UConn, NU Win, Look To Matchup, Liberty Challenge

UConn and Northeastern have done enough to make it a winner-take-all game in the Liberty Conference's New England Division between the two sets of dogs next week.

Connecticut beat visiting Rhode Island 37-30 in conference action on Saturday, improving to 4-0 in the division. Northeastern is right there with UConn, beating Tufts 39-17 at home. Neither performance was especially dominant, but the Huskies and Maddogs are now in position to play each other next week for the division title.

NU Forwards Finish It Late

Northeastern struggled in the first half, getting in penalty trouble and letting Tufts dictate terms. The game was tied 17-17 at the break. But, as has been the story for the Maddogs this season, NU's forward started to punch holes in the defense in the second half.

Northeastern's backs took advantage, and tries from Ryan Crowe, Lowell Haska, and Liam Taylor put the game away for the Maddogs.

UConn Tested At Home

UConn had even more of a struggle against Rhode Island. The Huskies led 19-13 at halftime thanks to two tries from No. 8 James Courtnet and a try and two conversions from flyhalf Chris Mao. But URI took the lead early in the second half with a converted try. Prop Connor Elliot helped UConn reply by setting up hooker Austin Toback, who burst through a gap for a try under the posts. Mao converted and added two penalties for a 32-20 lead.

Flanker Adam Angelucci's 25-meter gallop for a try seemed to put it away at 37-23, but URI made a game of it.

"We knew this be tough game going in with some good, hard-running URI forwards/backs," UConn coach Bob Merola said. "We managed to tie down the win with a great defensive effort (in the) last 15 minutes of game."

For UConn, a team that didn't win a game three years ago, to be able to play for a division championship and then play in an important postseason game at the Liberty Challenge is a victory in itself.

New Husky Culture

"We’re pretty excited about where we’re going," Merola said. "We've got about 60 players, and we've only got six seniors. We're young and we're developing. Our second side is undefeated. But it took a while to change the culture and to learn how to win. The kids are just more focused, and it shows. We're getting more attention from kids in Connecticut, more recruits."

The new mindset — taking the game more seriously — has been led by Mao and Joe Phillips and has spilled over to the fans. For Merola, a UConn graduate, it's refreshing.

Also In The Liberty

Fordham beat Rutgers 22-14 to finish 3-1 in the I-95 Division, securing second behind 4-0 Iona. Fordham was led by Parker Lynch, who was strong on defense and scored two tries, and Logan McIntrye, who reeled off several long runs. Cortland has already sewn up the Empire with a 5-0 record.  

Big Games Still Left

Northeastern and UConn meet next week for the New England title, and then two weeks after those teams are expected to be part of the Liberty Challenge, which will see a series of crossovers among the Liberty teams.

"We were hoping to finish our season playing for something and we are," Merola said. "And with the [Liberty Challenge] we get to play out of our division and see a different style of play. It's the first time we've participated, and it's something we're very excited about."

Watch the Liberty Challenge LIVE on FloRugby on Nov. 18


Liberty - EmpireWLTPFPAPDBTBLPTS
Cortland500161561055025
Binghamton410238581804020
Syracuse320153106473015
Albany23085161-762010
Colgate14090177-87004
Brockport05072211-139000










Liberty - I-95WLTPFPAPDBTBLPTS
Iona400268482204020
Fordham31095110-151013
Delaware220107152-453011
Stony Brook13078141-63116
Rutgers04068159-91000










Liberty - New EnglandWLTPFPAPDBTBLPTS
Northeastern400157561014020
UConn40017687894020
Tufts220101136-353011
UMass13089114-25217
Rhode Island140120148-28217
Fairfield14091193-102217

Jesuit Wins Nailbiter Single-School Championship

Kelecki Latu Helps Save A Title

The Jesuit of Sacramento Marauders won their ninth High School National Championship in dramatic fashion as they edged Herriman Saturday in Salt Lake City.

Back Bay Rules In HS Club Championships

null

Back Bay put in an impressive performance in defeating Royal Irish to win the 2019 HS Club championship.

All Deadlocked In Single-School

We won’t know the match for the single-school HS National Championships because lightning has delayed one of the semifinals, but we do know the other finalist.

Brilliant Back Bay, Gutsy Royal Irish In HS Club

Brutally clinical play saw Back Bay and Royal Irish through to the Boys HS Rugby National Championships club final.

HS Single-School SF Halted By Lightning

Play has been suspended at the Boys HS Rugby National Championships due to lightning.

HS Nationals Schedule Changes

A wet field caused Regional Athletic Center officers in Salt Lake City to halt Field 2 action at the Boys HS Rugby National Championships.

Day Two Boys HS Nationals LIVE

Charlotte Tigers Open Nationals With A Win

It's Day Two if the Boys HS Rugby National Championships.

A Dramatic Day One At HS Nationals

Day One of the 2019 Boys HS Rugby National Championships had just about everything, but especially dramatic finishes and tight games.

Throwback Thursday: Japan's World Cup Moment

null

Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloRugby!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In

This moment for the Cherry Blossoms ignited World Rugby's selection for Japan to host the 2020 World Cup. We're now just a few months away! Can Japan knock off another World Cup giant in Pool A? Which underdog country will have its moment in 2019?

Doylestown Dragons Breathing Fire

One of the hottest teams heading into this weekend’s national club quarterfinals, the Doylestown Dragons shouldn’t fly under anyone’s radar in Spartanburg, SC for their last eight showdown with Buffalo.