As the Eagles are playing for their country in the Rugby World Cup in Japan, the next crop of American superstars had competed across the USA this past weekend. With the opening games far behind and the summer rust worn off, club teams are now in the heart of their schedules and are proving their mettle with each opponent.
As for the women’s side of reporting, there were some cross-conference play and to find your club’s matchup, please refer to the region for whichever team was the Home-side.
In the fourth weekend of the American Rugby Premiership, 404 Rugby Atlanta continued to assert its dominance and Mystic River notched its first victory of the season. 404, Rugby ATL’s (MLR) development academy, made the trip to New York to face NYAC at Travers Island. After a tame 14-3 first half, 404 exploded in the second frame to win 42-17 for its third win in a row. Also on the road, Mystic River ventured south to Old Blue and led from start to finish to win 24-19.
There is a crowd at the top of the New England DII, as four teams are within four points of first place. The 4-0 South Shore Anchors are in first after a 29-20 win over Boston and the Boston Irish Wolfhounds leapfrogged into second by beating the Mystic Barbarians, 60-19. Newport slipped into third with an 85-7 blowout of Portland. In the Empire DII, the Fairfield Yankees and Buffalo continued to ride high as the Yankees edged Montclair, 25-21, and Buffalo overpowered Union County, 53-0. In an intriguing match-up, White Plains won its second in a row beating Long Island, 43-15. After a slow start losing to Buffalo, White Plains has improved rapidly and it will see if that improvement is for real when it plays the Fairfield Yankees on the road this week.
As for DIII, the top two teams in each division of NERFU squared off. Boston Maccabi beat recently relegated Albany, 33-27, to push their record to 4-0. In D3B, Amoskeag lit up Charles River, 38-12, and have now held a +156 point differential in four games. Down in the Empire, the clash between Brooklyn and Old Blue D3 provided an unexpected result as Brooklyn dumped Old Blue, 33-24. With the win, Brooklyn remains undefeated with matches against Lansdowne and Gotham coming up. Joining Brooklyn in the ranks of the unbeaten, Morris topped Bayonne, 38-17, in New Jersey and the Rochester Aardvarks beat Upstate rival KenTon, 34-14.
Lastly, the Upper Valley Mountain Men remained undefeated in the NERFU DIV with a shutout against the Boston Ironsides and Freedom prevailed over Cape Cod, 71-19, setting up a big match next weekend at the undefeated Monadnock Wolfpack. Rockaway and North Jersey both won easily and are tied for first in the Empire DIV division. In other notable results, North Jersey traveled to Binghamton, N.Y. to beat the Barbarians, 31-19, and Rockaway crushed Long Island D4, 84-5.
The East opened up league play and put six of seven teams into motion. The reigning club champion NOVA started league play with a 27-7 win over Raleigh. Stephanie Barros, CJ Hildreth and Emily Fulbrook scored tries, while Bri Kim accounted for 12 points on two penalties and three conversions.
“We’ve had a deliberately slow buildup to the fall season because of the need for a break following a nonstop schedule from March through August,” NOVA scrumhalf Bri Kim referenced back-to-back 15s and 7s nationals. “There has been some player turnover from last year to this year but we’ve gained some new players too. We have a strong returning core and the new players are already showcasing their ability to contribute. This ultimately led to our strong team win against Raleigh.”
It was a special opener for Charlotte (1-0), which won its first-ever DI match after a winless season last year. Charlotte traveled to the D.C. Furies (0-1) for a 29-12 win. “As far as the victory goes, it’s a weight off our shoulders,” Charlotte head coach Brad Richard said. “It was a quick rise in DII to get to the championship and win it, and it was kind of a let-down to come to DI and we couldn’t win a match. It’s been hesitant and unsure up until now, but this solidifies for the players that we’re putting in the right amount of effort and we can stay here among the DI teams.”
Boston (1-0) beat Philadelphia (0-1) 29-5, and saw Hannah Bogich, Margaret Reiss, Isabel Haber (2) and Emily Chretien dot down their first tries of the season. Stacy Markovic added two conversions while Lucy Dawson accounted for Philly’s points.
In DII Empire, Monmouth and Uticuse played the closest game of the weekend and saw the New Jersey side surge late for a 24-17 win. Mercedez Roper led Union with three tries en route to a 38-12 win over Long Island. Eight players scored in the Village Lions’ 53-7 win over Brooklyn, and New Haven forfeited to Danbury.
Worcester (4-0) is the only undefeated team remaining in DII New England, having defeated Burlington (2-1) 17-12 last weekend. “All of the tries happened in the first half, so the last 40 minutes was a complete battle of wills,” Worcester head coach Tran Nguyen said. “It was definitely a battle and both teams left it all on the field,” Shamrocks co-captain Laura Hetherman said. “The depth of our team is why we won that game. We used six, seven subs and they all came in and made an impact.”
The other two games produced identical scorelines, 34-17. Portland (2-2) beat Albany (1-3), and Providence (2-1) topped Hartford (1-2).
In New England Division III, Rutland (0-3) forfeited to North Shore (2-1).
