GREENVILLE, N.C. - The Norwich University men's rugby team dropped a 29-26 heartbreaker to Queens University of Charlotte on Saturday morning in the USA Rugby Division II National Tournament Round of 16.
Norwich (8-2) had its eight-game winning streak snapped after making its third straight trip to the national tournament. The Cadets were coming off back-to-back third place finishes in 2016 and 2017, but their bid at the program's first national championship was halted by Queens in a back and forth game.
Norwich was led by a pair of tries from junior Nathan Rolling (Taylorsville, Utah), but it wasn't enough to overcome an athletic Queens side that was making its first trip to the USA Rugby National Tournament.
Rolling opened the scoring with a converted try by Jeffrey Minicucci (Bolton, Conn.) to put the Cadets on top 7-0 in the eighth minute. Queens came back with an uncoverted try to make it 7-5. William Rambin extended the Norwich lead to 14-5 with another conversion by Minicucci. Queens rattled off 12 straight points before halftime through with two tries and one conversion to take a 17-14 lead into halftime.
Queens opened the second half scoring with another try to extned the lead to 22-14. But, Norwich came storming back with 12 straight points of their own to go up 26-22 with Rolling's second try of the day and another by Josh Knoll (Braintree, Mass.). However, Queens scored a late try and had a successful conversion to go up 29-26 and advance to the national quarterfinals.
Norwich will play Marquette in a consolation round matchup on Sunday at 9 a.m. at East Carolina University.