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Southern Region Puts Bow on Fall Play

The USA Rugby South Division wrapped up its Fall 2018 Season Saturday, November 17, with three final matchups.  The three games, one women’s and two men’s,  took place in the Carolinas/Georgia Division of the region.  The Southern clubs will not reconvene until early 2019.

Women’s Division II:

Carolinas/Georgia:

The final USA Rugby South’s Women’s Division II matchup took place between two unbeaten clubs, at the time, the Atlanta Harlequins RFC (4-0-0) and the Augusta Furies RFC (3-1-0).  However, the Harlequins handed the Furies a huge shutout 91 to 0 loss on Augusta’s home field.  Atlanta scored 14 tries, nine conversions, and one penalty kick toward earning its 91 points.


Men’s Division III:

Carolinas:

There were no Men’s Division II games throughout USA Rugby South this past Saturday.  Action was limited to two Division III contests in the Carolinas.

In the first of these two matchups, the Columbia Old Grey RFC (3-1-0) hosted, and beat the Charlotte Barbarians RFC (3-1-0) 17 to 10.  Columbia earned its points through three tries and one conversion.  Columbia limited Charlotte to two tries and one conversion.

Also, in the Carolinas, the Clayton Bootleggers RFC (3-1-0) outlasted the hosting Camp Lejeune Misfits (0-4-0) in a 45 to 38 decision.  In the matchup, Clayton scored seven tries and five conversions.  Camp Lejeune relied on six tries and four conversions to earn its points.

Midwest Recap: Championship Fixtures Set

Men’s Division II:

The Midwest’s Men’s Division II championship game was set on Saturday, after Wisconsin saw off the Pittsburgh Forge and Cleveland Crusaders cruised by the Indianapolis Impalas. In the first game, it was all one-way traffic for Wisconsin. They ran in 34 unanswered points before the Forge were able to get on the board in the 80th minute. The win was secured by a second half double scored by replacement wing, Brian Weddle. Final score, 34-5.

Wisconsin’s opponent would be determined by the winner of Cleveland Crusaders and the Indianapolis Impalas. In the beginning, it looked as though it would be their divisional rivals the Impalas; however, when the Crusaders scored 27 unanswered points in 20 minutes it became clear it would be the Crusaders advancing. The Crusaders were able to sustain their lead for most of the game- winning, 41-17. Flyhalf Nicholas Viviani led the way with 26 points for the Crusaders.

 

Women’s Division II:

Two very different games were played in the Women’s Division II playoffs, as the Milwaukee Scylla blew out the Chicago Sirens, 91-0. And the Pittsburgh Forge and Buffalo rugby were locked in a tight tussle; where Buffalo would eventually prevail, 22-10. In the Scylla’s match Fullback Chelsea Willes and number eight Abigail Williams both scored hat-tricks; while four other players scored a brace each. It was a comprehensive victory and Buffalo will know they have their hands full this weekend when they take on the 2017 National Champions.

Buffalo were able to avenge a regular season loss to the Pittsburgh Forge this weekend, on their way to booking a championship berth. The women from Western New York shot out to an early 17-0 lead within the first 20 minutes. From there the Forge clawed their way back into the match to bring it the deficit to a converted try with just over half an hour to play. However, a try in the 56th minute pushed the result beyond a doubt and Buffalo was able to hold their 12-point lead until the final whistle.

 

Men’s Division III:

In the men’s third division, there were conference semifinals and championships played, with the winner of each championship to meet in the Midwest championship game. In the eastern conference semifinals were played on Saturday with the Grand Rapids Gazelles and the Dayton Flying pigs taking each other on and Louisville Rugby facing the Presque Isle Scallywags. The Gazelles crushed the Flying Pigs, 60-0. The majority of the damage was done by lock Nicholas Burger who scored a double and their outside center Zebb Dewes-Taylor who contributed 23 points to the Gazelles’ efforts. In the other semifinal Lousiville were able to earn a hard fought victory 30-12 over the Scallywags. In their final on Sunday, the Gazelles put on a clinic winning by a similar margin over Louisville, 60-5. Dewes-Taylor was the shining light scoring 23 points in the winning effort.

