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On another spectacular day The MCRC dismantled UConn 93-6 in front of a big home crowd. The Boys in Blue ran in 14 tries with scoring spread among 10 different players.

Middlebury started off strong, immediately controlling possession and pushing down field. The first scoring chance came just 90 seconds into the match with a Blue scrum out wide on the opposition 5-meter line. 8-man Laird “Contact” Silsby picked from the back, went left and touched down, but the touch judge made a late call that his foot went out first. No bother, as Midd kept UConn pinned deep. Just minutes later inside center Jake “Flo” Feury would put Middlebury on the scoreboard, touching down and converting his own try. 7-0 Midd with 5 minutes gone.

The MCRC received many kickoffs on the day, but struggled a bit to collect the ball in the first half. Snaps to UConn’s #10 who repeatedly put The Blue under pressure with his skillful kicks. On this one, however, their flanker was called offsides giving Middlebury the free take at midfield. A few phases later and Captain lock Ben “Left Eye” Stasiuk punches thru on a beautiful line, fending would-be defenders like so many mosquitos and touching down. The conversion is no good and Middlebury is in front 12-0 after 9 minutes of play.

The next 11 minutes marked the day’s longest passage of play without a Middlebury score. Vice-captain Allan “El Natural” Stafford finally decided that enough was enough. This long time fullback, newly converted to flyhalf, is beginning to take hold of the #10 position and is ALWAYS a scoring threat when in the same country as a rugby ball. Stafford looks wide, steps in and glides through the defense untouched. Feury converts to extend the lead to 19 points at the 20 minute mark.

UConn, surely recognizing that their scoring chances will be limited, go for goal after being awarded a penalty near midfield just after the kickoff. Their flyhalf slots the 50-meter kick to put his team on the board with three points.

Next up for The Blue is winger Sammy “The Skier” Schwarz who has emerged as an outstanding finisher in just his second year with the team. A converted ski racer, Schwarz demonstrates his balance and breakaway speed to score Midd’s 4th try of the day. The difficult conversion is no good, but not only does the try give Middlebury a 24-3 lead, it also earns the team the scoring bonus point (for 4 tries) just 28 minutes into the match.

The Huskies are able to take advantage of Middlebury miscues after the ensuing kickoff and run phases in the Midd half. Feury makes a strong tackle that draws “oohs” from the crowd, but the referee deems it to be a tip tackle and sends Feury off with a yellow card. Video replay would later show that the hit was clean and within the laws, but there is no instant reply (yet) in collegiate rugby. UConn converts the penalty kick to make it 24-6 after 30 minutes of play. This would mark UConn’s last score of the day.

With Feury in the sin bin, outside center Adam “das boot” Schreiber takes over the place kicking duties. He drives home a penalty kick to extend the lead to 27-6. Just moments later fullback Alex “Coco” Ruocco decides to get in on the fun scoring a try which Schreiber converts. The whistle blows for the half and Middlebury has the lead 34-6.

The starting 15 retake the field for the second half, but all reserves would get in the game before the final whistle. Flanker Devin “I Didn’t Do It!” Risinger, having an absolute stormer of a senior season, does what he does best and regains possession of the ball for the Blue. Middlebury counterattacks wide, linking several beautiful passes, and sophomore flanker Griffin “Gym Rat” Jones is there to finish things off. Schreiber converts (get used to that phrase!) and The MCRC leads 41-6 after 4 minutes.

After the score scrumhalf Vince “Happy Feet” Mariano comes off for teammate Alec “Beefcake” Mackenzie. The two have shared #9 duties all fall giving the team great options and challenging defenses with their different styles of play. Moments later junior Charlie “Clash of Clans” Kunze comes into loosehead, sliding sophomore Cole “Cassanova” Baker to tighthead as senior Mike “Doctor Doctor” Wysota comes off. The third substitution sees sophomore Miller “Shotgun” Judge take over the blindside flanking duties from Jones.

All the substitutions must have fired up Feury as he muscles down two more tries over the next few minutes. Schreiber converts 1 of the 2 and the Middlebury lead is 53-6.

