Middlebury opened their spring season warm-up games with an impressive win over Boston University at Nickerson Field in Boston. Blindside flanker Nat Kelner ’12 opened the scoring as Middlebury took the reigns from the kick-off and charged it down the field. Fly-half, Geoff “King” Kalan ’12.5, had a brilliant 40 meter run – slicing the BU defense like a hot-knife through frozen butter – to score the second try in the first half. Substitute, Allan “The Natural” Stafford ’13.5, in his first game of rugby EVER, picked up the only try of the 2nd half on the wing. Captain and scrum-half, Brian Sirkia ’12.5, was flawless at the boot converting all 3 trys and 2 penalties to pick up 12 points. BU dominated ball possession, especially in the second half, and will feel unlucky to not have turned possession intof points. Incredible goal line stands by the Middlebury defense secured the shut-out.
The 2009 Most Improved Player Geoff Kalan puts in an MVP worthy performance (his black eye will be a badge of honor from his hard work). His try, the second of the game, is a thing of beauty – he runs a set play drifting cross-field with the ball, reads the defense like a Dr. Seuss short story, fakes the pass and slips comfortably through the hole. All of a sudden he kicks into the next gear and outruns the defense – try time. In the second half he makes a courageous try stopping tackle behind his line, holding up the BU attacker. He deftly commanded this new-look backline featuring former open-side flanker Ross Berriman ’12 at outside center, a new hard hitting inside center in Andrew Durfee ’11 who left his not easily forgotten physical mark on both defense and offense, former center and fullback Brendan Leanos ’10 on the wing and former winger turned 9 man Dylan Whitaker at fullback and let’s not forget that Kalan himself was last seen at fullback – with the way these Middlebury coaches decide their line-ups don’t be surprised if all of them are in different positions next week (maybe in the forwards!) Whitaker comes out early in the second half with a minor injury – Leanos ’10 slides to the back making way for Allan Stafford ’13.5 to make his try scoring need-for-speed debut – they may need to call this man “The Finisher” if he continues in this fashion.
The sublime service of scrumhalf Sirkia makes Kalan’s job significantly easier and Sirkia has the hard-working Midddlebury forwards to thank for clean ball from all phases. The Middlebury pack dominates throughout the game; consistently driving BU several meters back on both defensive and offensive scrums. Forwards coach Ben Wells will be very proud of his boys work – all of them – even after multiple changes the pack still kept the BU’s forwards in all sorts of barney. Harlan Graeme “Spanish” Daubert ’12.5 makes a much anticipated return to rugby after several months out with a dislocated hip but his comeback is cut-short after a knee injury – Daubert ’12.5 should be fine and will look to continue his comeback this weekend against the Yale Bulldogs. Opening try scorer Nat Kelner shifts into the second row on Daubert’s early exit and true freshman Luke “IV” Dauner ’13 comes on at blindside flank. In the second half the entire front row is eventually switched out while second row specialist and club president Blake Hinckley ’10 comes on for AC Jones ’12.5. Of the forwards subs hooker Sam Harrison ’11 makes the most impactful entry: a venerable tackling machine this lad – yes Harrison is now playing hooker after a few seasons at wing – following in the footsteps of fellow winger turned hooker Danny Powers ’11.5.
Having lost 3 starters through mid-year graduation, 4 squad members to study abroad and several players to injury the spring edition of The MCRC was bound to look different to it’s fall predecessor. Furthermore, an influx of new players at the beginning of the spring coupled with the “out-of-the-box” positioning strategy could only mean a very different, young team brimming with potential. The team will need a few more games to find their groove but this writer likes the sound of the beat thus far.
The Blue Killer B’s then took the field and beat BU’s B side 28 – 5: 2nd rowman Ben Stasiuk ’13.5 bursts through the BU defense twice to score in his first game; Alan Stafford ’13.5 (now playing at #9) sneaks round a ruck with a vicious turn of pace and bolts 30 meters to touch down and veteran Connor Burleigh ’10.5 rounds up the Middlebury trys. As with the A side game BU dominated ball possession but cracking tackling from the Killer B’s kept them out till the final play of the game where the ref awarded a penalty try for a high tackle from the last defender.
MCRC A-side line-up: Pappa (Winter 65), Powers (Harrison 60), Vandergrift (Danner 70), Daubert (Dauner 15), AC Jones (Hinckley 55), N. Kelner, R. Kelner (c), Marshall, Sirkia, Kalan, Withers (Campanella 70), Durfee, Berriman, Leanos, Whitaker (Stafford 55)
- Tries – N. Kelner ’12, G. Kalan ’12, A. Stafford ’13.5
- Conversions – B. Sirkia ’12.5: 3 for 3
- Penalty Kicks – B. Sirkia ’12.5: 2 for 2
- 1st non-competitive captaincy: B. Sirkia ’12.5
- 1st try: N. Kelner ’12, A. Stafford ’13.5
- 1st non-competitive cap: T. Campanella ’12, A. Durfee ’11, A. Stafford ’13.5
Spotted At The Game: Loseke Pascal Losambe ’07 (former center, multiple MVP winner and MCRC unofficial “hall-of-famer”), Jeff “Big Mac” McCormick ’06 (scrumhalf)