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Rowan Wins MARC

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Rowan Wins MARC

Rowan University won the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Rugby Conference championship with a 32-17 defeat of York Sunday.

York pulled off a slight upset on Saturday in the semis, defeated IUP 39-22. It was a bit of a shocker to IUP given that Indiana had won the earlier meeting of the two teams 29-22. But York got up early and kept the pressure on. Rowan, meanwhile, took care of Scranton 50-7. 

On Sunday, Rowan had the run of play mostly thanks to attention to the field position game. With a solid kicking game and a good chase that put York under pressure, Rowan was able to force York to play on a long field.

“York came at us pretty hard,” said Rowan co-captain Mike Ehrlich. “But we expected that. We made them start their attacks from inside their 22 and once we got the ball back we worked our forwards up the middle and then got it out to the speed on the wings.”

Simple enough, but it did take a while. York led 12-8 going into halftime. Rowan slotted a penalty goal to make it 12-11, but York scored again early in the second half to lead 17-11. It wasn’t until later in the game that Rowan was able to take the lead.

“We were calm,” said Ehrlich. “We’ve been behind before. We are a strong second-half team and we just needed it all to kick in.”

Scrumhalf Justin Daisy was outstanding, popping up box kicks over the York defense, and also scoring a try. Out wide, the Rowan wings and fullback, Matt Bettin, James Higginbotham, and Vinny DiGirolamo, all got on the scoresheet.

So Rowan is the MARC champion and the New Jersey school goes straight to the national Round of 16, and will play either Grand Valley State or Illinois State.

York has a 1st-round game against Rugby Northeast winners Bentley.