November 20, 2019
Susquehanna University’s men’s rugby club cemented its spot in the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) 15s National Championship Sweet 16 with an exciting win over Catholic University.
New milestones have been reached during the club’s 50th anniversary year. This is the second Sweet 16 appearance for the team, last appearing after being crowned EPRU champions in 2014. Every alumni and current player of the team has helped make this moment possible.
Susquehanna entered the match having won their third straight Mid-Atlantic Rugby Conference Small College Championship with a 7-and-0 record and a national ranking of 13th of 250 schools in NSCRO. Catholic University represented the Potomac Rugby Conference as their No. 2 seed and was a 2018 National Championship Elite 8 team. Despite being Landmark Conference competitors in varsity sports, this was the first time the two teams met on the rugby field.
Catholic took an early 7-point lead, but that’s all Susquehanna’s defense would allow in the first half. Responding instantly, Susquehanna went on to score 19 unanswered points, guaranteeing a hold onto the lead for the rest of the match. Plays were scored by Owen Blaschak ’20, Riley Stone ’20, and Zach Bosch ’21.
Susquehanna was unable to extend their lead until the 50th minute with an explosive try from Ben Nicolson ’22. Matt Gorman ’20 sealed the deal for Susquehanna’s victory, converting 3-4 kicks throughout the game. Catholic crept closer, forcing a furious attack, with Susquehanna looking to run out the clock with a 26-19 lead.
Within the final minutes, Catholic was able to hold possession and rush a last-ditch effort to tie the game. But Susquehanna’s unforgiving defensive pressure allowed the River Hawks to hold on to the gripping 26-19 victory.
Susquehanna will now move onto the NSCRO 15s National Championship Sweet 16 Dec. 7 and 8 at Raleigh Rugby Club Fields in North Carolina. The River Hawks will take on No. 1 ranked Christendom College, Front Royal, Virginia, at noon, Saturday, Dec. 7, in the first semifinal match. The winner of that game will face the winner of Loyola University of Maryland, Baltimore, vs. Spring Hill College, Mobile, Alabama, in the championship game at 1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 8.
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