As highlighted in the Six Pack Club Preview, the DII Mid-America match between the Wichita Barbarians and the St. Louis Royal Ramblers lived up the hype. After Daniel Olajiga scored early for the Barbarians, St. Louis took the lead with an Adam Schmitt try in the 48th minute. The tally was locked at 10-7 until the final ten minutes when Wichita’s Seth Akpovona touched down the game-winner and Dustin Fross added the icing with the conversion and a late penalty.
The second weekend of the Rocky Mountain Men’s Premiership (DII) saw the Denver Barbarians bash their cross-town rival, the Denver Misfits, 51-12, behind a pair of tries from Alex Schultz and Jason Christensen. The Park City Haggis played a series of back-to-backs on Saturday and Sunday and saw intense play in both matches. The Haggis’ first game versus Boulder turned out to be a thriller as the test came down to a Park City conversion with no time left. The kick was off its mark and Boulder held on for the 30-29 win. Sunday was better for the Haggis as it beat the Denver Highlanders, 40-21, to end the road trip.
In DIII play, the highlights include Sunday Morning winning its first game in a scrappy 51-32 match with St. Louis Bombers in Mid-America and Colorado Springs defeating the Denver Harlequins, 39-7, to stay unbeaten in the Rocky Mountains.
In the six-team DII Mid-America, St. Louis (1-0) traveled to the Omaha Goats (0-1) for a 36-21 season-opening victory. Anna Albrecht led all scorers with 11 on a try and three conversions.
Austin (1-0) hosted the Denver Black Ice (0-2) for its first match of the new Frontier Red River season, and won 69-12. Seven people scored 11 tries, with wing Amethyst Gamez, lock Sophie Babo and Madison Hammer accounting for multiple scores.
The parity in the Mid-Atlantic DI was evident on Saturday as the last team fell from the pedestal of the undefeated. After winning its first two games in Philadelphia, Schuylkill River was stopped in its tracks on the road against Baltimore-Chesapeake. The Brumbies walloped the Exiles, 32-12, as four players scored tries and flyhalf Alex Walsh contributed 12 points off the boot. For the top two teams from last season, Rocky Gorge picked up a 38-13 victory on the road versus Pittsburgh and NOVA finally made a mark in the win column after edging the previously unbeaten Potomac Exiles, 34-31.
In DII, Doylestown remained on top of the table in the EPRU with 48-0 blanking of North Penn, and Philadelphia-Whitemarsh suffered its first defeat at the hands of Phoenixville White Horse, 27-24. In the South, Virginia began its fall campaign on a positive note as it avenged a pair of losses to Richmond last season by taming the Lions, 21-17.
After the Northeast Philadelphia Irish, Wilkes-Barre Scranton, and Brandywine won convincingly in the EPRU DIII, the game of the day was between Lehigh Valley and Reading. The Hooligans led 15-7 at the break, but Reading stormed back with three straight tries for the 29-23 victory. Rocky Gorge and Western Suburbs were the big winners in the Central, while Rappahannock and Norfolk were triumphant in the South.
Lastly, the Patuxent Lions and Prince William County remained perfect in DIV and Phoenixville White Horse and Severn River added wins to their totals.
It was a quiet weekend in the Mid-Atlantic, but Division II Severn River (3-0) used its Saturday to beat Norfolk (0-2) 43-10. Prop Kathryn Todorovich, outside center Alyson McCarty and fullback Kaitlyn Marshall scored two tries apiece.
Lehigh Valley (1-2) won its first match of the Division III North season, beating Wilmington 74-20. Rebecca Rivera Rodriguez, Korissa Seidel and Hannah Dalmas featured heavily in the box score. In Division III South, Rappahannock (1-1) put five different players from a diversity of positions into the try zone against NOVA (0-2), salving the sting of a two-point loss to the Maryland Stingers (1-0) in early September.
The results from the Midwest Rugby Premiership saw the Kansas City Blues deal Metropolis its first loss, 34-31; Detroit beat Cincinnati, 32-18, to stay undefeated; the Chicago Lions crush Columbus, 76-0; and the Lindenwood/MLR duo of JP Aguirre and Wesley White combined for 29 points in the St. Louis Bombers’ 52-11 victory over Milwaukee.
In the Midwest DII, all of the home teams, except for one, held serve and walked off the pitch with W’s. The Pittsburgh Forge and Wisconsin continue to reign atop their respective divisions while Indianapolis, Lincoln Park, the Chicago Lions, and Milwaukee are all in the hunt early in the season.
DIII Wisconsin’s Oshkosh RFC hosted a triple-header for breast and prostate cancer awareness on Saturday. The team wore custom pink jerseys with the breast and prostate cancer ribbons on the jerseys and will be raising money for the cause at all home games this fall. After a pair of college games to start the day, Oshkosh dominated the Milwaukee Barbarians, 62-22, in the finale.
