Men's Rugby: Norwich falls to Queens in USA Rugby Division II National Semifinals

Jeffrey Miniccuci kick action
Ronny DiMasi Photograhy

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Queens University of Charlotte men's rugby team ended Norwich's bid for a national championship for the second straight season with a 73-3 victory on Saturday afternoon in the USA Rugby Division II National Semifinals at Matthews Sportsplex.

Norwich (8-3) couldn't contain the high-octane Queens offense that has been running rampant over its competition all season. Queens (8-1) came into Saturday's matchup averaging 74 points per game and the Royals nearly equaled their average with a dominant performance.

Queens scored two converted tries from Riley Ellsworth in the opening 10 minutes to race out to a 14-0 lead and never looked back as the Royals eventually built up a 42-0 lead by halftime.

The Royals added four more converted tries and penalty kick in the second half to take a 73-0 lead before senior Jeffrey Minicucci (Bolton, Conn.) was able to break up the shutout on the last play of the game with a successful penalty kick from straight on. 

Queens also knocked Norwich out of last year's USA Rugby Division II National Tournament with a 29-26 win in the round of 16. The loss snapped Norwich's eight-game winning streak coming into Saturday's match. 

Norwich will look to finish the season on a high note when the Cadets face the loser of UW-Whitewater/Missouri S&T in the third-place game at 1 p.m. on Sunday. There will be no live video available for the consolation game.