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DII Round of 16 Wrapup

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DII Round of 16 Wrapup

Norwich's defense was also strong. Alex Goff photo.

We’re down to eight teams in the Men’s DII college playoffs, and varsity programs held sway in several of the Friday Round 0of 16 games.

Norwich defeated a tough IUP team 36-5, playing a dynamic and aggressive style that pushed to get the ball around to the edge.

IUP did not use the wind very effectively in the first half at the South Jersey Rugby Club field in Cherry Hill, NJ, and tried to counter Norwich with physicality in contact.

“We didn’t want to play crash-it-up rugby but that’s what we ended up doing,” lamented IUP Head Coach Seth Erwin. 

IUP certainly had their moments, but Norwich met them hit for hit, handled the kicking game a little bit better, and finished far stronger. Leo Clayburgh scored two tries and kicked three conversions for 16 points.

“We started off with a lot of penalties and we ruined a lot of opportunities,” said Clayburgh. “But once we focused in the game in that second half penalties dropped and we put like 27 points on the scoreboard.”

Georgetown took care of Marist 51-12 and once again the wind was part of the story. Marist, said Head Coach James Kimberly, had trouble making the wind work for them, but by then it was too late. Georgetown had the breeze mostly at their backs in the first period and ran out to a lead and held on.

“It was a good effort by everrybody; we used the wind in the first half and in the second half kept it tight,” said Georgetown Coach Arno van der Spek. “We still had mistakes, dropping the ball in the wind. We need to clean up those unforced errors.”

Adrian ran by UNC-Charlotte 43-12 in Knoxville, Tenn. and in fact led 24-7 at halftime, really controlling things from the outset. Seven different Bulldogs scored tries: Macgregor Adams, Lolohea Fanua, Guido Fittipaldi, Ethan Schroeder, Sione Mamata, Petelo Vatuvei, and Sione Fotu.

Illinois State defeated UMass Lowell in the closest game of the day, 29-25. The Great Midwest champs are not varsity (unlike Norwich and Adrian) and in fact are essentially player coached.

Marian, another new varsity program, beat UNC-Wilmington 53-26. It was a windy day for these two teams and the game itself was tight in the first half as the teams changed ends 27-19. But the second half Marian exploded for 26 points and only allowed the one UNCW try. Clay Peters scored two tries and Lucas Pacheco added one, with Max Hendry adding four conversions. All six try-scorers plus Hendry are freshmen.

Minnesota-Duluth, which hasn’t played a lot of games, looked sufficiently seasoned with a 43-34 defeat of Gateway champs Principia. Sunday they will play Thomas More, which defeated Marquette 56-20. 

Marian will play Northern Iowa, which hammered Virginia 61-5. Back to full strength UNI was explosive and were able to unleash their potent backline.