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Spacing Still Available at Atlantis ID Camp, But Going Fast

Brendan O'Neill offloads as Shaun Burgos tackles him. Photo Corey Velazquez.

Nazareth won a clash of 2-0 teams in the Liberty Conference Empire Division Saturday, holding off a determined Binghamton squad 37-29.

Binghamton went into the game with some injuries to a couple of starters, which really just opened up opportunities for younger players. Still, Binghamton struggled with discipline issues and those penalties were quickly punished by Nazareth, Freshman Brendan O'Neill slotted two penalty goals  early on and then converted Tyreik Thomas's try for a 13-0 Nazareth lead after 14 minutes.

Binghamton was able to regain some composure and flyhalf Peter Klopp touched down just a couple of minutes after the restart. Once again, thought, penalties hurt Binghamton. They were offside, and O'Neill put over his third penalty goal midway through the first half.

Binghamton answered on the next possession with a try from flanker Jake Flynn, but once again they hurt themselves. At 28 minutes, rookie fullback Cody McEvoy was sin-binned for a tip tackle. Nazareth, however, was unable to make the man advantage work for them, and it was Binghamton that scored, with lock Dan Ahern powering through. Scrumhalf Mike Davitt converted and suddenly Binghamton was in the lead 17-16. The try was the result of some smart tactical shifts by Binghamton, and they built on that.

After halftime, Klopp was over for his second and Davitt converted for a 24-16 Binghamton lead. But injuries kicked up and Binghamton found themselves in a bit of defensive disarray as they handled the substitutions.

Nazareth capitalized, with O'Neill racing in at 47 minutes and Steven Beck going in at the 58th. O'Neill was good on both conversions and now Nazareth had the lead back at 30-24. Binghamton replied with flanker Trent Wechsler going over to make it a one-point game at 30-29. But that's as close as Binghamton would get, as handling errors stymied their chances and for Nazareth O'Neill set up Kyle Decker for the icer. O'Neill, who would log 22 points on the day, kicked the conversions, and that was it: Nazareth 37, Binghamton 29.

Nazareth is now 3-0 in conference player, while Binghamton drops to 2-1. This was an enjoyable and well-played game, and we could see these two teams form a nice rivalry.

"Players are becoming more and more comfortable as we play at the D1A level week-in and week-out," said Nazareth Head Coach Taye Daniel-Ayibiowu. "Myself and the rest of the coaching staff of James Riley and Michael Larrabee have focuses these past few weeks  on player development, skills, and making sure everyone from player 1 to player 30 is comfortable within their respected roles. We are clicking when it matters as we head into October."

Backs David Guzman (scrumhalf) and Beck (who scored a try at fullback) were back from injury and that certainly gave Nazareth a boost. O'Neill's ability to get full value for pressure, as well as his territorial kicking, was critical.

Around the Liberty Conference

Also in Liberty, Boston College finally got into a conference game and dealt UConn a bit of a reality check. The Huskies were 2-0 going into the game and BC shut them out 48-0. Fergus O'Hoisin was another flyhalf who controlled the field well. He scored one a breakaway and added five conversions for 15 points, while Connor Robinson scored three tries for the Eagles.

SUNY Oswego shook off losing at the death against Nazareth to put Brockport to the sword 31-5. It was a good performance for Oswego as they look ahead to Buffalo next week.

Fordham held off Colgate 24-17. Syracuse remained unbeaten now at 2-0 with a 51-24 defeat of Cortland. Northeast also won big, defeating Tufts 53-7. The huskies broke through the Tufts defense repeatedly and look in good shape in the New England division. Right behind them is Fairfield, which won over UMass but failed to get the four-try bonus point.

Next Week ...

Next week 22 Liberty teams are in conference action. Iona looks to build on its lead. We won't see AIC (who lost to Yale last weekend and play Kutztown this weekend) until October 7 when they take on Iona. That could be a division-clincher for the Gaels. Northeastern vs Fairfield is a meeting of two 2-0 teams. Syracuse vs Binghamton is also a big one.

10/1 Iona at Stony Brook Liberty MetNY
10/2 Rhode Island at Boston College LIberty NE
10/2 Northeastern at Fairfield LIberty NE
10/2 UMass at Tufts LIberty NE
10/2 SUNY Brockport at Colgate Liberty Empire
10/2 Albany at Fordham Liberty MetNY
10/2 Binghamton at Syracuse Liberty Empire
10/2 Cortland at Nazareth Liberty Empire
10/2 Oswego at U. at Buffalo Liberty Empire
10/7 Iona at AIC Liberty MetNY
10/8 Stony Brook at Fordham Liberty MetNY

Standings

Liberty-Empire W L T PF PA PD BT BL Pts
Nazareth 3 0 0 86 72 14 2 0 14
Binghamton 2 1 0 90 59 31 3 0 11
Syracuse 2 0 0 115 29 86 2 0 10
Buffalo 1 1 0 60 42 18 1 1 6
Oswego State 1 2 0 48 57 -9 1 1 6
Brockport 0 3 0 36 126 -90 1 1 2
Cortland 0 2 0 39 89 -50 1 0 1
                   
Liberty-MetNY W L T PF PA PD BT BL Pts
Iona 2 0 0 84 28 56 2 0 10
Stony Brook 1 0 0 34 5 29 1 0 5
Fordham 1 1 0 40 53 -13 1 0 5
Colgate 0 2 0 29 72 -43 0 1 1
American International 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Albany 0 1 0 5 34 -29 0 0 0
                   
Liberty-New England W L T PF PA PD BT BL Pts
Northeastern 2 0 0 120 12 108 2 0 10
Fairfield 2 0 0 75 14 61 1 0 9
UConn 2 1 0 41 58 -17 1 0 9
Rhode Island 0 1 0 10 15 -5 0 1 1
Boston College 1 0 0 48 0 48 1 0 0
Tufts 0 2 0 14 107 -93 0 0 0
UMass 0 3 0 12 114 -102 0 0 0