Grand Rapids’ opponent for the weekend would be the winner out of the West, and it was a much tighter contest than what was witnessed in the east. It was the fourth seeded Bremer County Bucks that advanced through. They got through the semifinals against hosts and first seeded Milwaukee Rugby, 24-17.   Their opponent for the western conference final would either be the Fox Valley Maoris or the St. Cloud Bottom Feeders. It became apparent early on it would be the Maoris as they walked away 56-10 victors. The Championship game on Sunday was a more comfortable experience for the Bucks as they took the game 25-5. They will now have a big week ahead of them as they prepare for a mammoth task of slowing the Gazelles down.

 

Men’s Division IV:

 Similarly to the Men’s Division III competition, the Men’s Division IV saw conference semifinals and championships were played on Saturday and Sunday. In the East, the semifinals saw Lancaster Men of Stone and Fort Wayne Rugby D4 go toe to toe and the Findlay Scars up against the Columbus Coyotes. Lancaster advanced by the Fort Wayne and Findlay ran amuck against the Coyotes. The Scars put up 74 points on the board, on their way to an impressive victory. In Sunday’s final, the Scars again put on a clinic taking down the Men of Stone 50-19.

In the West, the Chicago Blaze D4 side comprehensively beat the Metropolis D4 side, putting up over 60 points in the process. Their opponent would be settled by the winner of the Indianapolis Impalas D4 and Cedar Rapids Headhunters. The Headhunters got the early lead in the game, but the Impalas came back and scored 14 unanswered to capture the lead. The Headhunters struck again and were within four, however, that was as close as they’d get. The Impalas D4 would go on to win the game after scoring another 17 unanswered. Final score, 31-10. In the final, it was a close affair, with the Impalas D4 holding on to win 19-14. Jonathon Wade was the catalyst in the win scoring the opening two tries in match to establish a 14-0 lead. The Impalas D4 will now face the Findlay Scars this weekend.

 

Midwest Premiership:

In the Midwest premiership, the Palmer College Dragons won comfortably against the Kansas City Blues, they now sit at 4-3 on the season. The Chicago Griffins won an intense affair against cross town rivals, the Chicago Lions, 30-29. The Milwaukee Barbarians fell by one point to the St. Louis Bombers, 22-21. The Cincinnati Wolfhounds fell just short of their maiden victory for the year, as Columbus Rugby held them at bay, 30-22.

Mid-Atlantic Recap: Final Fall Statements Made

The first real burst of winter blew into the Mid-Atlantic on Saturday as temperatures dropped and a strong southeastern wind wreaked havoc all day. This was the last weekend of play for most squads in the conference and they made their final statements of the fall.

Like last season, Rocky Gorge and the Norfolk Blues finished undefeated as the Division I frontrunners going to the spring. Each club completed their fall on Saturday and the battle for Division I may come down to the head-to-head match on April 6th.

Gorge’s loss in last season’s divisional championship remains the overwhelming driving factor this season. “It’s motivation at this point,” captain Nick Kuhl said. “Making Nationals is our goal and what that takes is playing good rugby. Let’s try to be better, harder, tougher, smarter rugby players and so far we are doing that. There is a lot of work to be done, everybody has a couple of months to reflect before we come back in the spring and make our run.”

Gorge ended its fall with a 54-19 victory over Baltimore-Chesapeake. Flyhalf Ben Cima, who recently signed with MLR’s Seattle Seawolves, turned in a banner performance going 7/7 on conversions and adding a try in the win. In three games with Gorge, Cima scored three tries, kicked 22 conversions and two penalties, and was third in total points in DI with 65.

As for Norfolk, the Blues defeated the Potomac Exiles, 31-27. Norfolk scored five tries including a pair from inside center Kristofer Wilson, but the game ball goes to the defense for holding off a surging Exiles attack late to win the game. In addition to the DI win, Norfolk’s DIII side won its southern playoff semifinal over Blackwater, 17-5, to advance in the Division III playoffs in the spring. 

