New England College Lions Repeat as NSCRO Northeast Region Champ
They say in New England if you donât like the weather wait a minute. Well that was the case during the NSCRO Men's Northeast Play-offs, November 16-17th. Saturdayâs NSCRO semifinal matches featured great weather- sunny and 60 degrees. The first semi-final featured Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) facing off against defending champs New England College (NEC). CCSU came out of the gate with fire and passion and capitalized on an errant pass by NEC, returning it 22 meters for a try to take an early 12-7 lead. NEC answered back to take the lead by half, 14-12. In the second half, NEC regained their championship form and scored 28 unanswered points to win 42-12.
In the second match of the day last yearâs Northeast Region runner up and 2011 National Champion Salve Regina University took on Union College, the Empire Upstate Champion. Union had defeated Bowdoin College,17-15 a week prior to earn a place in this event. Salve dominated the first half 24-7. Union College would comeback in the second half to outscore Salve 12-10, but losing 9 starters to injury over the fall season would prove to be too much and Salve won 34-19.
Sundayâs weather was quite different from Saturday. It was 42 degrees, foggy, and drizzly. In the in the first match of the day CCSU outfought Union 41-17, to take third place. The championship match was a repeat of last yearâs between Salve and NEC and it would prove to be the most physical match of the season for NEC.
âThe first half was trench warfareâ said head coach Jeremy Treece of NEC. Salve and NEC were inside each otherâs 22 meter zone three times and neither team could score leaving it 0-0 at the half. The second half started out much like the first, however, NEC capitalized on a Salve penalty awarded by referee Miles McIvor to take a 3-0 lead 10 minutes into the half. Then 10 minutes later, the championship MVP Jay Muniz, intercepted a pass and returned it 40 meters for the first try of the match to give NEC a 10-0 lead. Salve played hard the whole game, but NEC kept the pressure on when a long run from freshman Ky Young who off loaded to freshman Connor Fantasia resulted in the final try of the match. NEC would add 2 more penalty kicks at the end to win 21-0. âEvery fan I spoke to after the match said they donât know much about rugby, but wow that was exciting to watchâ said Coach Treece.
NEC will now move onto the NSCRO Men's National Championship on April 27-28, 2014 at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colorado where they finished third this past April.