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Rhode Island Defeats Norwich

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Rhode Island Defeats Norwich

There was no rest for the weary Saturday as the Norwich University Cadets, after consecutive matches against conference rivals Coast Guard and Vermont, visited the University of Rhode Island for what was expected to be a hard fought contest, and the match lived up to its billing.

An early positional battle between the kicking of Rhode Island flyhalf Anthony Kennedy and the counter running of the Norwich back 3 went Rhode Island’s way, generating pressure in the offensive end that resulted in a Kennedy penalty kick 9 minutes into the match. Norwich took advantage of some errant handling by the Rams to counter attack and at the 16 minute mark, center Evan King found the Rhode Island defense lagging and crashed over for a try, converted by Michael Blackman to put Norwich ahead, 7-3. Minutes later, a long Rhode Island movement involving the entire Ram backline, some several times, was denied by Norwich just short of the line. Much of the rest of the half involved some very aggressive, close-in forward play and several deep threats in both directions, but none able to close the deal until Rhode Island outside center Saverio Varca broke through from outside the 22-m line 30 minutes into the half, breaking free from several defenders along the way, to put the Rams ahead 8-7 for the remainder of the half.

Norwich came out aggressively in the second half and pushed much of the contest into the Rhode Island end of the field. After several movements across and inside the Rhode Island 22, Norwich reversed the play and sent Michael Dowling free to the left corner for a try that put Norwich back on top, 12-8. As the half wore on, the URI forward pack began to exert greater pressure in both the sets and lineouts, as both a driving maul and a push-over try were narrowly defended by Norwich. As Rhode Island continued pressure in front of the Norwich posts, Alex Clark of Norwich was given a yellow card by referee Marc Voorhees for striking an opponent, and moments later, Rhode Island inside center looped his own pass and touched down in the right corner, giving Rhode Island the lead again at 13-12. And Rhode Island continued pressing the Norwich defense and moved the ball left-to-right across the field and through the hands of every Ram back, finishing with wing Vinnie Liguori’s try in the right corner with no time left to make the final score 18-12, a larger finishing margin than was typical of the game.