“Our biggest takeaway from this fall is the strength of our club culture,” Blues coach Chris Porter said. “We are keeping players in the club longer and picking new players as they move into the area. With the guys staying longer, it makes it easier to blend in the new players to our club.”

The other Division III South semifinal saw Virginia Beach pound Roanoke, 50-17. “We were very successful at exploiting their defensive gaps,” head coach Dave Greninger said. “We were so proud of the job our boys did. Everybody was dialed from the start and really wanted it. We stuck to our game plan and really had fun out there.”

In Women’s Division I, Philadelphia remained undefeated stretching its winning streak to four games with a 39-5 win over Charlotte. Philly dominated all game and almost had a shutout as Charlotte managed to score with two minutes left.

“We haven’t seen Charlotte before and were excited about the new competition,” captain Becca Fagan said. “We wanted to push from the first kickoff and get points on the board early. We really focused on executing our game plan, with both backs and forwards working together. This game was an absolute testament to how comfortable we are playing together and trust each other on the field.”

The only other women’s match was the Maryland Stingers’ Division III South 36-0 dismissal against NOVA. It was the Stingers’ third shutout in a row for a squad that prides itself on its defensive prowess.

“Our defense has been solid all season and has got better as the season went on,” coach Matt Hodgson said. “We have a veteran team who are making great decisions on the field and playing expansive rugby.”

Lastly in the crowded men’s Division III North, the surprise has been Media, who has gone from 1-7 a year ago to 6-0 in the North’s Blue division this season. Against a tough Reading club on Saturday, Media trailed by two points at the half. The defense stood tall in the second half and a pair of tries from Andrew Butkus and another from Ryan Gregory was all Media needed for the victory.

“Going into the match, we expected a very physical contest and Reading didn’t disappoint us,” coach Rick Van Luvender said. “Our defense keyed on Reading’s eightman, inside center, and one of the locks. We avoided counter-rucking in most situations and continuously met them on their side of the gain line… Containing those three was the key to our success… and the fitness level of Media proved to be the difference.”

HOME SCORE AWAY SCORE DIVISION
Schuylkill River Exiles 40 Pittsburgh Harlequins 12 Men – DI
Rocky Gorge Rugby 54 Baltimore-Chesapeake Brumbies 19 Men – DI
Potomac Exiles 27 Norfolk Blues 31 Men – DI
Northern Virginia Rugby 22 Washington Irish 8 Men – DI
Virginia Rugby 5 Raleigh Vipers 39 Men – DII-South
Frederick Rugby 14 Washington Irish D3 44 Men – DIII-Central
Severn River Rugby 31 West Potomac Beavers 5 Men – DIII-Central
Northern Virginia Rugby D3 14 Western Suburbs Rugby 15 Men – DIII-Central
Rocky Gorge Rugby D3 43 Baltimore-Chesapeake Brumbies D3 17 Men – DIII-Central
Hibernians Rugby 25 Harrisburg Rugby 12 Men – DIII-North
Philadelphia Gryphons 17 Jersey Shore Sharks 14 Men – DIII-North
Schuylkill River Exiles D3 5 Northeast Philadelphia Irish 38 Men – DIII-North
Media Rugby 22 Reading Rugby 7 Men – DIII-North
Roanoke Rugby 17 Virginia Beach Falcons 50 Men – DIII-South Semifinals
Norfolk Blues D3 17 Blackwater Rugby 5 Men – DIII-South Semifinals
Northern Virginia Rugby D3 0 Maryland Stingers 36 Women – DIII-South
Philadelphia Rugby 39 Charlotte Rugby 5 Women – DI East

 

Atlantic North Recap: Atlantic North Closes its Books on 2018 Regular Season

Men’s Division II: 

Starting in the Empire New Jersey division, in the sole match this weekend Union County defeated Princeton Athletic, 98-0.  

