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A Nod To History As Notre Dame Edges Syracuse

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A Nod To History As Notre Dame Edges Syracuse

Notre Dame captain Mike Matarazzo, John Mauro, Syracuse captain Dermot Heavy, referee Matt Lake.

Notre Dame defeated Syracuse 40-31 Thursday night in a DIA crossover

The coin toss was performed by John Mauro, who played for Notre Dame in the 1960s. Mauro first played rugby for the Fighting Irish in 1962, and then as a graduate student at Syracuse, he founded the Syracuse University Rugby Football Club. He went on to found the first men's club in Syracuse and was instrumental in founding the Upstate NY Rugby Union.

As you can see from the photo above, Mauro showed his divided loyalties on his jersey, as he sported the colors of both teams.

Syracuse got on the board first with flyhalf Sam Low hitting a penalty kick in the 4th minute. Notre Dame would take the lead by running off a string of three tries by, with Mike Matarazzo, Gabe O’Hara, and Connor Grace all going over. All of the tries were converted by flyhalf Leo Fangmeyer.

Up 21-3, Notre Dame appeared in control. But then Syracuse fullback Jean Eric Van der Elst picked off a pass near his own 22 and was off 80 meters to score under the posts. That made it 21-10 at halftime.

In the second half, the teams traded momentum. The Irish got the half started with an unconverted try by inside center Joe Rombalaski. Syracuse fought back with converted tries by hooker Aiden Kelly and No. 8 Sam Ceaderwell to make it Notre Dame 26, Syracuse 24 with 20 minutes to go.

The Irish needed a try to regain momentum, and of course it was Matarazzo who provided it, going over ith ten minutes to go. Lock Takunda Ushe extended the Notre Dame lead to 40-24 before Syracuse flanker Matt Kennelly scored to finish the game 40-31.

While both sides were playing on just three days rest, they put forth an entertaining and high-paced effort.