Who Won What D2 Conference Finals
Who Won What D2 Conference Finals
We have conference champions decided in men's D2.
Northern Iowa continued its astonishing run of results, beating Wisconsin-Whitewater 93-5 in the Great Midwest final.
In the four conference games as well as semifinals and final, Northern Iowa has outscored their opposition 520-30, an average of 87-5. No one has come close to this team. They have to be a #1 seed in the NCR Round of 16. Loyola won convincingly over Northwestern to take 3rd.
Maine defeated Norwich 17-15 to win the NEWCRC. Clearly this is a tight conference, especially at the top. It is highly likely Norwich will get a play-in.
In a game that was much more defensive-minded than either team had been used to, Norwich opened up the scoring with a penalty goal and extended that lead to 8-0 late in the first half. But as halftime approached, Maine got a try from center Shea Wagner off a backline move launched from a lineout, and with the conversion it was 8-7 at 40 minutes.
Wagner would later be shown a yellow card for a high tackle and right after that Norwich scored their second try to lead 15-7. As the game wore on, Maine got closer with a converted try from flyhalf Jonathan Williams. Now down by a point again, Maine pressured and at 74 minutes the Black Bears got a kickable penalty and Wagner put it over. Norwich had a chance to regain the lead late, but were held out.
IUP beat Miami 75-5 in impressive fashion. The Crimson Hawks' attack was really firing this weekend—they have been playing some fine attacking rugby but the connections were especially good in the Allegheny final.
Marist defeated an improved Albany 36-19 to win the Liberty. The game was tied at halftime and Marist had to work for it.
"They kicked well, they pressured well in defense," said Marist Head Coach James Kimberly. "Credit to Albany, a much improved team. Not our best effort and a lot of points left on the field but the kids played really hard rugby in the second half."
Marist scored through freshman hooker Christian Carlson. Albany tied It up about 10 minutes later on a quick tap, and then punished a Marist mistake to pounce on a loose ball and take a 12-7 lead. Marist came back after that Prop Christian Gregor scored on the final play of the first half.
Marist took the initiative in the second half.
"We came out with a renewed energy and controlled the pace for the next 20 minutes," said Kimberly.
Flanker Tomas Falcon was hugely influential. Freshman wing Gino Carusone tapped quickly on a penalty to score. A well-executed counterattack on an Albany kick put Gregor in for his second for Marist.
Albany intercepted a pass to get within a try before Marist flyhalf Ryker Wierdsma kicked a penalty and No. 8 TJ Finegan scored the final try. Marist ran the close out after that.
"Proud to have won the first Liberty Championship," said Kimberly. Marist was previously in the Tri-State Conference, which was treated as a lesser conference in NCR's and, before that, USA Rugby's seeding. So to go 7-0 as a former Tri-State team was a big thing for Marist. "I didn’t know what to expect with this group but they have worked hard. I’m hoping Albany gets a shot at a play in, they are a different team now and they are a tough out."
Georgetown defeated Villanova in a bit of a barnburner 48-37 to win the MARC. The Georgetown forwards were very good and No. 8 Aubrey Aird scored three tries. Flyhalf Gavin Brady showed poise and patience in running the attack.
Both teams were strong offensively and there were several breakaways. But when it came down to it, Georgetown's pack and they discipline saw them through.
Scranton took third in the conference with a 25-15 win over UMBC.
UNC Wilmington won their last game of the SoCon season to finish up 4-0, beating Appalachian State 39-5. So UNC-W is into the national playoffs.
It was a strong overall team effort, said Head Coach Jim Wiseman.
"We have a great combination this year of upperclassmen who have been playing together in this system coupled with four players who all played HS rugby with the local HS team at Cape Fear," said the coach. "Having them be able to walk in and start playing with a complete understanding of what we are doing has been a testament to some of the current college side players and coaches working with the HS team throughout the year."
No. 8 Jacob Thornberry led the way with four tries while scrumhalf Marshall Wiseman, fullback Carey Cortes, and wing Ayden Reddick also touched down. Flyhalf Ryan Swan did well controlling the game with his tactical kicking and his decision-making, while and team captain and hooker Robby Queen was a workhorse, especially defensively and lead the charge against a strong Appalachian State pack.
Straight to Round of 16: IUP, St. Louis University, Northern Iowa, Montana State, Marist, Georgetown, Maine, Memphis, UNC-Wilmington
Play-Ins: Virginia, Grand Valley State, MSU Mankato
Probable Play-ins: Norwich, Vermont, UW-Whitewater, Villanova, Coastal Carolina, USMMA
Possible Play-ins: Scranton, Loyola, Albany, Central Michigan, Miami