In the Empire New York City division, New Haven defeated Old Blue 46-38.  The Fairfield Yankees secured a strong victory over the Village Lions 38-17. New York defeated Lansdowne 41-25. 

Jumping over to the New England division, South Shore defeated Boston 31-5.  Mystic River downed Albany 66-24.   The Boston Irish Wolf Hounds won sizably over Amoskeag, 104-5. 

Men’s Division III:

Jumping straight into the Empire New Jersey/Long Island division, Suffolk Bull Moose downed Morris 40-12. 

Moving over to the New York City division, the Gotham Knights defeated Old Maroon 45-7.  Brooklyn Rugby downed New York 22-5.    

In the New York/Connecticut division, Greenwich defeated White Plains sizably, 60-12. 

Last but not least, the New England division.  Starting off with a tight one, Mad River etched out a victory over Upper Valley 15-12.  Boston Maccabi defeated Springfield 60-5.  The Charles River Rats downed Providence 26-5.  MIT defeated Old Gold 29-19.  North Shore downed Burlington 60-12 in the final match of Atlantic North play.  New London County got the upper hand on Freedom Rugby, 54-20. Worcester Rugby won against Portland Rugby,  52-10.

Pacific North Recap: Babboni Cup Comes Back to Valley

Pacific Northwest Men’s Division II:

Gary Babboni was a legendary player for both Chuckanut Bay Geoducks and Valley Kangaroos during the earliest years of the two clubs.  Since his untimely passing in 1981, the clubs have competed against each other for the Babboni Cup in honor of his memory.  Due to the restructuring this year, Chuckanut and Valley were able to keep the long tradition alive.  Behind Valley’s Man of the Match for Forwards, #2 Kennedy Kamau’s spectacular play, the Kangaroos hopped over the Geoducks 73-0, winning the cup for the first time in many years.  Elsewhere, Oregon Sports Union (ORSU) hosted cross-town rivals Eastside Tsunami.  ORSU suffered an injury before scoring the game’s first points at 12 minutes.  Eastside would put up 12 unanswered points, despite a yellow card.  ORSU capitalized on the man advantage and would tie the game at 12 going into the half.  Eastside would jump ahead quickly in the second half, and allow ORSU to keep up by going a man down again with another yellow card.  Tsunami’s defense would remain stingy, though, and they would wash away with the win 22-33

Pacific Northwest Men’s DIII North and South:

Eugene Stags traveled to Boise United D3, where the United D3 expanded their League-leading 201 point differential and proved once again why they are undefeated and on top of the Pacific Northwest D3 South.  Boise’s defense held strong as their offense remained relentless, racing to a 77-10 stuffing of the Stags.

Southern Recap: South Remains Quiet Over First Saturday of November

While many Men’s and Women’s clubs took a break for the first weekend of November, the Carolinas Division III teams remained busy.  

The Charlotte Barbarians (3-0-0) hosted and defeated the Raleigh Vipers (1-1-0) 43 to 7.  Charlotte scored six tries, five conversions, and one penalty.  Raleigh was limited to one converted try.

The Asheville Iguanas RFC (3-0-0) hosted and crushed the Fort Bragg RFC (0-4-0) 81 to 7.  Asheville scored 12 tries, nine conversions, and one penalty.  Fort Bragg scored just one try and conversion early in the second half.

In Clayton, the Bootleggers (2-1-0) beat the Columbia Old Grey (1-1-0) 36 to 22.  Clayton scored five tries, four conversions, and one penalty, while limiting Columbia to four tries and only one conversion.

Atlantic North Recap: Teams Make Most of Quiet Weekend

Men’s Division II: 

With a bye week in the Women’s division I play, we are going to start things off with the Men’s division II matches.

In the sole Empire New Jersey division game, Morris defeated Princeton easily, 74-12.

In the Empire New York division, New Haven squeezed out a two point victory against tough foe Old Blue, 32-30. In the other matchup, the Fairfield Yankees defeated White Plains 48-29.

In the lone New England matchup, Newport defeated Hartford 29-24, securing an impressive 9-0 record for the season.

