Northeastern moved to 2-0 in the East Coast Rugby Conference with an 11-0 shutout of UMass Saturday.
Northeastern has yet to give up a point in league play.
“It was a tough loss,” said UMass captain Dan Guzzino, whose squad edged Middlebury last weekend. “We had a lot of sloppy play, but a couple of little mistakes hurt us. We had some good opportunities, but they played good defense in the backline and that forced us to play in tight. We wanted to go wide, and had a couple of big breaks, but they were more one-play efforts instead of sustained drives.”
The conditions were not conducive to running rugby, for sure, and the teams switched ends with Northeastern up 3-0. The coaching due of Mike Rosbottom and Mark Phillips asked flyhalf Alex Goodall to pin UMass back with his kicking game, and the players responded, keeping up the pressure.
"UMass is a very good team and they've done a great job there," said Northeastern's Rosbottom. "But I was proud with how our guys stuck to the game plan despite some difficulties."
Difficulties such as a few turnovers in the red zone, and a muddy pitch. Northeastern was pleased to have co-captains Sebastien Boight (suspension) and Jack Greaney (injury) back, and their leadership helped immensely. The Mad Dogs extended their lead to 8-0 when Diego Maquieira capped off a well-taken team try. Goodall then added a late penalty.
UMass drops to 1-1, while Northeastern looks solid at 2-0.
Meanwhile, Middlebury improved to 1-1 with a 30-7 defeat of Southern Connecticut. Captain Brian Sirkia said SoConn came up hard on defense so Middlebury responded with little kicks over the top and along the ground.
“The kicking game worked well,” he said. “We were effective from set pieces on a really muddy, wet field as well, which helped.”
Wing Mugo Mutothori was outstanding, spending all day chasing kicks from both teams.
“When everyone else was tired he was still sprinting back and forth; he had a great game,” said Sirkia.
Weather halted the SUNY Albany v. UConn game after the UConn athletics department told the rugby team it could not use the fields because they were wet.