On a spectacular fall day the Boys in Blue took the turf against conference foes American International College. Playing in the Middlebury’s Alumni Stadium at Youngman Field, the MCRC defeated AIC 48-19 to move to 5-0 on the season.
Being a bunch of freedom-loving gents, the Blue spread the scoring around, with seven different players scoring the seven tries. Leading the charge was All-American Captain Brian Sirkia ’12.5 with 18 points (1 try, 5 conversions, 1 penalty.)
Full match report below:
The undefeated MCRC took the pitch against American International College to defend their top spot in the East Coast Rugby Conference on an unreasonably warm fall afternoon. Coming off an absurd 91-7 annihilation of Albany, the Blue knew they were in for a test, and they came out swinging.
Receiving the opening kickoff in front of an eager crowd at Alumni Stadium, the MCRC only took four minutes to draw first blood. Senior captain lock Ben “Sturge” Stasiuk caps off a practice-like drive with a savage run, setting the tone for the game and putting the Blue in front 5-0. It stays that way after senior Captain fly-half Brian “The Uprights Are 10 m Farther Back” Sirkia bangs the conversion off the post.
Incited by the narrow turf, the game becomes increasingly physical. Lucky for Midd, that’s what the Blue pack had been hoping for. On the first line out of the game, the MCRC forwards maul 25 meters. Huge hits and swings of possession define the game for the next 15 minutes: junior wing Alex “Coco” Ruocco saves a try by forcing an AIC wing out of bounds, and sophomore eight-man Laird “Godzilla” Silsby puts the AIC scrum half into next week.
Relishing the contact, the Blue pack decides it’s time for another score. After forcing the ball down the field, a (sledge)hammer by sophomore prop Cliff “Kracken” Hanich opens up a hole that junior hooker Sam “Don’t dip your bread in my Borscht!” Finkleman and three AIC defenders fill. Unfortunately for AIC it wasn’t four, because Fink carries the would-be tacklers into the try-zone. Sirkia hits the conversion, 12-0 Midd at 21’.
Not content to lay down, AIC finds a lane and breaks a solo run past the Midd defense. The last man on the goal line is Ruocco, squaring up against the full-speed AIC center with at least 70 lbs. on him. Instead of allowing the inevitable try un-fought, Coco shows his character, putting a huge lick on the charging opponent before he falls across the try-line. 12-7 Blue.
Junior prop Traps “Mike” Wysota is replaced by freshman Cole “Leather Jacket” Baker after Traps tears an abdominal. With all the contact and textbook rucking, the backs begin to sense the spotlight leaving them. Senior scrum half Don “Not On My Watch” Song, having none of that, sends the ball wide to the Cheeky Canuck (read: Sirkia) who jukes an AIC defender and then chips over the top, winning the footrace into the try-zone, collecting the ball and touching it down. Sirkia subsequently converts, 19-7 MCRC at 37’.
Half time sees freshman Griffin “Not Related to A.C.” Jones come on for senior flanker Luke Dauner. Never a team to sit on their laurels, the MCRC scores almost immediately after the half begins. Junior outside center Adam Schreiber, putting in a stellar defensive performance (9 tackles, 1 turnover forced) decides to get in the game on offense, splitting AIC up the middle and offloading to Griffin Jones who finishes the try-scoring sequence -his first for the A-side. Sirkia drills the conversion (of course), and it’s 26-7 at 41’.
Staunch defense, a characteristic of the Blue this season, continues. Led by senior inside center Dylan “Why Couldn’t I Have Been Born a Prop” Whitaker and 8-man Silsby (12 tackles each), the MCRC defense holds off several promising AIC attacks. The Cheeky Canuck knocks in a penalty, 29-7 Midd. Not going down without a fight, AIC quickly answers with a try, 29-14 Blue. Not going down without a try, senior fullback Allan “Wish I Were Still a Wing” Stafford dances down the touchline and in for the try. Sirkia hits the conversion from what was previously known as an impossible angle: 36-14 at 59’.
Junior Tom Lynch relieves no-longer-actively-bleeding A.C. “it’s a seven!” Jones (5 tackles). AIC scores after a solid sequence, but shank the conversion: 36-19 Midd. Sophomore “Jazzy” Geoff Genova replaces senior Jebb “Mustache Wax” Norton (5 tackles) on the wing, and sophomore Alec “I Lift During J-Term” Mackenzie comes on for Song at scrum half.
Energized by the changes, the MCRC finds another gear, one that AIC simply can’t keep up with. Senior flanker Nate Brown, a fixture on defense all day (9 tackles, 2 turnovers forced), peels off another powerful MCRC maul and finds pay dirt with an inspiring run. Sirkia converts to make it 43-19 Midd at 73’.
Clearly inspired, Baker, the freshman prop, hammers up, breaks a tackle, and stumbles into open space. As if prancing through a field of strangely aggressive wildflowers, Baker happily stiff-arms his way 30 meters to the try line, delivering the final blow to AIC. 48-19 Blue at 78’.
The remainder of the game plays out scoreless. The Blue roll to another decisive victory, 48-19, asserting supremacy in the ECRC. The final challenger, Boston College, will come to the house that Phillips built this Saturday.