Elsewhere in DIII, Toledo, Fort Wayne, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, and Detroit won in the North; Queen City, Lexington, the Columbus Rhinos, and White River prevailed in the South; Wisconsin and Oconomowoc blew out the competition in Wisconsin; Sioux Falls Crow, Eastside Banshees, and St. Paul were victorious in Minnesota; Des Moines and Bremer County dominated in Iowa; Akron, Cleveland Crusaders, and Pittsburgh won in the East, and Chicago Westside, Fox Valley, and Peoria soared in Chicago.
In DI, the Chicago Lions (3-0-1) beat Detroit 70-12 and, with the exception of No. 8 Aurora Macek’s scores, finished its tries through the backs. Chicago (3-2) forfeited to Metropolis (3-0-1).
All of the DII victors won by convincing margins. In the East Gold, North Buffalo (1-2) held a 14-12 lead after 41 minutes, but then Pittsburgh Forge (3-0) surged in the third quarter to pull away for a 59-21 win. Former Nittany Lion Scout Cheeks finished the day with four tries. South Buffalo (1-2) won its first match of the season on the road in Akron (0-3).
In East Green, the Louisville (0-5) vs. Dayton (1-3) match was recorded as a forfeit, but the game that did evolve went 50-12 in favor of the Ohioans. The Cincinnati Kelts (3-0) shut out Grand Rapids (2-2) 41-0. The team moved the ball around well and only saw No. 8 Gina Fanelli score twice.
In the West, Palmer College (3-0) defeated Minneapolis Menagerie (0-2) 126-0 and has only allowed 10 points against thus far this season. Thirteen players scored 20 tries, and flyhalf Claire Tomashek and No. 8 Wren Felton handled the conversions.
Twin Cities suffered its first loss of the season to Milwaukee Scylla (2-1), which banked a 49-3 victory. Of its eight try-scorers, only lock Shannon Will dotted down twice. Oconomowoc (1-3) forfeited to the Chicago Sirens (2-1).
The Seattle Saracens came from behind to win their first game of the season in the British Columbia Premiership over previously unbeaten James Bay, 38-25. On the women’s premier side, the Saracens beat Simon Fraser, 88-5, to remain undefeated. Both premier teams plus the men’s reserve side host Meralomas on Saturday.
ORSU and the Portland Pigs won their first DII games of the fall on Saturday. After losing to Tacoma last weekend, ORSU bounced back to beat the Valley Kangaroos, 48-12, and Portland cracked Tacoma, 37-25 after its first match was canceled.
The big story from DIII was the Chuckanut Bay Geoducks’ 39-36 victory over the Budd Bay Buffaloes. Chuckanut dropped down to DIII this season and the Buffalos, as the defending Pacific Northwest Champions, were the team’s first real test in the new division.
“That was a hell of a match,” Chuckanut’s Nick Vitalis said. “It was back and forth all game, absolutely hats off to Budd Bay. Their big runners weren’t just big but they were smart, they knew how to run. We’d get a few tries, they’d get a couple back, and we were only separated by one point at the half. We came out strong and Carlos Sianez, our center turned winger for a game, had two huge runs around the left corner to put us ahead squarely. The Buffaloes came back and scored a couple in the last 15 to make it 39-36. They were pressing us hard with a minute left, inching within the 10, but an errant pass out wide knocked it out of bounds. We won the final scrum before kicking out of bounds at full-time. Absolute classic and I can’t wait to get them in the spring half. It felt like a playoff game and in April, it very well might be.”
In the DII Pacific Northwest, Emerald City is setting the pace, posting a 55-0 win against Portland last weekend.
“I feel the league has more become more consistent with teams being more evenly balanced. All the three teams that the Mudhens have played have proven tough opponents despite the score,” Emerald City head coach John Wooler reviewed the season thus far. “I was impressed by Boise, who has come back with a robust program, substantial numbers, and some quality talent. I think they could be contenders within a couple of years. Portland has always shown strong commitment as have Budd Bay.
“I feel that several teams have restructured and are developing quickly. There is no team in the league that we play against that we take for granted. The level across all teams has made me as a coach push our strategy and skills, which is the way all teams grow stronger,” Wooler added.
Budd Bay traveled to Boise United for a 45-10 win, and South Sound also won on the road: 36-27 over Eugene.
Asheville made its DII debut on Saturday after winning two consecutive Carolina DIII Championships. Hosting another newcomer to the Carolinas in the Raleigh Vipers, Asheville led 21-14 at the break but burst the game open in the second to win, 42-24. The victory was a team effort with six different players scoring tries.
As for the Carolinas DIII, Cape Fear defeated Charleston at home in a 29-25 nail-biter, the Columbia Olde Grey shut out the Camp Lejeune Misfits, 35-0, and Triad never let up against Raleigh to win 71-5. In the True South’s lone DIII match, the Nashville Grizzlies traded blows with Memphis Blues in a high scoring affair. When the dust settled, the Blues found themselves with the 48-42 win.
In DII Carolinas-Georgia, Augusta (2-0) beat Columbia (0-1) 41-7 and got multi-try performances out of Katrina Steiner, Madison Hovren and Colleen Markyna.