This Saturday, the boys in blue traveled to Amesbury, MA to participate in the ECRC 7’s tournament. They played a fantastic brand of rugby, some might even dare to employ the adjectival “champagne” to describe their style. Led by superlative play from 7’s veteran Dylan Whitaker, and all-world high-stepper Allan Stafford, the Blue run the table in pool play, winning by quasi-absurd margins. In the playoffs, they blow past UConn 60-0, and then knock off defending 7’s champions BC by a score of 31-5.
The finals see the MCRC face off against a Northeastern team hungry for revenge after their loss to the Blue in 15’s just two weeks ago. The game is more ruck-centric than the speedy MCRC would have preferred. Northeastern does a good job of slowing down the recycle and not giving our back line the chance to shine. Much to everyone’s surprise, the game is scoreless at half time.
Both teams battle for control in the second half, but the Blue strike first blood. Whitaker runs a great line and punches through the gain-line before popping off to a streak of light later identified as Allan Stafford. Under the posts this blast of light races and the boys go up 7-0.
With two minutes left, a series of strong runs by Northeastern sends their winger around the corner and under the posts. The game is knotted at 7 as the teams head to a sudden death overtime.
In OT an unfortunate call and a tough bounce end threats generated by Stasiuk’s promising run and Sirkia’s cheeky kick. Both teams are utterly exhausted as possession changes hands back and forth, but Northeastern manages to overlap on the far sideline and touch down in the corner moments before Stafford can get there.
An inch here or an inch there and the MCRC are ECRC 7’s champions, but heads are held high. Coach John Phillips consoles the team, saying that they came here to prove they can play at a high level and that they have “made the rest of the league take notice.” The team will look to take increased ball skills and a better understanding of how to recognize and exploit space from this excursion into 7’s. If they can bring this form into the rest of the 15’s season, they have a chance to do something truly special.
As for this past Saturday, the boys left absolutely everything they had on the field and had a blast doing so. You can’t ask for anything more than that; truly a special day for the MCRC.
The day’s roster: Brian Sirkia (C), Ben Stasiuk (VC), Allan Stafford, Dylan Whitaker, Adam Schreiber, Alec Mackenzie, Vincent Mariano Alex Ruocco, Geoff Genova, Aaron Yappert, Don Song, Nate Brown, Luke Dauner, Madison Stebbins, and John Hawley.