NEC Rugby Competes at the NSCRO National Championships
New England College Rugby finished an impressive season as the Northeast Regional Champion and headed to Denver, CO for the NSCRO National Championships on April 27. Ranked #1 in the nation by NSCRO coming into last weekend, the reputation of the NEC team preceded their arrival in Denver. Duke University, University of Denver, and St. John’s College were the other semi-finalists vying to play the small powerhouse team from Henniker, NH.
In the first semifinal game on Saturday, New England College played Duke University. It was a hard fought eighty-minute battle that gave way to a number of lead changes, physical play, and excitement for fans and players alike. NEC fell to Duke University by one point with a heartbreaking last minute drive toward goal in the second stanza ending in a goal line stand and resulting in a final score of 25-24. Shaking off their disappointment, the Lions came back the next day to dominate the Pioneers of the University of Denver handily by a final score of 64-22, earning third place in the tournament, and the respect of all teams and fans who attended the tournament. Head Rugby Coach, Jeremy Treece stated, “It was a great trip! This weekend was a huge learning experience for the guys. To get this far in our first year of conference play is an enormous measuring stick going forward. We showed our true character after a heartbreaking loss. I think it was a positive ending the championship weekend with a win.” NEC Senior Anthony MacQueston elaborated on his coaches thoughts, “It was a great experience. Playing Duke was a tremendous challenge and it was a hard fought battle, just not the end result that we wanted. The next day we stuck it to Denver which felt great and everyone on the team was running full cylinder all day long. Go Lions!”
With the matches being streamed live online, the valiant efforts of the New England College Lions caught attention from all over the United States as well as from a number of different countries. The Henniker viewing party held over 100 faithful fans in the College’s pub to cheer on their Lions. Representing all of New England College, the Alumni Relations & Advancement Office showed its appreciation for all involved by holding an event at the Denver Dave & Buster’s that welcomed more than fifty players, coaches, alumni, parents, and friends for their heroic effort and support this season.
All of us here at New England College could not be more proud of the players, coaches, alumni, parents, and friends who supported this team in various ways throughout the year and leading up to the weekend. We credit the tremendous efforts of players, coaches, parents and NEC alumni who collectively raised over $25,000 to make this trip possible. Gary DeSimone ’85, an alum who attended the matches in Denver, stated “The NSCRO championship was obviously a very special weekend for everyone. Rugby has a way of creating instant lifetime bonds between those connected to the sport. That was clearly evident in Denver — with those who attended as well as the online community who stayed connected through the weekend. The camaraderie and personal relationships developed between the team, the parents, and the NEC alumni over the weekend is unique. The NEC alumni who have supported rugby over the past few years are incredibly proud of this team, and look forward to keeping this spirit alive for many years to come.” This is not the last that you have heard from the New England College Lions Rugby team!