The break allows The Blue to make two more substitutions, with senior hooker Sam “Who Dipped Their Bread In My Borscht?” Finkelman coming off for fellow senior Madison “Coach, I Need a Nickname” Stebbins, and freshman Jackson “Yes, Coach” Yang taking over for classmate Julien “Facebook Hacker” Miller on the wing. Before things can settle down, senior lock John “Scooter” Hawley comes on for senior Tom “Deep Heat” Lynch.

Hawley makes an immediate impact as he skies up and secures the ball from the kickoff. The forwards, in control at the breakdown all day, hammer the ball up pushing UConn onto their back foot. Mackenzie moves the ball from the base, and Stafford finds 8-man Silsby punching thru. Silsby takes the ball at pace, draws the defender and unselfishly pops back in side to Hawley who runs untouched to the try zone for a well-earned try. Schreiber converts to make it 60-6 with 20 minutes remaining.

Only 2 minutes later Silsby gets in on the action and scores Middlebury’s 10th try of the day which Schreiber converts to make it 67-6. It’s worth highlighting the play and season of Mr. Silsby who is pretty much doing it all this year. A beast in the lineout, diesel at the back of the scrum, a veritable tsunami at the breakdown, Silsby has been giving opposing teams fits all year. And somehow he manages to have the vision and energy to insert in the backline numerous times each game. Silsby is a special player having a special season.

All season long Middlebury has aimed to Finish Strong, and the Boys in Blue only know one speed. Schwarz punches thru again (Schreiber converts), and Stebbins takes advantage of a tired defense,quick  picking from the ruck and muscling thru no fewer than 3 would-be tacklers for the try. Schreiber has a rare miss and Middlebury is firmly in front 79-6 with 11 minutes remaining.

The final two reserve players come on with freshman lock Henry “I’ll Play Flyhalf” Thomson taking over for Captain Stasiuk, and sophomore winger Simba “Solar Decathalon” Chakauya relieving Schwarz.

Middlebury continues to delight the alumni, parents and fans and records two  more tries before the final whistle with the scores coming from Stafford and Feury. Schreiber, of course, converts both. The referee signals time and Middlebury wins 93-6. The game marks the biggest Division I win in team history and is also the highest point total and largest margin of victory in the brief 2+ year history of the East Coast Rugby Conference.

FINAL: 93-6

FIRST XV: Cole Baker ’16, Sam Finkelman ’14, Mike Wysota ’14, (C) Ben Stasiuk ’13.5, Tom Lynch ’14, Griffin Jones ’16, Devin Risinger ’14, Laird Silsby ’15, Vince Mariano ’14, Allan Stafford ’13.5, Sam Schwarz ’16, Jake Feury ’16, Adam Schreiber ’14, Julien Miller ’17, Alex Ruocco ’14

RESERVES: Alec Mackenzie ’15, Charlie Kunze ’15, Miller Judge ’16, Madison Stebbins ’14.5, Jackson Yang ’17, John Hawley ’14, Henry Thomson ’17, Simba Chakauya ’16

 

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

On another spectacular fall day the MCRC fought through the gusting winds and ran to a 37-12 victory over conference foe AIC. Playing into the wind in the first half, the Blue battled the headwind and handling errors but still made it to halftime with an 18-7 lead. The Yellow Jackets would capitalize on the kickoff to start the 2nd half, scoring an unconverted try just 2 minutes in to narrow the lead to 18-12, but Middlebury seized control of the game from there scoring 3 tries (2 converted) and dominating both territory and possession. Outside center Jake Feury ’16 led all scorers with 17 points (1 try, 2 penalties and 3 conversions). #8 Laird Silsby ’15 had an absolute stormer, scoring 1 try and completely wreaking havoc all over the pitch. Other try scorers include flanker Griffin Jones ’16, and Captains Allan Stafford ’13.5 and Ben Stasiuk ’13.5.

Up next Middlebury travels to Boston to take on Northeastern on 10/28 at the Irish Cultural Center, 200 New Boston Drive, Canton, MA.  NEU is 1-1 (lost to AIC, defeated UMass). The first side kicks off at 1pm with the second game beginning roughly 2:45pm.  Middlebury currently stands alone in first place in the ECRC with 2 bonus point wins.

