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32-Point Roll Takes Norwich To RNE Title

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32-Point Roll Takes Norwich To RNE Title

Norwich University defeated UMass-Lowell 32-16 Saturday to win the Rugby Northeast conference championship, securing a national playoff spot for the Cadets.

Lowell will likely get an at-large bid, probably to play the runner-up from another conference in the preliminary weekend of the playoff structure.

Norwich fell behind 6-0 early on, but rallied and reeled off 32 straight points before Lowell got their first try.

Michael McLaughlin got the Cadets on the board in the 22nd minute, and then Kyle Clark went over with five minutes left in the first half. That made it 10-6, and then just before halftime Nate Rolling was over to make it 15-6 at the break.

Bartniski kept the momentum going with a try early in the second half. Jeffrey Minicucci converted that one and added a penalty goal before Rolling scored his second for a 32-6 lead. UMass-Lowell didn't fold and scored two tries late to make it 32-16.

The Norwich Cadets have now won seven straight conference championships combined between 15s and 7s. Rolling earned Most Valuable Player honors and was presented with the game ball following the game.

"We are just trying to get better every day," said Norwich Head Coach Bob Weggler.