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Category Archive for 'Championships'

Only two weeks remaining before the winners are drawn for the MCRC fall raffle on Monday, November 19. Now is your chance to surprise that special someone with Patriots-49ers tickets, Red Sox-Yankees tickets, skiing at Sugarbush, and lots more! There are lots of prizes and so there will be lots of winners. Be a winner - support The MCRC!!

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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

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.

 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.

This Saturday, October 6, Middlebury will compete in the ECRC 7s tournament at Amesbury Sports Park, 12 South Hunt Rd., Amesbury, MA. Please come out and support the boys in blue. Click here for directions.

Middlebury will be in Pool B with Southern Connecticut, Albany and AIC. Pool A will consist of Defending Champs BC, Northeastern and UMass-Amherst, and UConn. 4 points for a win, 2 points for a tie, 0 for a loss. The winners and runners-up of each pool will advance to the semi-finals and the winners of those games will meet in the final. The winner of this tournament will advance to the USA Rugby Collegiate 7s National Championship.

Schedule

10 AM: MCRC vs. Albany 

12 PM: MCRC vs. Southern CT
1:20 PM: MCRC vs. AIC
3:20 PM:Semi-Final #1

3:40 PM: Semi-Final #2

4:20 PM: FINAL

This Saturday, November 5, Middlebury will compete in the ECRC 7s tournament at Amesbury Sports Park, 12 South Hunt Rd., Amesbury, MA. Please come out and support the boys in blue. Click here for directions.

Middlebury will be in Pool A with Southern Connecticut, Northeastern A and UConn. Pool B will consist of UAlbany, BC, Northeastern B and UMass-Amherst. 4 points for a win, 2 points for a tie, 0 for a loss. The winners and runners-up of each pool will advance to the semi-finals and the winners of those games will meet in the final. The winner of this tournament will advance to the first ever USA Rugby Collegiate 7s National Championship.

The MCRC Team:  Laird “Gojira” Silsby ’15, John “Scooter” Hawley ’14, Sam “Fireman” Murray ’13, Devin “The Firm” Risinger ’14, Sebastian “Anglo” Damberg-Ott ’12.5, Madison “Madman” Stebbins ’14.5, Don “Shoes” Song ’13, Jack “on Jacks on Jacks” Maher ’12, Adam “The Boot” Schreiber ’14, Alec “Heavyweight” Mackenzie ’15, Sander “Hotstepper” Mora ’15, Emile Landers “Sanders” Carnal ’12

Schedule

10 AM: MCRC vs. Southern Conn
11 AM: MCRC vs. Northeastern
12:40 PM: MCRC vs. UConn
2:40 PM: Pool A winner vs. Pool B runner-up
3 PM: Pool B winner vs. Pool A runner-up
3:40 PM: FINAL

Middlebury squeezes out the win to advance to the DII National Championship Final against UW-Whitewater. Salisbury come out firing, Middlebury bounces back and wins the first half through great running by their backline. 26 – 14 at halftime. Intense pressure by Salisbury forces errors out of Middlebury but the boys in blue do enough to hold on, desperately but effectively, for the win: 29 – 26.

The final will be at 2 PM tomorrow at Founder’s Field.

You can watch replays of today’s game and tomorrow’s live game online at http://www.ustream.com/usarugby.

Middlebury takes on Salisbury in the DII National Championship semi-final at Founders Field in Pittsburgh, PA. These two teams met in the corresponding fixture in 2007 in Sanford, FL. Middlebury, eventual national champions, beat Salisbury in that game 49 – 14. Four years on and anyone who played in that game has now moved on.

All of the DII men’s and women’s semi-final and final games will be streamed online at http://www.ustream.tv/usarugby.

Kick-off for the Middlebury semi-final is at 3:15 PM.

Back in 2009, Middlebury beat USF in the quarterfinal of the National Championships 32 – 17. Two years later in the same fixture, the DII National Championship quarterfinal, Middlebury once again dispels a formidable USF side with an almost identical score line: 38 points to 14. The MCRC comes out slugging, with a ravenous hunger and determination that this writer cannot attest to having witnessed before. The defense is doggedly unrelenting – the attack is innovative and turbocharged. The unorthodox, incomprehensible genius that is Head Coach John “Chipolati” Phillips takes another roll of his magic 28 sided die and up pops the idea to move his scrumhalf back to flyhalf–after having moved him from scrumhalf to flyhalf at the beginning of the fall and back to scrumhalf at the end of the fall–the timing of such a change? “Madness”, one might (and some do) say–”lucky”, one might (and some do) refute–”brilliant”, no one can deny.

Captain Brian “Downtown Dagger” Sirkia ’12.5 is once again more than apt in front of goals and has that old spark to his step with ball in hand. Allan “El Naturel” Stafford ’13.5 puts in another m-o-m worthy performance, showing my good friend speed what quick really is; and just in case speed was not convinced by El Naturel, Dane “Juan En Don” Steel ’11 gets in on the velocity act. Hitmakers Sam “Overlap” Harrison ’11 and Zach “Business Casual Jr.” Bills ’11 get the party started on defense and keep the hits coming all game long: the defensive performance by Middlebury, as led by Bills and Harrison, is possessed. All that said, the true orchestrator on offense and defense is scrumhalf Don “Oye Mi Canto” Song ’13 – playing through an early injury Donny directs the team to a definitive victory.

Full match report below:

Click here to read more

Middlebury beats St. Joseph’s University of Philadelphia 34 – 5 in the Division II National Championship Round of 16. Middlebury led from the beginning thanks to an almost flawless kicking performance by captain Brian Sirkia ’12.5. In the first half Brian went 5 for 6 including a bomb from 45 meters out and about 10 meters from the sideline – easily the play of the game. St. Joe’s threatened to make a comeback as the first half closes but the second half is one way traffic on the scoreboard. The boys in blue have played better and credit to St. Joe’s for frustrating Middlebury for stretches, not allowing the blue backline much ball. However, in the second half, fitness and patience turns to tries for Middlebury. Geoff “King” Kalan ’12.5, Ross “Bo$$” Berriman ’12 and Ben “Stunners” Cmejla ’11 each touching down.

The writer is not one for handing out man-of-the-match nods but if one is forced to single out a Middlebury player or two Sirkia and winger Allan “El Naturel” Stafford ’13.5 would be on the shortlist. Stafford is key on defense, making several crucial tackles to quell St. Joe’s resurgence and when he’s on the ball he is a spectacle. Stafford is unlucky not to add his name to the scoreboard after he gets the ball near the sideline. He leaves his opposite man for dead with a purely malevolent in-and-out step, he throws a fend-off to finish and it’s off to the races. From everyone’s perspective he does a phenomenal job of staying in the field of play…everyone except the man who counts: the touch judge. He raises a late, controversial flag to end Stafford’s run prematurely.

Full report below:

Click here to read more

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