Full Match Report:

In what seems to be the trend of the season so far the MCRC battled AIC on a spectacular fall day, coming out on top with a 37-12 victory. Starting out fighting into a vicious headwind the Blue capitalized early on with outside center Jake “Point Man” Feury ’16 converting a very nicely struck penalty kick. Just a few minutes later Feury stepped into the line, intercepted a sloppy Yellow Jacket pass, and stung AIC with a 50 meter try under the posts. The man from New Jersey converts his own score to make it10-0 MCRC.

After a chippy period of play and some spectacular scrummaging from the Blue pack, AIC struck back and sent the ball wide into the Midd try zone. They convert an absolute gem of a kick from the touchline to tighten the match to 10-7. Middlebury maintained the pressure and earned another penalty in front of the post. Feury ’16 slotted the easy kick to give the Blue a six-point lead.

Before the half was over the MCRC enjoyed the phenomenal kicking skills of Adam “Golden Boot” Schreiber ’14, and some outstanding runs by both Allan “Roy Hobbs” Stafford ’13.5 and Sam “Do You Even Lift Bro?” Schwarz ’16. Middlebury camps out in the opposition’s half and the forwards keep pounding the fringes. The half ends with Griffin “Plow Horse” Jones ’16 ripping through the Yellow Jacket defense and touching down. The winds continue to wreak havoc and the conversions is no good. Halftime score is 18-7 Middlebury.

At the beginning of the second half AIC capitalized on Middlebury’s mishandling of the kickoff with an unconverted try just two minutes in to make it 18-12.  Fortunately for the Blue, this is AIC’s final score of the day.

The Blue began to work more efficiently and once a team becomes efficient they become productive, and productive they were. After a great push up the field Captain Ben “The Bee Tamer” Stasiuk ’13.5 hammered down upon the Yellow Jackets with an unconverted try. Then just minutes later, with complete disregard for human safety Laird “Poetry In Motion” Silsby ’15 FLEW into the try zone after a brilliant individual run to put the boys up 30-12 with 13 minutes left in the game. As the game clock wound down the boys would keep the ball in the AIC half with just pure aggression and tremendous line strength. Finally ending the game in the most natural way possible, Allan “El Natural” Stafford ’13.5 took the ball in for an easy try under the posts, which Feury converted with joy.

 

FINAL: 37-12

 

FIRST XV: Cliff Hanich ’15, Sam Finkleman ’14.5, Cole Baker ’16, Ben Stasiuk (C) ’13.5, Tom Lynch ’14, Devin Risinger ’14, Griffin Jones ’16, Laird Silsby ’15, Alec Mackenzie ’15, Adam Schreiber ’14, Dave Stillman ’14, Jake Feury ’16, Julien Miller ’17 (First Start), Sam Schwarz ‘16

RESERVES: Mike Wysota ’14, Madison Stebbins ’14, Charlie Kunze ’15, Henry Thompson ’17, John Hawley ’14, Vince Mariano ’14, Tucker Hopkins ’16, Alex Ruocco ‘14

On a beautiful fall day The MCRC opened the 2013 season with a strong 28-12 win over conference rival UMass. The Blue dominated both territory and possession for long periods, but often came up one pass short of earning the score. Relentless pressure paid off over time, however, as Middlebury scored first and slowly build a lead which they would never relinquish. Final score 28-12 with Middlebury’s four tries coming from four different players, and two sharing the kicking duties.

Full match report to come.

The MCRC opened up their regular season at home against UMass Amherst. It was a perfect day for rugby with beautiful sunshine and temperatures hovering around 65 degrees.

In the opening minutes of the game Midd came out strong, hammering UMass in the center of the field, but unfortunately knocking on a few times. No matter, as the Blue pack slammed UMass in each successive scrum. Flanker Griffin “Pack Animal” Jones ’16 and outside center Jake “My Hair is Better than Yours” Feury ’16 demonstrated some impeccable tackling technique, repeatedly driving the Minutemen back.

Middlebury also struggled to win clean ball in the lineout and reverted to sheer physical domination. Experienced veterans like flanker Devin “Shifty” Risinger ‘14 made sure we kept control with constant poaching and aggressive style. The first real chance for points came with a penalty 12 minutes in, but flyhalf Adam “Big Boot” Schreiber’s ’14 kick it wide.  The Blue knows that when you have an opponent pinned back in their own 22 you need to keep them there, and that’s just what they did.  After an athletic block on a an attempted clearing kick, wing Alex “El Diablo” Ruocco ’14 collects the loose ball and runs it in for Middlebury’s first try. The conversion is no good and Middlebury holds a narrow 5-0 lead.

