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NEWCRC Playoff Matchups Settled, We Think

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NEWCRC Playoff Matchups Settled, We Think

UMass-Lowell is unbeaten. Denise Sweeny photo

We have the Men's DII College brackets for National Collegiate Rugby, and a better idea of who will go where.

The New England Wide will have three seeds into the playoffs, and right now it's looking like Norwich is in the driver's seat. The cadets shut out a very good Coast Guard team 46-0 with two tries each from prop Arthur Martinez and No. 8 Jack Tellifson and yet another outstanding defensive performance. That put Norwich at 5-0.

UMass-Lowell edged Vermont 31-26 to move to 5-0 and drop UVM to 3-2, which is the same record as that of Coast Guard.

"Their offense moved the ball much better than previous teams this season," said Lowell Head Coach Steve Diamantopulous. "Our forwards won the game for us; they lost only one scrum all game. All the credit has to go to [our] former Head Coach Josh Skinner, who has been working with the forwards relentlessly."

Things we working so well for Lowell that when a restart didn't go ten meters, instead of asking for the scrum, Vermont asked for a rekick. This was because the scrum just wasn't going their way at all. That is something that Diamantopulous said he hadn't seen in all his time coaching.

Freshman fullback Brady Dore was very effective on the day.

"I'm very proud of this team, but we know our job isn't done and there is room to improve," said Diamantopulous.

Providence, which beat Coast Guard 12-6 but dropped a 33-22 decision to Sacred Heart a week later, beat Boston University 26-12 and also improved to 3-2.

Captain Niall McStay had another big game, playing superbly in the lineout and not only setting a platform but disrupting BU possession. Meanwhile, No. 8 Christian Larsen was a force again, scoring two tries. The second was huge because it put Providence over the threshold for four tries and the bonus point. The Friars had camped out on the Terriers' line and could not break through the defense. Finally Larsen found his way over.

So because of that try Providence and Coast Guard are tied at 3-2 with 15 standings points. The tiebreaker is head-to-head, which puts Providence in second place over CGA.

So the semis will be Providence vs UMass-Lowell and Norwich vs Vermont. The top three will move on to the national playoffs; the NEWCRC #1 will play the top teams from the Allegheny, the #2 team will have the unenviable task of facing the Great Midwest #1, and the #3 team will play off with the Tri-State #1 for a spot in the final 16, where the winner will meet the MARC #1.