Men's Rugby: Dartmouth Downs Norwich, 39-7
NORTHFIELD, Vt. - The Norwich University men's rugby team dropped a 39-7 decision to seventh-ranked Dartmouth College on Saturday afternoon.
The Big Green got on the scoreboard five minutes into the match on a backline break off the forwards. The conversion brought the score to 7-0.
Norwich came fighting back with solid play at the point contact by four-year senior captains, both flankers, Brad Panasiti and Tom Hansen. Senior flyhalf Mat Burke broke through Dartmouth's defensive backline to score an exciting try between the posts. Tom Hansen's conversion kick was good, and the match was tied at 7-7 just 10 minutes into the first half.
Three minutes later, Dartmouth scored three points from a penalty kick to take a 10-7 lead. Norwich applied pressure in attack with some excellent line breaks by freshman outside center Trevor Mckenzie. The Big Green scored its second try at the 18-minute mark from quick hands and feet.
For the next 22 minutes, Norwich displayed its best attacking play of the season. It looked as though the Cadets would close the gap on a try by Brad Panasiti, but the whistle blew for a knock-on infraction. This was the result of excellent counter attacking by freshman fullback Ross Reid and senior winger Greg Boyer. Dartmouth led 15-7 at halftime.
The Cadets come storming out of halftime with vigor and dominate territorial gain for 12 minutes, not allowing Dartmouth inside the 50-meter line. Norwich's excellent scoring opportunities were lost and Dartmouth increased its lead from an unconverted try to take a 20-5 edge.
The Norwich defense denied the high powered Big Green attack for 36 straight minutes of play.
As the Cadets' defense wore down, Dartmouth's attack kicked in with two more tries. Just before the final whistle blew, Dartmouth scored a converted try in the left hand corner of the pitch.
"For 60 minutes of play we battled toe to toe with a nationally-ranked Division I team in defense and attack," said Norwich head coach Bob Weggler. "Each week we have improved our level of play. The boys have much to be proud of and to build on."
Norwich returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 11, when the Cadets host Harvard University at 1:30 p.m.