The next 15 minutes are back and forth, with neither team able to turn opportunities into points. Finally at the 30 minute mark the MCRC earns another penalty within striking distance. Schreiber slots it home at the Blue is on top 8-0.

The teams continue to trade blows and Umass punches thru just minutes before the half with an unconverted try. The whistle sounds and the halftime score is 8-5 in favor of the home team.

Regrouped and refreshed, the Blue begins the second half with more pressure, quickly earning a penalty just four minutes in. Feury takes over the kicking duties and drives the ball through the uprights to make the score 11-5. Just two minutes later Midd hammers down on UMass, forcing them backwards. Schreiber chips a ball over the heads of the Minutemen in midfield with Allan “El Naturel” Stafford ’13.5 bearing down. Stafford collects, steps and is gone, touching down Middlebury’s second try of the day. Feury nails the conversion to put Midd up 18-5.

The fitness of the Boys in Blue begins to show and Middlebury maintains control of the action and allows the Minutemen few opportunities. The control, pressure and teamwork pay off with Feury scoring a try after some beautiful multi-phase work. He is unable to convert his own score, and the score is 23-5 Middlebury with 17 minutes remaining.

The MCRC continue to pressure and the forwards earn the ever important fourth try at the 30 minute mark.. The fourth try both extends the lead and earns the team a bonus point in the ECRC standings. With a short regular season and good teams all around, every point matters!

Umass scores a consolation try in the final moments on a rare defensive lapse by the Blue, but it’s too little too late. Middlebury wins 28-12, earns that ever-important bonus point, and starts off the season just right!

Thank you UMass for driving up to Middlebury for our home opener. It was a well-fought match and we wish you well during the rest of your season. Many thanks also to our new best friends the Middlebury College Pep Band, and to all our fans who turned out in record numbers.

 

 

Whether you’ve played rugby for years or if you have never even picked up a rugby ball The Middlebury College Men’s Rugby Club (The MCRC) would like to invite you to join us in the world’s premier contact sport! Having had strong success in Division II (National Champions 2007 and 2009, runners up 2011), The MCRC  moved up to  Division I-AA Collegiate Rugby in the fall of 2011 where we are founding members of the East Coast Rugby Conference (ECRC).  We enjoyed a tremendously successful 2012-2013 season, winning the ECRC and participating in two National Championship events (7′s & 15′s.) Nevertheless this club is about more than trophies and accolades: its a brotherhood that will last you a lifetime!

Here is all the info you will need to get started:

Club Meeting (all new and former players must attend):

  • Every Monday @ 4:30 PM in KENYON LOUNGE      (First meeting is Monday, September 9)

Health Forms & Sports Medicine Clearance (Deadline: Sept 23 @ noon)

BEFORE you can practice you MUST receive clearance from Sports Medicine. The deadline is noon Sept 23 – please take care of this ASAP to avoid issues. You must have submitted the appropriate forms by 9/23 or you will not be allowed to play rugby this semester.

Here is the clearance procedure info:  

http://www.middlebury.edu/athletics/sportsmed/all

Impact (Concussion) Test

Any student that has not taken an impact test at Middlebury, must schedule an appointment with sports med to complete a baseline IMPACT test. Email sportsmed@middlebury.edu or call x5636 between 10am – 2pm.

Fall Practice Schedule:

  • Monday – 4:30 pm Club meeting in Kenyon Lounge followed by practice till 6:30 pm
  • Tues, Wed & Thurs – 4:30 pm – 6:30pm  Practice @ the Rugby Field
  • Fri – Captains’ Practice; Gym session
  • Sat – Game day!
  • Sun – Pool recovery session

Game Schedule:
Check out our game schedule under the Schedule-Results tab at the top of the screen.

