Men’s Rugby: Norwich faces Queens University of Charlotte in USA Rugby Division II Round of 16

Men’s Rugby: Norwich faces Queens University of Charlotte in USA Rugby Division II Round of 16

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich University men's rugby team makes its third straight appearance in the USA Rugby Division II National Tournament this weekend when it travels to Greenville, N.C. to take on Queens University of Charlotte in the Round of 16 at East Carolina University. 

Norwich (8-1, 6-0 Rugby Northeast) earned the No. 4 seed for the national tournament after winning its third straight conference title two weekends ago with a 35-0 win over Bentley University in the Rugby Northeast title game. The Cadets also bested UMass Lowell 19-13 in the semifinals en route to their second straight Rugby Northeast crown. Norwich also won the New England Collegiate Rugby Conference (NECRC) title in its last year of existence in 2016. 

"We are looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead this weekend, attending our third consecutive Sweet Sixteen," said NU head coach Bob Weggler. "I am so proud of the team's development throughout the fall, especially after graduating 18 seniors and 10 starters." 

Queens University of Charlotte brings a 6-4 overall record into Saturday's matchup and is coming off a 36-31 victory over Furman University in the play-in round last Saturday. Queens finished third in the perennially strong Cardinals Conference to qualify for the national tournament. 

Norwich is led junior Nathan Rolling, who has scored a team-leading 15 tries through nine games. Freshmen Travis Bartniski and Mac Nagel, as well as senior Joshua Johnson each have five tries. Austin Manhey has four tries on the season, while Joshua Knoll and Korbin Wayton have three each. 

Junior Jeffrey Minicucci has accounted for 91 points in the kicking game with 38 successful conversions and five penalty kicks. Norwich has scored 53 total tries this season through nine games.

Queens received tries from Jordan Memea, Jacob Morris, Decor Davis, Doyle Hedgepeth, Lebo Ngwenya, and Stanton Johnson vs. Furman. Ngwenya also tallied three conversions in the win. 

Queens led 19-10 at halftime and rallied late after trailing 31-29 in the final 10 minutes. 

Queens beat VMI 38-34 in the third place game in the Cardinals Conference Tournament. VMI ended Norwich's bid at the national championship in last year's semifinals with a thrilling double-overtime sudden death victory. 

Queens has outscored its opponents 359-227 this season in their 10 matches. Five of their matches have come against teams in the USA Rugby Division II National Tournament with North Carolina State, VMI twice, Virginia State and Furman University. 

No. 5 seed Villanova will take on No. 12 Marquette in the other Northeast Regional matchup on Saturday. Villanova won the Mid-Atlantic Conference with a perfect 9-0 record, while Marquette is 9-1 and finished as the Great Midwest Rugby Conference runner up to two-time reigning national champion UW-Whitewater. Marquette beat Ferris State 39-24 in the play-in round last Saturday. 

The Norwich/Queens match and the Villanova/Marquette match will both begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday with the winners to meet at 1 p.m. on Sunday in the national quarterfinals. 

There will be two other regionals taking place at East Carolina University this weekend as well with Mid-Atlantic and South Regionals also set to be contested. No. 2-seed North Carolina State leads the South Regional and will take on SUNY Geneseo, while UNC Charlotte takes on William Patterson in the other South regional semifinal. 

North Dakota State is the No. 3 overall seed and will face Iowa Central in the Mid-Atlantic Regional, while Vermont takes on Virginia State in the other semifinal.

USA Rugby D-II National Tournament History

2017 Fall

Greenville SC

UW-Whitewater
 VMI
 Norwich
North Dakota State

2016 Fall

Greenville SC

UW-Whitewater
 Furman
 Norwich
 Minnesota-Duluth

2015 Fall

Greenville SC

Minnesota-Duluth

UW-Whitewater

Towson & Salisbury

 

2014 Fall

Greenville SC

Minnesota-Duluth

UW-Whitewater

Notre Dame College

James Madison

2013 Fall

Greenville SC

Minnesota-Duluth

Salisbury

UW-Whitewater & James Madison

2013 Spring

Bowling Green OH

Salisbury

Minnesota-Duluth

Towson & IUP

2012

Sandy UT

Lindenwood

Salisbury

Utah Valley & Towson

2011

Pittsburgh PA

UW-Whitewater

Middlebury

Salisbury & Sierra College

2010

Palo Alto CA

Claremont

Temple

Miami (OH) & UMass

2009

Palo Alto CA

Middlebury

Wisconsin

Georgetown & Miami (OH)

2008

Palo Alto CA

Radford

Utah Valley

Coast Guard & Middlebury

2007

Palo Alto CA

Middlebury

Arkansas State

Coast Guard & Salisbury

2006

Palo Alto CA

Coast Guard

Northern Colorado

Claremont Colleges & Humboldt State

2005

Palo Alto CA

Northern Colorado

Humboldt State

Georgetown & Michigan

2004

Palo Alto CA

Salisbury

Arkansas State

Claremont Colleges & Coast Guard

2003

San Jose CA

Radford

Northern Colorado

Claremont Colleges & Santa Rosa

2002

Virginia Beach VA

Stanford

Northern Iowa

Salisbury & Sam Houston State

2001

Virginia Beach VA

Baylor

Arkansas State

Claremont Colleges & Nevada

2000

Columbus OH

Sacramento State

Claremont Colleges

Northern Colorado

Colby

1999

Cincinnati OH

UC San Diego

Chico State

Northern Colorado

Colby

1998

Clifton Park NY

UC San Diego

Oregon

Salisbury

Central Conn.