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Babson Storms Past Catholic to Small-College Final

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Babson Storms Past Catholic to Small-College Final

Alex Goff photo.

Despite what the experts said, Babson vs Catholic in NCR’s Men’s Small-College semifinals was not a close game.

Catholic had experience in the national final four and were also a little older, but their composure left them early and Babson, which has blown a 26-point lead in the quarterfinals before eking out a victory, ran out to an early lead and never let up.

The result? Babson 52 Catholic 0, with the Massachusetts business school booking a place in Sunday’s final.

Early-on Catholic struggled to get out of their 22. They tried to run a backline play in their own end and the connections didn’t connect. Babson pounced on the loose ball and the forwards marched ever close rto the tryline before lock Brice Muller stretched over.

Reed Santos was good on the conversion and the senior flyhalf was brilliant throughout this game, keeping heads cool and the momentum hot.

Santos looked to use the boot to pin Catholic back and it was a smart move because they were still trying to run out of their own 22. A turnover and quickly Santos drew a defender and set up center Jack Byszio to scamper in and around under the posts. Soon the same story told itself as Byszio punished another turnover to go over. Suddenly it was 19-0.

Catholic started to put a few things together after that but they were having a tough time winning their lineouts. Their scrums were solid but all Babson had to do was kick to touch and either steal the throw through Dash Scura (jumping unaided mind you) or force a not-straight. If the throw wasn’t straight, Babson would take the lineout and win it to launch another attack.

Santos began testing Catholic with attacking kicks. One almost produced a try for the flyhalf, and moments later a perfectly-weighted kick was there for wing Kyle Wilson to chase down. Kick good and it was 26-0 at halftime.

The rain had come in earnest by then but neither team seemed to notice it. Thankfully the lightning stayed away and the teams toughed it out. Catholic, however, was not done gifting tries. A won ruck saw the ball roll out of the breakdown and sit there. Babson players swarmed in to claim it and wing Tacina Ndiya was through two desperate defenders and in from over 50 meters.

From there Babson opened it up, bringing players off to get some key rest with the game won, and the reserves didn’t ease up. They had learned their lesson from the Endicott game.

“Endicott,” said Byszio after the game, “did us a favor. That kept us going in this game. We were scared of that happening again.”

“Every time after we score, we always sit it’s zero-zero,” said lock Kehinde Adenle. “It’s a new beginning, a new start, so go hard, [then] play hard again.”

While Byszio was player of the game and Santos ran the attack masterfully, scrumhalf and former Key Biscayne Rat Axel Nino was vocal and kept the forwards on-task, and those forwards got a big game from hooker Chase Montgomery as well as the usual suspects Muller, Scura, Adenle (who was monstrous), and No. 8 Charlie Price.