Women’s Division II:

Jumping over to the Women’s division II play, the Charles River Rats downed Amoskeag, 31-5. In a muddy affair, North Shore defeated Upper Valley 25-10. Burlington fought hard for their close victory against Hartford, 10-5. And for the final matchup, couldn’t have been much closer than this, as Providence tied Worcester 26-26.

Men’s Division III:

Moving over to the Men’s division III matchups, in the Empire New Jersey/Long Island division, North Jersey handed a sizable loss to Morris, 64-22.

In the Empire New York City division, New York defeated Old Maroon 43-0. Gotham handed a tough loss to Rockaway, 63-5.

Moving over to the Empire New York/Connecticut division, White Plains sizably defeated Fairfield 53-19. Danbury also won big, 90-10 against Saratoga.

In the lone Upstate matchup, Rochester bounced back from last week to beat the Genesee Creamers 48-19.

Last but not least the New England division, New London County hung on for a hard-fought victory against Springfield 26-24. The Charles River Rats defeated Upper Valley 82-17. Providence showed prominent on both sides of the ball against North Shore, leading to a 41-7 victory.

Frontier Recap: Boulder Wins The First Ever Eastern Rockies Cup

The inaugural Eastern Rockies Cup Finals event took place on Saturday, November 3, at Glendale’s recently-resurfaced Infinity Park south field. The event was the scheduled capstone for the hybrid D2/D3 competition, and Boulder Rugby – the area’s oldest senior club – walked away with the championship’s first trophy.

The Eastern Rockies Cup is a hybrid competition between clubs in the Rocky Mountain Premiership and the Rocky Mountain Championship. Featuring eight of the top and longest-tenured clubs in the area, the cup competition plays alongside Fall Premiership and Championship fixtures, featuring two pools of four teams each. 

The first match of the day saw an energized Denver Barbarians side storm out to a 67-7 victory over the Littleton Eagles to capture 5th place. The Barbos competed in the competition with a mixture of first- and second-team players, and were keen to make a statement in the finals after upsets by Boulder and Queen City earlier in the year. Thomas LaMuraglia led the Barbos with an incredible 4 tries, with Charles Ajarrista adding 12 more points with his boot and a try of his own.

In the competition’s third-place match, the heated rivalry between the Denver Highlanders and Queen City Rams lived up its expectations – and then some. After finishing the Fall leg of its Rocky Mountain Championship fixtures a perfect 4-0, Queen City jumped to an early lead with a 6th-minute try by Thomas Pearce. Their Rocky Mountain Premiership opponents, however, quickly countered with a try by flyhalf Adam Price just moments later, and then added two more scores by Josh Slater and Jeff Westbrook. The trio of longtime veterans thus gave the Highlanders a 21-7 lead going into halftime. After the break, Queen City was able to take advantage of a pair of Highlander yellow cards to add 10 points while playing two men up, via a PK by Charlie Keener and a converted try by Kaine Dimech. Alexander Friedman then scored in the 63rd minute to give Queen City a 22-21 lead, which was followed by a Bobby Haynes try in the 67th minute to push the margin to 27-21. The Highlanders would not relent though, and outside center Peter Gray crashed over the line in the 79th minute to put his team within one. Moments later, a successful conversion by Gray put the Highlanders up 28-27, stealing the victory from Queen City’s hands. 

Later, in the Eastern Rockies Cup championship match, Boulder Rugby proved too much for the Colorado Springs Grizzlies to handle on the day. The match stood at 12-7 just 31 minutes in, but an outpouring of second-half tries led to a 59-19 Boulder victory. Boulder’s Sean Kilfoyle, named Tournament MVP and Man of the Match, proved unstoppable, and Boulder’s pace and passing was difficult for the 2018 RMR Division 3 Champion Grizzlies to contain. Boulder finishes the Fall 5-2 overall, with a victory over the Denver Barbarians, who were the 2018 USA Rugby Division II National Champions. For Colorado Springs, who made the 2018 USA Rugby Division III National Round of 16, success in the Eastern Rockies Cup (2nd Place) will hopefully fuel a change in their 2018-2019 season fortunes. The Grizzlies finish the Fall 2-4-1, going 1-3 in Division III but 2-1-1 in the Eastern Rockies Cup (their win over Littleton counted in both standings).

