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With only two weeks left on the D1A Liberty Conference regular season, two teams in the New England division remained unbeaten ahead of their meeting this Saturday. Northeastern and UConn each won their respective matches and Fordham’s win over Rutgers pushes its record to 4-1 in the I-95 division.
In non-conference action, UMass lost to Boston College, 20-14 and Buffalo beat Albany, 51-13. Lastly, Iona dispatched AIC, 44-19, in a match highlighted by a stout defensive effort led by Mike Scarcella.
The leaders of the Empire and I-95 divisions are set to take the field on Saturday as Iona and Cortland meet in New Rochelle, N.Y. Iona coach Bruce McLane knows Cortland likes to hit and expects a physical match. “My guess is buckle your chinstraps and put a little more staff in the emergency room that are proficient in stitching.”
Northeastern at Tufts
Northeastern improved to 4-0 with a 39-17 win on the road against Tufts in Medford, Mass. After a tight first half where the teams were tied at 17 apiece, the Huskies exploded after the break for three tries and PK.
Huskies head coach Ed Tubridy Defense noted that defense was key in the second half. “Defensively, we were very physical and that allowed us to get some crucial turnovers that became key positions for us. I was happy with how physical our forwards were as Tufts has a big pack.”
Niall Carlson, James O’Shea, Sean McElhinney, Ryan Crowe, Lowell Haska, and Liam Reithofer-Taylor scored for NU with Darren Chan connecting on three conversions and Davis De Luzuriaga on a PK. Harry Seidel (2) and Trent Turner found the endzone for Tufts.
Northeastern welcomes fellow unbeaten UConn to Boston, Mass. on Saturday for a battle for the top spot in Liberty’s New England division. Tubridy is looking forward to the game saying, “I expect a very physical battle with the forwards and believe that that game will be won at the breakdown.”
Fordham at Rutgers
Fordam coach Sean McCarthy described Fordham’s 22-17 win on Friday night at Rutgers as “a very physical and close game, our defense told the story of the match led by the hard tackling by Parker Lynch, Logan McIntyre and Mitch McGlynn.”
The lead changed hands four times in the contest as Rutgers jumped out on top with a Chris Sweeney try and the Rams answered with a pair of tries by Logan McIntyre and Parker Lynch. In the second half, Nicholas Dillon grabbed the lead back for the Red Ruggers at 14-12, but two late tries by Lynch and John Patterson sealed the victory for Fordham.
Rhode Island at UConn
UConn faced a stiff test against Rhode Island in Storrs, Conn. Ultimately, the Huskies won 37-30, but not before each squad had their hands on the lead. The back and forth continued until the 50th minute when UConn scored a try and two penalties to go up 32-20. The Husky defense held just enough in the final 20 minutes to keep the undefeated streak alive.
UConn head coach Bob Merolla respects the Rhode Island for playing until the last whistle. “The UConn defense held off URI inside our 22 meters within last seven minutes as they threatened to tie match at end... UConn tackled hard at critical moments, but we also turned the ball over too many times with penalties and mishandles and as URI poached balls and ran hard all game.”
Flyhalf Chris Mao was the leading scorer with 15 points scoring a try, two penalties, and three conversions. James Courtney dotted down a pair in the win and Austin Toback and Adam Angelucci added two more. Louis Morel, Justin Zeramby, and Jack Kellu scored for URI with scrumhalf Ryan Thomas connecting on two penalties and three conversions.