Weather played a huge part in this weekend’s collegiate qualifiers, as the eastern seaboard experienced some early snow. Met NY was forced to cancel their LAU championship, while New York State and New England managed to pull off the games.
Met NY determined seeding based on the regular-season finish: Rutgers #1 and Vassar #2. New York State saw SUNY Fredonia edge out SUNY Binghamton 15-10. Norwich put up 56 unanswered points on Coast Guard, while Bowdoin suffered its first loss of the season at the hands of Rhode Island, which won 22-12. The Northeast quarterfinals taking place this weekend are as follows:
SUNY Binghamton @ Norwich University
Bowdoin College @ SUNY Fredonia
US Coast Guard Academy @ Rutgers University
Vassar College @ Rhode Island
Norwich once again was the class of the weekend. Typically the team spreads its points around more, but in Sunday’s case, sophomore center Jackie Derocher (3), sophomore fullback Rose Bernheim (2) and senior flanker Hannah Bushey (2) accounted for all of the tries, and junior flyhalf Emily Baugus added six points on three conversions.
Derocher’s third try was the score of the match, when a perfectly executed backline maneuver sent the center into space and into the try zone as designed. Bernheim’s two tries added to her team-leading 17-try count, and Bushey scored her two five-pointers withiin a 30-minute period.
“What a blast to watch two hard-nosed teams duke it out in the snow and mud,” said Norwich coach Austin Hall. “Coast Guard is the toughest, best defensive team we’ve played, and this was a sluggers kind of day. They’d given us trouble the first time we played them this year and this second time around, we had to go even deeper into our arsenal.”
In the other NERFU semifinal, the previously undefeated Bowdoin Polar Bears relinquished a narrow lead to lose 22-12 to Rhode Island. The hosts fell behind at the 12-minute mark, when URI’s outside center crashed through the defense for the corner try. A minute later, Bowdoin’s pack took the subsequent kickoff, set up some quick ball from the ruck, and sent the ball to inside center Randi London, who manipulated the eager URI defense and scampered 50 meters for the try and conversion, 7-5. URI regained the lead before the break, utilizing an overload in the line to touch down another try, 10-7.
The second half saw two more lead changes. Bowdoin went ahead by two when Uche Esonu picked from the base of a five-meter ruck and dove over the line, 12-10. But URI did well to reverse the flow of the game and posted another 12 points before the final whistle.