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In the first East Coast Rugby Conference 7s tournament the MCRC makes it to the semi-final, where they lose to the University of Albany 7 – 12. Boston College ends up overall winners after they pull out the performance of the tournament beating favorites Northeastern. Great day of rugby for all teams involved and Middlebury Rugby would like to extend a very big thank you to the Middlesex Barbarians for hosting the event, to John Durant, UAlbany coach, for organizing a very well run tournament and to the Harrison family for hosting our entire team!

Middlebury starts the day off at a disadvantage having lost influential back Jack Maher ’12 the day before leaving them with a man fewer than the other teams. Still, spirits are very high amongst this young team and they are more than up to the task of representing Middlebury Rugby. The 11 man side is led by scrum-half Don “The Shoes” Song ’13 and opens their tournament with a convincing win over Southern Connecticut 19 – 7.

Full report below:

Early in the game Middlebury loses tenacious hooker Devin “The Firm” Risinger ’14 to an injury. Sebastian “Anglo” Damberg-Ott ’12.5 comes on to replace him. SoConn causes Middlebury some trouble through their big strong running prop but the ferocious tackling of Laird “Godzilla” Silsby ’15 and flyhalf Adam Schreiber ’14 snuffs out the danger. Speedster Emile Landers Carnal ’12 opens the scoring with a half field explosive run. John “Escuter” Hawley ’14 gets Middlebury’s second when he uses his albatross wingspan to steal a SoConn lineout unassisted – it’s off to the races and Escuter scoots home. Impact sub Madison Stebbins ’14.5 picks up a loose ball and breaks away to score Middlebury’s third and final try after a miscued Middlebury kick does not find touch. Schreiber converts two of three conversions.

In the second game Middlebury takes on pre-tournament favorites Northeastern. With Risinger still out Middlebury’s options are further limited. Some poor tackling in the first half is fully exploited by Northeastern as they score two converted tries. In the second half Middlebury comes out firing and a great interchange of passes between Silsby and Hawley sets up Sam “Fireman” Murray ’13 who makes a break from just inside his own half deep into the red zone. An unexpected in and out step almost loses the Northeastern cover defender but he manages to bring Murray down. A few minutes later Middlebury finally breaks through Northeastern’s defense and scores. Schreiber converts and a comeback is on the cards but in the final play Northeastern seals the deal with a try in the corner. 7 – 19 to Northeastern.

In their final pool game Middlebury takes on UConn with the welcome return of Risinger to hooker. Middlebury opens the scoring through a powerful breakaway run by the hotstepper Israel Sander Mora ’15. Schreiber converts. UConn responds quickly and almost takes the lead on the final play of the game but it’s sweeper Alec “Heavyweight” Mackenzie ’15 to the rescue. What resolve  to chase down a seemingly definite try! Not only does Mackenzie show great speed to catch up with the UConn ball carrier but he ignores the attempted sidestep and makes the tackle of the day (Sam Harrison ’11 Hit of the Day) knocking the ball out of the UConn player’s hands as he extends to touch down. Middlebury goes into the break with a slim 7 – 5 lead but they take over control in the second half scoring two unconverted tries. 17 – 5 Middlebury is the final score.

Middlebury ends up second in pool A behind undefeated Northeastern, which means they take on pool B winners UAlbany while two Boston clubs clash in the first semifinal: Northeastern vs. BC. BC stuns Northeastern with a very well organized disciplined performance, coming from behind to cruise to victory.

In the regular season The MCRC vs. UAlbany game went down to the wire and it’s the same story in this sevens game. Middlebury opens the scoring and Schreiber converts but they give away a myriad of penalties at the breakdown gifting Albany opportunities to respond which they do with two tries, one converted. The rest of the game sees Middlebury knocking on the door with some great running by Sander Mora ’15. 7 – 12 is the final score and Albany advances to take on BC.

With little time to recover after their hard fought game against Middlebury and against a very well structured BC side Albany has the chips stacked against them. Boston is in control throughout the game and they emerge clear winners.

Middlebury Team: Silsby, Risinger, Hawley, Murray, Damberg-Ott, Song, Schreiber, Mackenzie, Carnal, Mora, Stebbins

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