit lightly based on last year’s performance…. Northeastern was there to win. They played rugby. They are a good, solid side,” said NEC coach Tal Bayer.
Northeastern gave NEC a tough battle but could not crack the Lion’s defense until the waning moments. Despite being only able to muster three penalties themselves, the Lions held the Huskies to one late try and a 9-5 victory. Penalties and cards prevented either team from really getting any continuity.
“Basically the breakdown was a mess. Both teams were falling over the ball and we ended up with a ton of cards as a result. We spent 30 minutes of the match down a man,” Bayer added.
Bayer is happy that his team came away with a victory with a depleted roster, but knows that the squad needs to continue to get better as its runs into some tougher conference opponents.
“Overall, considering the circumstances we did the best we could do at the time but not happy with the performances at all. The guys know we are capable of more and our biggest challenge this year will be depth,” concluded Bayer.
In the other two matches, AIC crushed Albany 98-3 and UMass defeated Fairfield 77-12.