On yet another picture-perfect fall day The MCRC traveled south to take on the Huskies of Northeastern. This eagerly anticipated match between the last two ECRC Champions lived up to the billing with a very physical encounter. In the end, the Blue proved to have superior fitness, depth and intensity, pulling away to a convincing 37-7 victory after trailing 6-7 at the half. The win is the team’s third bonus-point win in a row and Middlebury stands alone atop the ECRC with 15 points.
Up next is a bye week, followed by the team’s final regular season home match on 10/12 against UConn during Middlebury’s Fall Family Weekend and The MCRC’s Alumni Weekend.
Full Match Report Here:
Coming off of a huge win over AIC, the MCRC was ready to sink their teeth into a new opponent and they had their sights on Northeastern. The sun was shining as the team made their way onto the pitch at the Irish Cultural Heritage site in Canton, MA for their third game of the season. After a few tweaks to the starting line up over the course of the week, the Blue were ready to solidify their dominance in the ECRC.
Right off the bat the Blue were faced with a pressing issue, which would last the entire match. After beautifully wheeling a Northeastern scrum the referee accidentally gave the ball to Northeastern, foreshadowing future calls throughout the game. Northeastern took advantage of their 2nd opportunity, won the scrum and a few phases later touched the ball down. The try would put Northeastern up 7-0 just 90 seconds into the game.
Battling through the Husky defense, Laird “Godzilla” Silsby ’15 and Julien “Caesar” Miller ’17 repeatedly worked their way up the field, only to get stopped by either handling errors or the referee’s quick whistle. Although the officiating was questionable, the boys would continue to apply pressure. The Huskies began to show strain under the weight and strength of the Midd pack, led by captain Ben “FireNuts” Stasiuk ’13.5. The Mad Dogs were out scrummed, mauled, and tackled throughout the first half and the grunt work began to pay off with The Blue earning penalties and electing to go for goal four times. ECRC leading scorer Jake “Flo” Feury ’16, starting his first game at inside center, slotted two beautifully struck penalty kicks through the uprights to chip away at the Huskie lead. The last was just before half bringing the halftime score to 6-7 in favor of the home team
As the half ended, the team was quietly confident with their first 40 minutes. Despite the score Middlebury knew that it had dominated the action for most of the half. Captain Stasiuk reminded his teammates to keep faith in the game plan, and an inspired John Philips had a quick message for his team before they stepped back onto the field, “This is all about brotherhood!”
The brothers of the MCRC, rested, refreshed and ready to play some rugby, quickly stepped up their pace. Crushing the Huskies down the line with a beautiful maul off a linout, Northeastern’s #4 earns a yellow card for repeated offsides four minutes into the half. Middlebury kicked to touch, mauled again, and Cole “Just Put Me in Coach” Baker ’16 touched the ball down for Midd’s first try of the day at the five minute mark. Feury converts the difficult angle and The Blue is in front for the first time, 13-7 MCRC.
Next up would be fullback Alex “I’ll Be There Early” Ruocco ’14, collecting a loose pass and dancing around the Huskies and into the corner of the try zone. The kick from the touchline is no good but Middlebury still has an 18-7 lead 13 minutes into the 2nd half.
As the second half moves on the depth of the Blue comes into play. The coaches talk about “Squad” and this day is a great example. Veteran lock Tom “Best Hair on the Team” Lynch ’14 comes out 17 minutes into the half after playing the majority of the game with a sprained ankle with Charlie “The Antagonist” Kunze ’15 stepping in. A few minutes later hard-hitting Sam “Siberian” Finkleman ’14 hands over the hooking duties to Madison “My Ball!” Stebbins ’14.5.
With relentless pressure the Blue takes the game into their own hands. 32 minutes in loosehead prop Cliff “Kraken” Hanich ’15 bulldozes his way into the try zone putting the Blue up 23-7. After this score tighthead prop Baker subs off the field with Michael “Trapezius” Wysota ’14 taking over the #3 duties. Middlebury refuses to let the ball out of Northeastern’s half until they get more points, and they do just that. Jake “Points on Points on Points” Feury ’16 touches down and converts his own try to put Midd up 30-7. The try earns Middlebury a scoring bonus point (for 4 tries) for the third game in a row.
But the Blue wasn’t done! Captain Allan “Staff Sergeant” Stafford ’13.5 finishes the game in usual form, scoring a try under the posts in the last seconds of play. The score keeps Stafford perfect with a try each game this season, and also marks this long-time fullback’s first try from the flyhalf position. Feury converts on a drop kick to extend the lead. Middlebury wins with a final score of 37-7.
FIRST XV: Cliff Hanich ’14.5, Sam Finkelman ’14, Cole Baker ’16, Ben Stasiuk ’13.5, Tom Lynch ’14, Devin Risinger ’14, Griffin Jones ’16, Laird Silsby ’15, Vince Mariano ’14, Allan Stafford ’13.5, Jake Feury ’16, Adam Schreiber ’14, Julien Miller ’17, Sam Schwarz ’16, Alex Ruocco ‘14
RESERVES: Madison Stebbins ’14.5, Henry Thompson ’17, John Hawley ’14, Michael Wysota ’14, Max deJong ’17, Tucker Hopkins ’16, Jackson Yang ‘17
Spotted At The Game: AC Jones ’12.5, Sam Harrison ’11, Chris Vandergrift ’11, Dan Khan ’11, Sean Meany ’08, Chris Mutty ’09.5, Miss Vermont 2013