Equipment:
For practice please make sure you have the following gear:

  • Mouthguards (available at the bookstore, 4th ‘n’ goal, Olympia Sports)
  • Non-marking running shoes (in case we have to go in-doors due to weather)
  • Rugby or soccer cleats (you can wear football cleats or running shoes until you have an opportunity to get appropriate cleats)
  • Rugby jersey (t-shirt okay until you have an opportunity to get a rugby jersey)
  • Rugby shorts (other sports shorts okay until you have an opportunity to get rugby shorts)

Rugby Field location: Beyond South East end of Peterson Family Athletics Complex on South Main St. (Route 30 South)

USA Rugby Registration: Once you have decided that you are sticking with rugby you need to register with USA Rugby (the governing body for collegiate rugby in the US).  Registration is required to play in matches: https://membership.usarugby.org/default.aspx

 

Please email rugby@middlebury.edu with any questions and to let us know you are interested in rugby so that we can add you to our email list and roster.

The MCRC is pleased to announce the match schedule for the Fall 2013 season.

Sunday, September 8: Granite Cup (@ Dartmouth – 2 50-minute games)

Saturday, September 14:  UMASS

Saturday, September 21:  AIC (noon kick-off)

Saturday, September 28: @ Northeastern

Saturday, October 5:       BYE 

Saturday, October 12:    UCONN  (Fall Family Weekend)

Saturday, October 19:   @ UAlbany

Saturday, October 26:   @ Boston College  (Homecoming)

November 2 & 9  Make-up dates (if necessary)

November 16    NATIONAL QUARTERFINAL

November 23    NATIONAL SEMIFINAL

December 7      NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

 

Middlebury has been invited to participate in the USA Rugby 7′s National Championship next week in College Station, Texas on the campus of Texas A&M.  The MCRC will begin the competition on Friday, November 30 in pool play against Cal, Arkansas State, and NC State. You can watch the live match webcast at usarugby.org and of course follow our in-game twitter updates @themcrc.

GO BLUE!!!!

The MCRC Boathouse store is now open!  Please help support our club and deck yourself out in some sweet new MCRC gear. The club receives a portion of the proceeds, so this is one more way you can help support us as we prepare for Nationals in the spring.

http://middleburyrugby.boathousegear.com/

And don’t forget to buy your raffle tickets – the drawing will be held Monday, November 19.

http://boxoffice.middlebury.edu/index.php

MCRC wins Conference Championship!!!

On a absolutely beautiful fall day The MCRC defeated Southern Connecticut 40-5 to win the last game of the season and clinch the team’s first ever Conference Championship in D-IAA. The Championship, glorious by itself, is extra sweet in that it includes a bid thru to Nationals in the spring.

That’s right, Middlebury Rugby is going back to Nationals! It is the club’s sixth trip to Nationals in the last seven years, but the very first in D-IAA.

Today also marked the last game for our graduating seniors. All-American Captain Brian Sirkia ’12.5 led the Blue onto the field for the final time, and, as he has done for the last four years, led the team for the next 80 minutes, scoring 2 tries (the ref didn’t see the third, but we did!), and drilling 5 conversions to lead all scorers once again.

Today is a very special day in the history of Middlebury Rugby and we thank you all for all your support!!

Full match report below:

The game against SoConn opens up with the teams trading kicks and penalties for the first ten minutes. Middlebury threatens repeatedly, but is unable to put points on the board.  Strong breaks by the Blue ultimately lead to a lineout deep in opposition territory. After securing the ball, the pack draws in the defense with a series of punishing pick and drives, before scrumhalf Don “Strong Juan” Song ’13 spins the ball out to Sirkia, who slices through the defense like a light-saber through butter and crosses over for the game’s opening try. He calmly connects his conversion and the score is 7-0 14 minutes in.

The referee is calling a tremendously tight game, and one too many penalties for not releasing the ball sees 8-man Laird “Godzilla” Silsby sin-binned. The blue scrum, operating a man down, begins to crush the opposing pack. A savage front row of Cliff “Kraken” Hanich ’15, Sam “Gluten Free” Finkleman ’14.5, and Cole “George Washington” Baker ’16 batter the SoConn front row into submission. The Blue engine room of locks Captain Ben “Sturgees” Stasiuk ’13.5 and Tom “Wildman” Lynch ’14 never looked stronger, while flanks Griffin “Hip Flexor” Jones and John “Scooter” Hawley fly all over the pitch chasing whatever scraps the tight five leave for them.

