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With eight matches in the massive new D1A Liberty conference, over 500 total points were scored in second weekend of play. Fordham, Iona, Binghamton, Syracuse, UConn, Fairfield, Cortland, and Northeastern were victorious with six of the teams scoring over 40 points.
Delaware at Fordham
On Friday night in the Bronx, N.Y., Fordham came back from a halftime deficit only to hold off a late surge by Delaware to win 37-26. After trailing 12-6 at the break, Fordham scored 31 straight points before the Blue Hens put in the final two tries of the match.
Fordham’s outside center Finlay Froggatt led all scorers with 17 points with four conversions and three penalties. Reserve forward Mitch McGlynn scored the go ahead try in the second half followed by tries from Fermin Moriaz, Jack Brennan, and Vincent Brucculeri. Connor McGee, Nick Jimenez (2), and John McCurdy dotted down tries for Delaware in the loss.
Iona at Rutgers
After leaving the Rugby East after last season, the Iona Gaels approached the game versus Rutgers like any other weekend and that preparation translated into a 69-17 win. In Piscataway, New Jersey under the lights on Friday, Iona racked up seven tries in the first half for a 45-0 halftime lead and then scored another three in the second half. Mike Scarcella (3), John D'Allara, Colby Marshall, John Powers, Connor Buckley, Nandipha Dube, Bryce Stanback, Tyler Ringwood, and LaVar James scored in the victory.
Experience was on the Gaels’ side on Friday. “We had more experience so our pace of play was beyond what they were used to,” head coach Bruce McLane said. “We were able to transition from attack to defense and vice versa to score a lot... [Our men] are preparing as if they are playing in the Rugby East. These other teams haven’t necessarily been doing that all the time. Being in the Rugby East has without a doubt helped us.”
Colgate at Binghamton
Binghamton picked up its second Liberty win with a 66-14 victory at Colgate in Binghamton, N.Y. The victory was the Devils’ second straight 40+ point win as seven players scored a total of ten tries. The backline of Gregory Lenane (2), Sean Greer (2), Rory O'Riordan (2), Connor Horan, and Brendan Healy scored eight of the tries and #8 Brian Burke and flanker William Cusack also found the endzone for Binghamton. Healy and Lenane combined kick eight conversions.
Devil’s head coach Sebastien Lacombe said the key was the forwards setting up the backs with clean ball. “We mostly scored through the backline because the forwards had a really good physical presence in the scrums and lineouts. The forwards set up the platform and the backs launched.”
Syracuse at Brockport
On the road in Brockport, N.Y., the Syracuse Hammerheads secured their first Liberty victory beating Brockport, 45-13. Syracuse led the entire match with flanker Anthony Pugliese recording a hat trick and Andrew Burdsall, Sam Low, Jake Smith, and Joe Lombardo each finding the tryzone. Flyhalf Low also chipped in four conversions.
Syracuse head coach Bob Wilson contributed the win to his squad's experience and focus on the little things during the test. “Fundamental techniques were a little stronger in the ball transfer and repossession areas. Another consequence was that the penalty count was in favor of Syracuse. Brockport were strong and physical with good offensive structure, but had some execution issues, which is not unusual for first league game.”
Tufts at UConn
A strong start by UConn turned into a 48-26 win for the Huskies over Tufts. The UConn offense abused the Tufts defense as Chris Mao, Shane Palmer, Joe Phillips, and Liam Coll opened up a 28-0 lead 30 minutes into the match. After Tufts put one in at 31’, a PK by Coll and Palmer’s second try saw UConn extend its advantage to 38-7 at the half.
Tufts was reenergized during the break and came out firing scoring two tries at 43’ and 57’. UConn responded with a Mao penalty and Phillips’ second try. Tufts scored again in the last five minutes, but it was too late for a comeback as the Huskies secured their first D1A victory.
UMass at Fairfield
In the closest match of the weekend, the game between Fairfield and UMass came down to the final conversion on the final play of the test. After Fairfield’s Salvatore Esposito scored the game’s first points, UMass scored four straight tries from Terrence Cullen, Evan Burke, Karl Preza, and Matt McCarthy. Fairfield battled back with 25 minutes left to tie the game at 24 all on the last play of the game. The all-important Fairfield conversion was true giving the Red Ruggers the 26-24 victory.
Albany at Cortland
An uneventful first half yielded an explosive second half as Cortland blasted Albany, 46-11. Cortland led 15-3 at the half before Luke Gelfand, Harrison Conn, Joseph Pitti, Thorsten Johnson, and Thor Sutphen scored in the second for the big win.
Tries by Mike Dotzler, Vincent Yorks, and Nathan Butler gave Cortland the first half lead. Matt Regan scored Albany’s only try and Conor O’Brien kicked two penalties.
Rhode Island at Northeastern
With three quarters of the match complete, Rhode Island closed the gap against Northeastern to one point after a try to end the first half and a penalty in the second. Northeastern refocused its efforts and scored 24 unanswered points to win 41-16.
Mathieu Larouche (2), Peyton Kay, Sean McElhinney, Liam Henry, and David De Luzuriaga scored tries for Northeastern and De Luzuriaga connected on three of his conversions. Adam Nabb notched Rhode Island’s lone try and Ryan Thomas kicked three penalties and a conversion.