The inaugural 2012 Empire Conference Playoffs kicked off this weekend at Iona College in New Rochelle, NY.
The first match was between State University of New York rivals Stony Brook (No. 1 seed of the East Division) and Binghamton (No. 2 seed of the West Division).
Stony Brook got the first points on the board with a successful penalty kick by PJ Abelein. The Seawolves continued the attack with an unconverted try to bring the score to 8-0. Binghamton settled down after that and kept themselves entrenched in the Stony Brook end with their physical style of play. The half ended 12-8 in favor of Stony Brook.
Binghamton was the team that came out hot after intermission. They were able to capitalize on simultaneous yellow cards to Stony Brook players and scored 11-straight points for a 19-12 lead. With time dwindling down, Stony Brook displayed some late-game heroics for the come-from-behind 29-19 win.
In the second match, host Iona College (second seed of the East Division) played St. Bonaventure University (top seed out of the West Division).
The match started with spectacular work from the Bonnie forwards who used their methodical pick-and-go style to get down the field and into paydirt. Iona quickly rallied back with a converted try of their own. The remainder of the half was controlled by the tactical kicking and forward presence of the Bonnies. At halftime Iona found themselves in a 17-10 hole.
In the second half, St. Bonaventure continued their dominance and looked as if they put the game out of reach. To Iona’s credit, they rallied back and brought the score within four points, but the comeback bid was halted by an additional St. Bonaventure converted try, which sealed the deal, bringing the final score to 37-28 in favor of the Bonnies.
Stony Brook takes on St Bonaventure at 2pm ET Sunday for the conference title and a bid to the Sweet 16.
Stony Brook 28
Tries: Kozak (2); Abelein; Otogiakhi
Pens: Abelein (2)
Cards: Molloy; Sheridan
Tries: Haber; Palazzolo
Pens: Esposito (3)
St Bonaventure 37
Tries: Brussard; Hanna, Maurer; Meister; Brennan
Cons: McCorry (2)
Pens: McCorry (2), Raff
Tries: Kinsella (2), Cavataro, Granby
Cons: Moyo (3)