After spending ten minutes of quiet and deep introspection, Silsby rejoins his mates on the pitch. Fresh legs and a newfound inner peace help Silsby break through the gain line on an absurd support line and touch down for the second try of the game. Sirkia drills it. 14-0 at the 30 minute mark.

As halftime approaches, the Blue defense holds strong as SoConn manages to string together a few sequences of strong play. Midd regains possession after Dylan “I just want to tackle” Whitaker rips the ball out of the arms of a southern Connecticut front-rower. Sirkia gets the ball, presses turbo, and he’s gone. A solid 60 meters and 3 or 4 dummies later, he is in the try-zone celebrating. The referee, unfortunately, believes that everyone’s favorite Canadian was held-up.

No matter. Minutes later, on the final play of the half, Sirkia’s co-captain, Stasiuk, takes a pop, runs parallel to the try line as if searching for that elusive Proctor parking space and then dives across when a gap opens up. Sirkia goes 3-3 and the Blue lead 21-0 at the half.

At halftime, the MCRC brain trust turn towards the bench where they see try-machine and mustache aficionado Allan “El Natural” Stafford ’13.5 anxiously pacing  like his wife is in labor. Stafford is brought on for Alex “Coco Puffs” Ruocco ’14 on the wing. Ruocco started playing rugby just this past spring and has already become a vital contributor, earning his Blue during this, the last game of the season.

The boys from Midd take control of the game as the forwards begin asserting their will on the Southern pack. A 30-meter maul here…a scrum stolen there…the Boys in Blue are dominating the contact area.

A great boot from center Adam “MuttonChops” Schreiber ’14 earns the Blue a lineout at the opposition 20. Time for some set-piece magic.

Baker throws an absolute dime to Hawley, who is approximately 75 feet off the ground thanks to lifters Stasiuk and Lynch. Hawley sends it off the top to Don “watch the hair” Song who flings a lazer out to Sirkia. Fearful of the canuck’s side-step, the SoConn defense forgets about the big 8 man. Sirkia draws the defense and pops to Silsby whose acceleration onto the ball epitomizes “taking it at pace.” Try number two on the day for the sophomore, who chooses a great day to play the best game this author has yet to see out of him. Credit to the coaching staff on this try. The blue lineout added a fair number of wrinkles this year to help attack off the set piece, and they put it all together beautifully on this play. Sirkia converts his fourth straight and Middlebury leads 28-0 eight minutes into the 2nd half.

Three minutes later a beautiful attack highlighted by superlative support play culminates in Captain Sirkia touching down in the corner for his second score of the day. The kick is from the touchline and even Superman Sirkia can’t make this one: 33-0 Midd.

Jebb “The best facial hair on campus” Norton 13.5 subs on for Geoff “Just a little upper circuit” Genova ’15 at the other wing. Great game by Genova who seems to have found a home on the wing this fall.

Wonderful series of passing by the backline sees Stafford break free for a try under the posts (his tenth on the season). Particularly fine job of ball movement by Alec “Stir-fry” Mackenzie ’15, filling in at fullback for the dinged up Stafford. A superb sophomore campaign from Messr. Mackenzie. The support and ball movement are again note-worthy here, and somewhere a cork is popping, because THIS is some Champagne rugby! Sirkia drills the kick to put the Blue ahead 40-0 with only 16 minutes remaining.

In the final few mintues of the game, the  SoConn pack keeps hammering away, finally managing to break over the try line. A tremendously impressive series of goal-line tackles by the blue pack kept SoConn waiting on the doorway for multiple phases, but credit to SoConn for fighting until the final minute, despite the game being out of reach. The kick is no good at the score stands at 40-5 with just minutes remaining.

Middlebury knows the game is in hand and all eyes are on the clock and the referee. Finally the ball is drilled to touch, and the final whistle of the season blows and Middlebury are 2012 East Coast Champions!!

 

This Saturday’s match-up between The MCRC and Southern Connecticut has been moved to AIC who have graciously offered the use of their facilities.

The address is 125 Cortland Street, Springfield, MA and kick-off will be at 2 or 2:30pm.

Stay tuned for further updates and we hope to see you there as the Boys in Blue look to win the team’s first ever D-IAA Conference Championship!

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