South Recap: Plenty of Blowouts as Teams Find Try-line With Ease

Women’s Division II:

All three of Saturday’s women’s matches took place in the Carolina/Georgia Conference.

Eno River Rugby capitalized on eight tries and four conversions to defeat Fort Bragg Rugby 48 to 38. Fort Bragg scored six tries and four conversions.

The Savannah Shamrocks hosted and defeated the Charleston Hurricanes 33 to 12.  Savannah scored five tries and four conversions, limiting Charleston to two tries and one conversion.

Wrapping up the Division II Women’s matches, the Augusta Furies hosted and defeated the Columbia Bombshells 41 to 34.  The Furies earned seven tries and three conversions, with the Bombshells scoring six tries and two conversions.

Men’s Division II:

In Greenville, SC, the Griffins defeated the traveling Charleston Outlaws 34 to 3.  Greenville earned six tries and two conversions, and limited Charleston to just one penalty kick.

Also, on Saturday, Charlotte Rugby soundly beat the Tobacco Road Rugby 58 to 17.  Charlotte scored nine tries, five conversions, and one penalty kick.  Tobacco Road earned three tries and one conversion.

In the Carolinas/Georgia South subdivision, Life Running Eagles defeated the Atlanta Old White 29 to 7.  Life scored five tries and conversions, and Atlanta was limited to one converted try.

The only matchup in the True South Conference took place in the North Subdivision. There, the Nashville Rugby earned six tries and four conversions to defeat the Knoxville Possums 38 to 21.  Even though Knoxville successfully went three for three on penalty kicks, the club only scored two tries and one conversion in the game.


Men’s Division III:

In the Carolina subdivision of the Carolinas/Georgia Conference, Cape Fear Rugby shut out the Camp Lejeune Misfits 45 to 0.  Cape Fear scored seven tries and five conversions.

In the True South’s Division III’s lone matchup, Chattanooga Rugby blew out the Gadsden Pioneers 84 to 3.  Chattanooga scored 14 tries and seven conversions, with Gadsden limited to just one penalty kick.

Pacific North Recap: Winter Break is Coming and Teams Head into Hibernation

Pacific Northwest Men’s Division II:
Portland Pigs travelled to Bellingham, Washington in hopes for a rebound from last week’s loss.  Playing against a winless Chuckanut Bay Geoducks would bolster those hopes.  It took half way through the first half for any scoring to happen, with #8 Logan Miller getting it going for Portland.  From there on out, it was Portland remaining relentless, racing to a 0-71 victory in the North.  Meanwhile, a couple of hours south in Tacoma, another Oregon team looked to remain in the run for the top spot in the standings.  Eastside Tsunami and Tacoma Nomads came both started a little slow, thanks to a mix of handling errors and the other side’s defenses.  Eastside’s #14 Dale Beaudoin found his hat trick of tries early, and the Tsunamis led the Nomads 17-7 at the half.  In the second half, the Nomads took advantage of a stronger pack, a yellow card and a penalty try to go up 24-22 with 10 minutes remaining.  Eastside would answer back and swing the ball wide for two quick tries to end the hard fought match with a tough road win 24-36. 

Pacific Northwest Men’s Division III: North and South:
Bend Roughriders hosted Portland Pigs D3 in a battle that may ultimately have implications in standings supremacy.  This is the last fall game for either team, and with undefeated Boise United D3 still to play next week, the top two seeds going into the winter break are up for grabs.  Behind #13 Jeremy Rose’s four tries and a conversion, Bend would only allow a mid first-half try and ride to a powerful 59-7 conquest.  Clark County Chiefs travelled to Battleground and corralled the Bulls behind a 20 point game from #15 Phil Watson in a 24-55 decisive win.  This win should secure second place for Clark County during the break.