2018 Liberty All Conference Teams Announced

D1A Rugby: 2018 Liberty All Conference Teams Announced
The Liberty Conference has selected their All Conference 1st and 2nd XV, along with honorable mentions and individual award recipients. 

Entering their second year at the D1A level, Liberty was looking for a year of marked improvement, and that’s exactly what they saw. Iona, was the stand out performer, as the only team left in the Top 20 rankings at the end of the Fall season. It wasn’t only Iona who saw improvement, the Empire and New England divisions, saw new champions crowned. Syracuse won the Empire Division after finishing 3rd in the division last year; while UMass won New England, after coming in 4th last year. New comers, American International College (AIC) made a strong first impression, rising to claim the title in their first year. All of these remarkable team efforts have been reflected in the All Conference Team selections. 
In the first team there were a total of eight institutions represented: Iona (4), AIC (3), Syracuse (2), UMass (2), Colgate (1), Fordham (1), Northeastern (1) and UConn (1). In the second team there was even wider representation, with ten teams having players selected: Syracuse (3), Binghamton (2), Delaware (2) UMass (2), Albany (1), Boston College (1), Colgate (1), Fairfield (1), Iona (1), Rhode Island (1). 

The individual awards, unsurprisingly, were given to mostly Iona players. Freshman of the year went to Iona’s Cam DiGiorgio, who was a menace around the field all season long. DiGiorgio had an ability to cover large amounts of  ground, throughout games- creating a constant and irritating presence at the breakdowns. 

Forward of the year went to his fellow Iona back-rower, Santi Mascolo. Mascolo has had an impressive 2018 and will be sad to see it end. Along with this accolade, Mascolo also featured in the Junior All-American side this summer. Mascolo featured massively in Iona’s attack this season. Over the course of the Fall campaign, Mascolo was responsible for over 100 of Iona’s points. The impressive number eight scored eight tries on the season and slotted over 30 conversions. However, his work off the scoreboard was equally as important; as he was key component is helping create the up-paced tempo which Iona looks to play. 

Another key part of the Iona attacking system was back of the year, Connor Buckley. Through strong support play and an ability to wriggle through the smallest of gaps, Buckley made sure that defenses always had to be on their toes. His excellent distribution skills helped get good quick clean ball to the Gales consistently and allowed them to sling the ball from sideline to sideline. 

Liberty’s Most Valuable Player, however, did not come from Iona; rather it came from conference champions AIC. Tommy Clark the big second rower from Washington was voted, by the coaches as the MVP for 2018. Clark is as close to an all round player as you will find. His ability to work on and off the ball and to continuously dominant the point of contact were both major reasons behind AIC’s championship run in their debut D1A season.  

Liberty will now look to 7s in the Fall and look to continue their gradual improvement from season to season.

Full team selections and honorable mentions are listed below.

1st XV:

PropMichael RasmussenColgate University
HookerAlex NanaiUniversity of Connecticut
PropNandipha DubeIona College
LockTommy ClarkAmerican International College
LockTimmy O’ConnorUMass Amherst
BackrowDermot HeaveySyracuse University
BackrowTerry CullenUMass Amherst
BackrowSanti MascoloIona College
ScrumhalfConnor BuckleyIona College
FlyhalfFermin MoraizFordham University
WingChandler (CJ) Cotton Jr.American International College
CenterNic FranklynAmerican International College
CenterMichael ScarcellaIona College
WingRyan ConnollyNortheastern University
FullbackJean-Eric van der ElstSyracuse University

2nd XV:

PropKyle Gref-MottSyracuse University
HookerBilly BingoColgate University
PropMichael SweetmanFairfield University
LockAndrew BurdsallSyracuse University
LockAnthony RapposelliUniveristy of Delaware
BackrowWilliam CusackBinghamton Univeristy
BackrowDuncan KellyBoston College
BackrowCam DiGiorgioIona College
ScrumhalfLuke PersanisUniversity of Delaware
FlyhalfDavid BuchananUMass Amherst
WingXavier RolandoBinghamton Univeristy
CenterDallas HaskinsSyracuse University
CenterJoe DuffyUniveristy at Albany
WingClayton MinnichUniversity of Rhode Island
FullbackArchibald BrydonUMass Amherst

Honorable Mention:

PropConnor RobinsonBoston College
PropJack BrennanFordham University
PropSam WeaverTufts University
HookerSean McElhinneyNortheastern University
HookerStephen AmbrosinoBinghamton Univeristy
LockBruce ParkUniveristy at Albany
LockJohn KilkennySUNY Oswego
BackrowBarrett LyonsUMass Amherst
BackrowDeJohn WilliamsUniveristy at Albany
BackrowMichael PolancoRutgers University
BackrowJeremy ParkerSUNY Brockport
BackrowSteven KopchoStony Brook University
BackrowAlex ParciakNortheastern University
BackrowSean LoughlinSUNY Oswego
ScrumhalfDemi AjeigbeAmerican International College
ScrumhalfShane PalmerUniversity of Connecticut
FlyhalfSam BakerSUNY Oswego
FlyhalfBrandon HealyBinghamton Univeristy
FlyhalfJames CarneyTufts University
CenterAdrian HeathColgate University
CenterRiley CurtinBoston College
CenterDarren ChanNortheastern University
CenterJustin LopezUniveristy of Delaware
FullbackRyan WilsonSUNY Cortland