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Norwich Beats UMass Lowell, Takes Top Seed In RNE

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Norwich Beats UMass Lowell, Takes Top Seed In RNE

Senior Nate Rolling scored three tries on Senior Day to lead the Norwich University men's rugby team to a 42-24 victory over previously unbeaten UMass Lowell in the Rugby Northeast regular season finale.

Norwich, which lost its opening league game 11-10 to Bentley, still did enough to take the regular season top spot—the close loss to Bentley helping with a bonus point—after the win and will take the #1 seed into the four-team playoffs in two weeks.

Rolling scored Norwich's first two tries of the game, the first about a minute into the game, and the next one seven minutes later. Travis Bartniski added to that and Jeffrey Minicucci's conversion made it 17-0 about about 12 minutes. Michael Del's try, with the Minicucci conversion, made it 24-0 before Lowell was able to get on the scoreboard. Shawn Sweeny scored his first of two tries on the day with about ten minutes to go in the first half. Norwich was also assessed a yellow card on the play which forced the Cadets to play a man down for the remainder of the first half.

The River Hawks were unable to capitalize on Norwich being a player down, and in fact it was Cadet Kyle Clark who scored just before the break to make it 29-7.

Senior Sims Bostic extended the Norwich lead before UMass Lowell added two quick tries, with Sweeny and then Kyle MacPhee cruising in.

Rolling replied, however, stealing and ball and taking it in from long range. UMass Lowell's Ryan Jones capped the scoring with a try in the final two minutes to make it 42-24. 

"We're just trying to get better every day," said Norwich Head Coach Bob Weggler.

The result is Lowell's first regular-season loss of the season, and it means Lowell plays Bentley in one semifinal, while Norwich will face #4 Providence in the other semi.