Cornell’s rugby dominence continued this past weekend, as the Cornell University Rugby Football Club defeated rival Buffalo, 13-0, to win its second straight New York State championship. The win capped a 7-1 season for Cornell, which has rolled through the regular season since falling to Buffalo on Oct. 2. the Red will now play host to Boston College in the Northeast Regional quarterfinals on Saturday, Cornell’s last home game of the season. Cornell held on to a tenious 6-0 lead for most of the match before finally breaking through in the final five minutes to score a much-needed insurance try.
Defense was the story of Cornell’s success though. Clutch play by seniors Mac Cook and Jeff Krueger made all the difference.
The victory came one week after Cornell slid past Brockport in its final regular season home game on Oct. 23.
The Red cruised to a 19-6 victory, but the match was much closer than it might have been, according to Cook.
“Brockport was a lot stronger than they’ve been in the past,” he said. “They’ve traditionally been the underdog in our league, but they’re tied for third place right now. We played pretty strongly against them, our defense was pretty solid. We gave up a few too many penalties and missed a few opportunites in offense, that could have turned it from 19-6 to probably 50-6 very easily. I feel good about it, but there are still some things we could probably work on.”
Sophomore John Friedman and seniors Jeff Krueger and Ray Geary all scored tries for the Red, and freshman Mike Fradette had two conversions. All four players are backs.
“The backs are who we want to be scoring, they’re like the receivers and the running backs,” Cook said. “We made some roster changes this week, and I think we finally found something that works. Finally, they were able to break a lot of tackles and break through the lines, and run their plays effectively, which is what we’ve been looking for them to do all year.”
Last fall, the Red advanced to the Northeast Regional final, where it lost to Army, 43-15. Meanwhile, the Cornell University Women’s Rugby Football Club also advanced to the Northeast Regional quarterfinals after its 32-0 victory against Buffalo this past weekend. The Red has allowed its New York State opponenets only three points over the past two years combined, and improved to 7-0 on the season. Ranked 20th in the country, the Red was led by seniors Kate Blackledge, Katie Brethel, and Lindsey Ehinger against Buffalo. The three players shared state most valuable player honors.
Both teams will host their Regional quarterfinal matches on Saturday on the field behind Appel Commons.
Archived article by Owen Bochner Sun Sports Editor