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It was a difficult weekend to be on the road in D1A Liberty Conference. Colgate, Cortland, Syracuse, Tufts, and Delaware defended their home turfs with victories while Northeastern and Iona were the only teams able to win on the road.
Rutgers at Delaware
Searching for its first win of the fall, Delaware earned a convincing 45-15 victory over Rutgers on Friday night in Newark, Del. After Rutgers scored the opening try, the Blue Hens took off finding the endzone six times that included a penalty try. Flanker John McCurdy recorded a hat trick and Luke Persanis and Mike Pimpinella also scored with Anthony Donatelli connecting on a penalty and five conversions.
Speaking with Rugby Today after the match, Delaware head coach Struan Murray said, “Overall, it was our core skills that made the difference in my opinion. We didn't turn the ball over too much and were accurate in attack with our ball handling... Our line speed in defense was outstanding and put pressure on them all night, but the big difference was our ball movement.”
On earning the first win, Murray added, “It was very satisfying to see the boys show some belief after a couple of tough losses. They handled themselves well during the latter part of the week and carried that over into a positive performance. Definitely lots to work on, but we have a great starting point for that additional work.”
Iona at Stony Brook
After a 60+ point display last Saturday versus Rutgers, Iona is clearly the team to beat in the conference and the Gaels showed why against Stony Brook. Iona put up its second 60+ point effort in as many weeks with a ten-try 62-14 win. John D’Allara and John Powers each scored hat tricks with Colby Marshall (2), Matt Crowe, and Rhys Humphrey dotting the other tries. Santiago Mascolo and Bryce Stanback combined for six conversions in the victory.
“Handling, keeping possession, and getting quick ruck ball after the breakdown.” Iona captain and outside center Michael Scarcella said were keys to the win. “Our forwards did a great job clearing out the rucks and our placement was extremely important as well... We wanted to play the ball in their part of the field. As soon as we started having some good kicks, that put a lot of pressure on the opposition and we capitalized on that.”
Brockport at Colgate
After not playing to its potential last week against Binghamton, it took the first half of play for Colgate to assert itself versus Brockport in Hamilton, N.Y. Trailing by two points at the break, the Raiders refocused their efforts and scored three tries to start the second half. After trading tries in the middle of the period, Colgate's stout defense stood up to the Brockport attack in the final 15 minutes to win 34-17.
Commenting on the match, Colgate head coach Dave Chapman said, “In the first half, Brockport came out and were definitely the more dominant side. They are a very physical team and we always fear playing Brockport because when they put things together, they are a dangerous side. We were able to clean some things up at halftime, get players on the same page, and our attack was able to flow a lot easier. The first quarter of the second half turned the game in our favor.”
Billy Bingo, Dorian Washington (2), Will Pitkin, and Mike Rasmussen scored for the Raiders and Cristiano Kusner contributed with a try and two conversions.
Binghamton at Cortland
In a test between two unbeaten teams, Cortland rebounded after being down early to score four straight tries on the way to a 29-14 win against Binghamton in Cortland, N.Y. Harrison Conn (2), Nathan Butler, Michael Dotzler, and Jimmy O’Sullivan scored in the win with Dotzler adding two conversions for the Wolfpack.
The key to the win was physicality. “Our strategy was to pound the ball with our forwards,” Cortland coach Bryan Carley said. “We have a big physical team and we just want to challenge teams to be big and physical with us. If they can do that and beat us, then we will tip our caps to them. As of right now, we will be the most physical team we can be.”
Carley gave game balls to his back three for their exemplary play. “Between Harrison Conn, who scored two tries, our fullback Ben Lloyd with try-saving tackles, Vincent Yorks, and Jimmy O’Sullivan, all four of those did a great job in the back three. The Binghamton flyhalf was a great kicker and they did a great job of counterattacking.”
Albany at Syracuse
Coming off a strong performance against Brockport last weekend, Syracuse carried over that energy to Albany to win 52-5. The Hammerheads dominated the match and were less than five minutes away from the shutout. Seven players scored in the contest as Anthony Pugliese, TJ Attanasio, Jake Smith, Mathew Kennelly (2), Sam Reimnitz, Joe Lambardo, and Alec Posner crossed the whitewash. Flyhalf Sam Low was almost perfect with the boot making six of his conversions.
Although the scoreboard told a different story, Syracuse coach Dave Desalvia gave credit to Albany for a strong effort. “We were a bit stronger than Albany in scrums and lineout. Albany got off to a good start and had possession in our end for first seven minutes, but our advantage in the set piece helped turn things around.”
Fairfield at Tufts
In the most contentious match of the weekend, Tufts outlasted Fairfield 34-31, in Medford, Mass. With a total of eight lead changes in the game, the teams went back and forth all game. Tufts took a two-try lead late in the match, but Fairfield rallied to cut the advantage to three points with little time left. Fairfield recovered the ensuing kickoff and drove into the Tuft’s 22. Luckily for the Jumbos, a big hit by Tommy Reardon dislodged the ball causing a knock-on and the victory.
Tufts head coach Tom Clark said the key to the win was his team's offensive pressure and structure. “Our structure was good all day. We kept them on their back foot. I thought if we could get the ball wide, we had a lot of success. We played very poorly at times and all of their tries came off penalties. We had 18 penalties on the day and let them hang around. The difference was our offensive pressure and we wore them down eventually.”
Sam Weaver, Trent Turner, Henry Seidel (2), Jake Garrell, and Griffin Anderson scored for Tufts with Seidel and Sam Hollingsworth each notching a conversion while Joaquin Moraiz, Sal Esposito (2), Jack McCarthy, and Charlie Bonaparte scored for Fairfield with Richie Terranova connecting on three conversions.
Northeastern at UMass
In the final match, Northeastern improved its record to 2-0 with a 37-17 triumph over UMass. The squads traded scores to begin the game, but the Huskies took control scoring 20 straight points to lead 25-7 after 50 minutes of play. UMass countered with a try in the 60th minute, but a fifth try in the 65th minute sealed the win for Northeastern.
Mathieu Larouche, Lowell Haska, Darren Chan, Liam Reitherofer-Taylor, Ryan Crowe, and Payton Key saw the tryzone for the Huskies and flyhalf David De Luzuriaga kicked three conversions and a penalty. In the losing effort, Mike Ruther, Robert Yvon, and Ben Sawyer scored for UMass with Jack Sharer converting one kick.