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Bowl Win Caps Solid Binghamton Fall

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Bowl Win Caps Solid Binghamton Fall

Binghamton celebrates the win at Iona in the Bowl Series. Photo Alex Goff.

SUNY Binghamton won the Empire Conference, but school schedules precluded a trip to the DIAA playoffs - no matter, there’s a Bowl Series game to be won, instead.

Binghamton took on Loyola of Maryland in the final game of the Bowl Series Sunday, taking on a national playoff NSCRO squad that had dominated their conference. The game started out well for Binghamton, which sent prop Nick Coppola surging through the line for a try, and then added a conversion and a penalty from flyhalf Brandon Healy for a 10-0 lead.

But Loyola, paced by some big runners, including power-running No. 8 James Cahill and shifty center Patrick Frick, stormed back and made a game of it. Flyhalf Danny Giannascoli showed some good vision, Loyola’s first try came courtesy of a muffed Binghamton lineout and a snappy cleanup at the back. 

Loyola dominated field position for a good portion of the rest of the first half, helped along by a few errant kicks. 

“It was pretty hard playing hard against the wind,” said Binghamton’s Healy, who missed touch a couple of times. “I was trying to get it out and down the field and I either couldn’t get it down the field card enough, or couldn’t get it to touch. And we started realizing we had to play with the ball more and use a couple of forward plays to set up plays on the outside to get out of our own half.”

And it worked. Using the forwards to bust up the middle, Binghamton also got good running from center Greg Lenane, and then Healy popped a pass to center Matt Richards who raced in under the posts.

Loyola replied with some pressure and an eightman pick from Cahill. But they failed to press their advantage when an intercepted pass put them right back on the Binghamton line, they couldn’t get that go-ahead score.

With the wind in the second half, Binghamton started to roll. Coppolla, a thick-legged prop with excellent passing and running skills. was hugely influential, while Healy started to have the time to read the game and set up his teammates. Lenane scored multiple tries, and Binghamton won 52-27.

The week before, Binghamton had lost to AIC 110-0. The game was a blowout early and Head Coach Kevin Dublin ran in the subs and saw the score balloon from there.

After the game, Dublin met with the captains, but didn’t really rehash the game much more than that.

“We didn’t talk about it as a team,” he said. “We just got back to training and looked ahead to this game. Sometimes you just have to move on and focus on the next thing.” 

And that’s what they did. They entered the game with enthusiasm and a positive approach, and they ended it with a comfortable victory.

For Healy, it was a frustration to deal with the wind in the first half, but in the second he got things going, not just with his goalkicking, but his overall game.

“I know when I came in as a freshman we didn’t have a lot of kickers and I thought I could contribute with that. The forwards do so much of the work but I can help the team that way and it’s extremely important,” said the flyhalf. “Losing to AIC was rough. I think we were on a bit of a high from winning the [Empire] Championship. But you can’t win games if you don’t make tackles, and they’re an unbelievable team. We realized this was the last 15s game of the season for us and show we can come back.

“This was an awesome experience for us. We had guys here for the college fair. We’re trying to put Binghamton Rugby on the map, and it was a great experience for us to keep building.

See full game footage of Binghamton v Loyola here: