Kings Point Provides Drama in Empire

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Article written by Pat Clifton and published on Tuesday, 10 September 2013.

Kings Point turned heads in the Empire Saturday with a 46-22 defeat of a Buffalo team that was coming off a non-conference win over Ohio State. Having finished second-to-last in the Empire with a 1-9 conference record last season, Kings Point now looks like a team to be reckoned with.

The United States Merchant Marine Academy was paced by three tries from the brother combination at scrumhalf and flyhalf. Sophomore No. 10 Stephen McGuire and senior No. 9 Kieran McGuire accounted for three tries in the upset of Buffalo.

“There’s this crazy chemistry going on there that I can’t even explain,” said Kings Point coach Aliz Nazir of the McGuire brothers. “They kind of push each other. Both brothers have been playing like I’ve not seen them play before. They’re playing with a different edge when they’re together.”

Kings Point has struggled in recent years, but after pushing Brockport in the season opener (a 22-13 loss) and knocking off Buffalo a week later, no one can take the United States Merchant Marine Academy lightly any longer. Nazir, in his fourth year at the helm, says that’s because he his smartest team, yet.

“Altogether, as far as rugby knowledge goes, this is probably the team with the most amount that I’ve coached,” he said. “Everybody’s played, and most of the players know what they’re doing on the field as far as strategy, and more than just rugby.”

Stony Brook, Iona and Syracuse also won on the weekend, beating Fordham, Binghamton and Rutgers, respectively.

Syracuse won despite losing its best player to football. English flyhalf Alex Hodgkinson made the Empire All Conference team and was named by USA Rugby an Honorable Mention All American as a freshman last year. This fall he is trying to make the Orange football team as a kicker.

Still, Syracuse marched past Rutgers Saturday, partially on the merits of a new foreign student – Australian freshman lock Angus Bishop, who scored a try and was a menace at the breakdown against the Scarlet Knights.

Stony Brook was paced by a big performance from returning All Conference flyhalf PJ Abelein, who accounted for 23 of the Seawolves’ 33 points against Binghamton with four penalties, three conversions and a try. Iona’s top scorer Saturday was wing Mike Nulty, who dotted down two tries in the win over Fordham.