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With Iona playing Army on Saturday, Cortland and Northeastern took center stage in the D1A Liberty Conference this weekend and they didn’t disappoint. The Wolfpack blanked Colgate and the Huskies rocked Fairfield to keep their unbeaten streaks alive. UMass, Albany, and Stony Brook each picked wins in the remaining matchups.
Colgate at Cortland
Cortland has been the surprise squad of Liberty after jumping from Division II to D1A this season. On Saturday at home, the Wolfpack shutout Colgate, 26-0, for its fifth win in a row. Elliott Butler, Nathan Butler, Mike Cutrone, and Mike Dotzler each scored with Dotzler connecting on three of the conversions.
Wolfpack head coach Bryan Carley was proud of his club’s effort, but knows there is work to be done. “Our defensive line and line speed wasn’t what we were hoping for and we know we have to improve that, luckily our tackling helped bail us out. Colgate played a great game for the full 80 minutes and their flyhalf did a great job of finding space with his kicks and they had a great chase that kept us on our heels.”
Carley believes the reason why Cortland has surprised many is that everyone on the roster has bought in since day 1. “Everyone understood making the jump from DII to DI wouldn’t be easy, and we came in with a bit of a chip on our shoulders knowing we had a lot to prove... Our strategy focuses on being physical on both sides of the ball and we’ve done a pretty good job with that every week.”
Cortland concludes its season next Saturday at Brockport.
Fairfield at Northeastern
As one of the two undefeated teams in the New England Division, Northeastern defended its home field in Boston, Mass. by pounding Fairfield, 40-5. The Huskies sniffed out the endzone six times as David de Luzuriaga, Deni Makhauri, Freddie Fennessy, Brett Bragaw, Matt Larouche, and Alex Tiarks scored. Along with a try, de Luzuriaga was four for five on conversions and Darren Chan added another late.
With all the scoring, Northeastern head coach Ed Tubridy attributed the win to team defense. “Fairfield has a very good pack and I was happy with how we played. We pressured them at the gain line and capitalized on their mistakes.” The forwards shut down Fairfield’s attack allowing the backs to run free.
The Huskies have a non-con versus New Hampshire next weekend and return to Liberty action on October 28th at Tufts in Medford, Mass.
UMass at Rhode Island
After three difficult losses, UMass flipped the script and won its first conference match at Rhode Island, 31-15. Coach Phil Ciccarelli said, “We came together as a unit, entered the game relatively healthy for the first time in a few weeks and it really made a difference.”
The Minutemen started the match with a David Buchanan, but the Rams took the lead later in the first half. It was all UMass from then on as it scored five straight tries from Tom Randolph, Timmy O'Connor, Matt McCarthy, Evan Burke, and Kevin jones. Rhode Island scored twice late, however, it was not enough to make a difference.
Brockport at Albany
Since winning its first game against Stony Brook, Albany struggled to find its form and dropped four straight. On Saturday at home, the Danes got back into the win column with a 32-14 victory over Brockport. Albany head coach John Durant said the key was that “the squad followed and executed the game plan. They kept constant pressure on Brockport all game and played mistake-free rugby.”
Wing Matt Reagan started the match with two tries in less than four minutes and it was over from there. Conor O’Brien, Joe Duffy, Christian Corrado, and Shane Hurley also scored in the test.
Albany’s final conference match is Saturday at home versus Colgate.
Rutgers at Stony Brook
This season has been a learning experience for Stony Brook. With most of the roster composed of freshmen and sophomores and only three upperclassmen, wins have been hard to come by for the Seawolves. After losing by four points last weekend to Fordham, Stony Brook finally came together to beat Rutgers, 31-22.
“We finally gelled,” head coach Jerry Mirro stated. “We had a great week the week before against Fordham where we could have won. It’s a matter of progression. We knew going into this game that we would be in this game and hopefully prevailing. I knew it was going to be a step up weekend for us.”
Stony Brook never trailed in the game, but Rutgers did its best to keep pace. Mirro gave the game ball to inside center Joey Muller. “He broke the gain line at least a dozen times and their best player, Chris Sweeney at inside center, I had him cracking down on [his opposing number] big time and did a great job on defense. All around, a great game.”