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RPI Resurgent - Tri State Playoffs Latest

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RPI Resurgent - Tri State Playoffs Latest

RPI is into the semifinals of the Tri-State Conference after defeating the US Merchant Marine Academy.

That win followed on from an impressive victory over Sacred Heart which signaled that RPI might be back to the level of 2015, when the Engineers won the conference. Last year, RPI made the playoffs, but the team’s depth was poor, meaning everyone had to be healthy and available for the team to play its best.

“This year we’ve got a couple of new kids,” said Raymond Lanzillo. “We’ve got some pretty talented freshmen, and a couple of kids studying abroad here, and it’s really helped.”

Will Joyce is an experienced player from the UK and he has stepped in ably at flyhalf, and he has combined nicely with Cody Waldecker at scrumhalf. Waldecker was a wing last season, but has found a home in the #9 jersey. Joyce’s experience and knowledge of the game has helped.

As for the freshmen, several have come in as starters despite not playing rugby before arriving at RPI.

“They have picked up the game really quickly,” said Lanzillo. “A lot come from other sports. We have tried hard to teach them the game and the ideology of rugby and they’ve taken to it really well.”

Leading the way this past weekend was center Gunter Hubert, who scored three tries, broke the gain line repeatedly, and was a terror on defense.

“He played an outstanding game,” said Lanzillo. But the key to RPI’s success has been numbers, not just one or two players.

Sacred Heart was pretty disheartened to lose that game against RPI and that put the team into an away playoff game. But Sacred Heart won on the road against Molloy to move on. 

“Despite losing 14 seniors from last year’s team, I believe we can repeat,” said Sacred Heart Head Coach Ray Peterson. “The game we lost to RPI was the worst game we’ve played in two years.”

Marist upset William Paterson 39-29.  Inside center Thomas Jones scored four tries on the day and seems to bring his scoring touch whenever Marist plays ranked teams.

“This is my first year with the team and it is very exciting,” said Coach James Kimberly. 

Marist took an early lead with a Thomas Jones breakaway try inside 5 minutes. Prop Chris Moscatello punched in another, and then flyhalf Owen Diaz scored on a short break midway through the first half. Jones scored his seconds to make it 22-0.

WP rebounded nicely in the second half, but Jones and Diaz put the game away in wet, cold conditions.

Siena edged Seton Hall 22-17 to finish out the final four.