On a cold and wet November day The MCRC and Boston College clashed in a hard-fought, physical match. BC prevailed 11-13 on a day when the ball just didn’t want to bounce the way of the Blue. BC moves into first place in the ECRC by a 2 points, but their season is done, while Middlebury has one game remaining (against Southern Connecticut) next Saturday, 11/10.
Hats off to BC for an intense and well-played game.
Full match report below:
The MCRC kicks-off to BC and aggressive defense sees the Eagles pinned deep in their own territory. The aggression pays off as Midd earns a penalty only 15 meters out from the try line, but well wide. The Blue kick for touch but fail to secure the lineout, missing a vital scoring opportunity. Indeed, Middlebury keeps the ball in BC’s half for the first 10 minutes, but are unable to come away with points.
BC converts a penalty at minute 14 to take a 0-3 lead. Middlebury immediately fights back up the field and earns a penalty practically in front of the posts at the 18 minute mark. In an early indication of how the day would go, a strong gust of wind blows the ball off the tee as Captain Brian Sirkia ’12.5 makes his approach. The “easy” kick is no good.
For the next 15 minutes the teams trade volleys and big hits. Neither is able to create real scoring chances as both play outstanding defense. Finally Sirkia gets another chance when BC is penalized at the breakdown. The Captain converts and the score is tied 3-3 at minute 33.
Minutes later open-side flanker Nate Brown ’13 goes down with the knee injury. Brown has absolutely exploded his senior year, and is loath the leave the pitch. He is replaced by fellow senior Astor “I’m going to Warsaw!” Nummelin-Carlberg ’13.5.
The defensive battle continues and the game looks to go into the half deadlocked when the Blue Backline finds a seam. Terrific support and hard running see Allan “El Natural” Stafford ’13.5 touch down in the corner. Sirkia is unable to convert from the touchline and the halftime score is 8-3.
The second half sees more of the same as the defensive stalemate continues. Both teams are penalized often and 8 minutes into the half BC elects to go for goal. The kick is missed, and Middlebury push the action to the other end of the field where they earn a penalty of their own. Sirkia converts to make it 11-3 Middlebury with 30 minutes to play. Unfortunately, these would be the last points scored by the Blue on the day.
BC respond quickly and convert a penalty just 3 minutes later to close the gap to 5 points. Everyone in attendance knows that this game is too close for comfort, and that Middlebury needs another score. The opportunity comes 19 minutes into the half via another penalty. The normally infallible Sirkia misses the uprights and the score remains 11-6.
After the ensuing drop 22 BC regain possession and clear their half. They string together several well-worked phases and find a gap in the Blue Wall. The conversion is good and BC regain the lead 11-13 with 16 minutes remaining.
Middlebury makes two substitutions, bringing on “Jazzy” Geoff Genova ’15 for Norton ’13.5 on the wing, and lock John “Scooter” Hawley for Lynch in the pack.
BC ups their defense pressure, and Midd intensifies its attack. The forwards are able to gain some solid ground, but BC’s defense shuts down Middlebury’s attack again and again. With virtually no time remaining Middlebury earn a penalty just inside the touchline and roughly 30 meters out. The kick is difficult, and again Sirkia is unable to convert this final scoring opportunity.
Moments later BC boots the ball off the pitch and celebrate a hard-fought victory. With the win the Eagles leapfrog Midd into first place in the ECRC, but their season is done while Middlebury has one more contest remaining. Middlebury earns the losing bonus point (losing by fewer than 7 points), and so stand behind BC by just 2 points. A win on Saturday over Southern Connecticut and Middlebury will win the ECRC and the automatic bid to Nationals next spring. Anything less hands the conference title to BC.
Many thanks to all the friends and family who made the trip to support the Blue! We wouldn’t get anywhere without you!!
First XV: Hanich, Finkelman, Baker (1st start), Lynch, Stasiuk (C), G. Jones, Brown, Silsby, Song, Sirkia (C), Ruocco, Whitaker, Schreiber, Norton, Stafford
Reserves: Nummelin-Carlberg (38), Stebbins, Hawley (69), Yappert, Borge, Genova (67), MacKenzie, Veerman