GLENDALE, Colo. - The Norwich University men's rugby team put forth a dominant 3-0 effort on Day 1 of the 2018 USA Rugby Division II College 7s National Championships to win its pool and advance to the quarterfinal round on Saturday.
Norwich downed North Texas 26-7, Saint Louis 24-7 and Hartford 17-5 to win its pool and clinch a spot in Saturday's quarterfinal round. Tomorrow will mark the first time Norwich advanced to the knockout stage of the tournament after the Cadets fell one spot short last year and finish ninth after a 1-2 pool play round.
The Cadets left no doubt this time though as they rode a balanced offense to three victories on the day.
After falling behind 7-0 vs. North Texas, Norwich rattled off 26 straight points. Nate Rolling got things going with a try 2:53 intot he first half after a long run from beyond midfield to score. North Texas was then hit with a yellow card at the 4:35 mark and Korbin Wayton pushed the lead to 12-7 with a successful Keegan Frick conversion just seven seconds after the card was issued.
Anthony Candrilli opened the second half with a score at the 9:37 mark and then Brendan Johnson capped the scoring with a try and successful conversion from Frick to make it a 26-7 final.
Norwich took a 5-0 lead in the second game behind a try from Eli Henderson 2:30 into the match. However, Saint Louis responded with a converted try to go up 7-5. Norwich answered at the 4:40 mark with a converted try by Candrilli and kick by Frick to take a 12-7 lead. Henderson notched his second try of the day on the final play of the half to push the lead to 17-7.
Austin Manhey added a second half try with a conversion from Frick to cap the scoring and give Norwich a 24-7 lead.
In the final game of the day, the Cadets battled Hartford to determine the winner of the pool after both teams came in 2-0.
Hartford controlled possession early, but the Hawks were unable to make any progress as Norwich backed them up in the shadow of their own goalpost. The Cadets capitalized on a turnover with Will Rambin scoring to make it 5-0 Norwich at the 4:30 mark. Alejandro Galea upped the lead to 10-0 with another try at the 6:00 minuite mark.
Frick and Rolling had superb efforts to lead to Jay Inzenga try to open the second half scoring at the 8:20 mark and push the lead to 17-0. Hartford scored an unconverted try on the final play of the game to cut the deficit to 17-5.
Norwich earned the No. 3 seed for the quarterfinal round and will now face No. 6 Bloomsburg, who finished second in UW-Whitewater's pool. The defending champion Warhawks earned the No. 1 seed and will face Old Dominion in the quarterfinals, while second seed UNC Charlotte takes on Principia. Hartford faces off against North Carolina State in the final quarterfinal matchup.
The Cadets kickoff at 2:20 p.m. eastern and 4:20 local time in Colorado. All matches can be streamed live on www.therugbychannel.tv