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NDC, St. Bonaventure to NCR D1 Final

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NDC, St. Bonaventure to NCR D1 Final

St. Bonaventure met NDC already this year. Alex Goff photo.

It's an all-Rugby East NCR D1 final and an all-Kentucky NCR D1AA final.

We'll get to Kentucky and Louisville in another article. In D1, St. Bonaventure got a last-second penalty goal to beat Brown 15-13 in their semifinal.

Bonnies played superb defense on the day but it was their attack that made the first impression—slick ball handling putting Eddie Nelson in before three minutes were up. The Brown forwards answered well and threatened the SBU line, eventually settling for a penalty goal. 

After that the scoring slowed down as both teams did well to disrupt the other. It wasn't until the opening moments of the second half that we saw the second try. St. Bonaventure got that one, too. With a Brown player in the sin bin for an intentional knock-on, Bonnies scored off a lineout and a series of forward surges that ended with James Aitkne powering over the line.

Down 12-3 Brown responded just a few minutes later with the forwards finishing it off. That made it 12-10 and the game remained that way from the 50th minute until the 78th. Finally Brown took the lead with a penalty from Raphael Lansonneur.

With time almost up and down 13-12 St. Bonaventure got the ball back off the restart and eventually got a penalty for diving on the ball in the ruck. It was un unnecessary penalty as all Brown needed to do was defend patiently, rather than force the push to steal the ball back.

Wing Noah Edwards put the ball right through, and that was the last play of the game.

Notre Dame College unleashed their stifling defense which did well to contain the Indiana attack. Cam Mills crashed over for the opening try, and then some good work from Ashawnty Staples and Asher Hannon led to quick hands that put No. 8 Marcus Van Vuuren to score in the corner.

A third try near the midpoint of the second half put NDC in control 19-3; Indiana opted for another penalty goal. The support work from NDC was very good and they got another try to lead 26-6.

Indiana did score a try, but they couldn't get any closer.

So NDC and St. Bonaventure play once more. The two teams played earlier in the season with NDC winning 28-19 at home. The final promises to be a very different atmosphere.