D1A Weekend Recap: Top East Coast Teams in Action

D1A Rugby: D1A Weekend Recap: Top East Coast Teams in Action
Photo Credit: UCONN RUGBY
This week’s D1A action featured a host of east coast showdowns, the biggest of which was a top 20 matchup between No. 8 Penn State and No. 19 Notre Dame College. Saturday in South Euclid, Ohio, the Nittany Lions made an early statement in the Rugby East clash with a convincing 43-17 victory. Penn State dominated much of the game’s set pieces, and Senior Lock Ryan McNulty led the Nittany Lions in scoring with two tries.

Another top ten Rugby East team, Army, was also in action Saturday continuing their conference play against Wheeling Jesuit University. After a back-and-fourth first half, the Black Knights eventually pulled away for a 57-20 win, improving to 2-0 in Rugby East play. Army will be tested on the road against Notre Dame College next week.

Outside of Rugby East, several east coast teams were looking to make an impression in their first weeks of D1A competition. Fordham did just that, defeating former Rugby East squad Delaware 37-24 for their first Liberty Conference win. After losing to Delaware in an ACRC Bowl matchup last fall, the Rams were out for a little revenge.

“We definitely reminded the boys of last year’s ACRC Bowl loss all week at training,” said Fordham Director of Rugby Andrew Gheraldi. “Delaware had a great deal of possession and came out firing in the 1st half, but we made some adjustments at the half and were able to play with our ball for longer periods of time, run our systems, and score some points.”

Another transplant from Rugby East, Iona, was in action on Saturday against Rutgers and dominated with a 69-17 win. Iona’s offense was highlighted by Senior Center Mike Scarcella, who notched three tries.

Outside the 1-95 division, other Liberty teams were in action and experiencing their first matchups within the new divisions. In the New England division, UConn handled Tufts by a score of 48-26 while Fairfield edged out UMass 26-24, coming back to win on the last play of the game after being down as much as 24-7.

In Big Tem play, #7 Indiana validated their high early ranking with a dominant 82-10 win over visiting Purdue, while Iowa fell to Illinois after a burst of second half points from the home team.

In this first month of D1A competition, the Liberty Conference has drawn significant interest, and these first conference matchups are already promising a competitive and captivating season.