Monmouth Claims Empire DII Title
Sunday, April 27, 2014
By Doug Coil
The Empire DII semi-finals took place on April 12 with top seeded Monmouth Rugby winning 81-24 vs Union County and Buffalo winning 25-22 over Princeton AC. This set up the finals today, April 26th, Monmouth vs Buffalo.
The first score of the match was at the nine minute mark with Monmouth fly-half Evan Fitzgerald taking an off load into space for a try under the post. #11 Mike Dorata conversion made it 7-0. Mike Dorata then scored a try after an off load from #12 Joe Lucarelli. Once again Dorata converted. 14-0.
It wasn’t until the 27th minute into the match that Buffalo converted a penalty in front of the posts by #10 Andy Dixon. 14-3.
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At the 34 minute mark, Monmouth’s Dorata continued his scoring onslaught with a second try, this time from a #15 off load. Once again he converted. 21-3.
The defensive battle between the clubs continued throughout the match, however with no time before the half #1 Nick Mauer scored in the corner. The conversion was missed and the half ended 21-8.
Early in the second half Buffalo was able to punch in a try by #3 Jeff Qualey. Dixon converted. 21-15. At 52 minutes Monmouth was penalized for not releasing and Dixon narrowed the gap to 21-18.
For almost the next 20 minutes was a defensive battle. Finally Buffalo took its first lead of the match with nine minutes remaining with a break from Mauer scoring his second try. Buffalo now lead 25-21.
Not to be denied, Monmouth’s Evan Fitzgerald after several off loads touched down for his second try and Dorata converted. This was the final score, 28-25.
Monmouth wins the Empire Rugby GU D2 Championship and advances to the Sweet 16.
On May 3rd Monmouth will travel to New York’s Randall’s Island, Field 74 at Noon in a Crossover NERFU/Empire Rugby GU Sweet 16 Match. They face the New England RFU Champions, New Haven, who won 49-22 vs Portland this afternoon.
To arrive at the NERFU Championship, the Semi-Finals were April 19 with New Haven 27-17 over Amoskeag and Portland winning vs Hardford 26-14.