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RPI Plans to Shake Up D2 ... Again

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RPI Plans to Shake Up D2 ... Again

RPI vs Marist while a loss was a key statement by RPI. Photo RPI Rugby.

RPI laid down ... maybe not a marker, but a warning this past weekend in a close loss to Marist.

The Engineers fell short 12-10 to the Red Foxes, leaving Marist undefeated, but with the conference playoffs looming, RPI could shake things up.

With Ray Santiago bringing back even more expertise after his tour with the Atlantic Coast All Stars, and Head Coach Andrew Denson having them play a fast and physical defense, RPI is building on something. With Jack Farrar playing smartly at flyhalf and forwards working well around Santiago. Senior flanker Bennard Amponsah is excellent defensively and freshman prop Daniel Walls has been an outstanding addition. In the backs sophomore fullback Quinten Pienaar can play pretty much anywhere in the backline.  Overall, this is an RPI team that has a plan.

"When the mens team decided they wanted to jump ship to the Liberty Conference, I knew it would not only give us brand new competition, but also potentially open the doors for more exposure to some of our players," said Denson. "The team is very defensive heavy and has really bought into the team mentality of shutting down opponents on the defensive side of the ball and doing what we need to do on the attacking side to win the game. In our two losses this season against two very good teams, we were able to neutralize the attack for long periods of time and we are hoping with film sessions and adjustments we are able to adjust for when we inevitably run into either Marist or Cornell in the conference playoffs."

Ah yes, the playoffs. It looks like Cornell and Marist, who have both beaten RPI, will be #1 and #2 (they play each other this coming Sunday. RPI, now at 2-2, is likely favored to finish up 3-2. Somewhere in there Albany or Oswego (whose game against each other was called off) will be #4.

So RPI will face the loser of next week's Marist vs Cornell game. They expect to be an improved side when they do. 

"We as a team understand that people looking at just the scores will be unenthusiastic about us and we let that fuel us to do what we need to do, and that is to qualify for Nationals," said Denson. "It will be an uphill battle, but RPI has historically exceeded national expectations. We know that we will have our doubters moving forward, but we just block out the noise and continue on our mission."