This Saturday Middlebury, the New England #2 seed, takes on the New York #2 seed, Hamiltion, at the Tree Farm fields in Essex Junction (click here for directions). Kick-off at 1 PM. It will be the end of the season for one of the teams with the winner going on to the NRU Championship weekend at UMass-Amherst on November 14 and 15 where the top 3 out of the 4 teams competing will qualify for the National tournament in the spring. The MCRC will be looking forward to the return of some key starters (7 starters were missing from their last game) but they may be without the services of others who were injured in this past weekend’s games. Playoff time is when teams show their depth and Middlebury is certainly being tested on this front but when the whistle blows there are no excuses – the 15 on the field are the 15 on the field.
Category Archive for 'New Englands'
In the New England Championship Final Middlebury lost to UMass by 34 points to 3.
UMass scores early in the first half and shows absolute dominance in the scrum, which continued throughout the game – the Midd pack were only able to win 1 or 2 of their own scrums let alone compete on UMass’ scrums. Middlebury responds with a penalty kick and with less than a minute left in the second half the score is 3 – 5 to UMass – anyone’s game…but the Middlebury defense falls asleep in the dying seconds of the half and lets a fast UMass backline run from one end of the field to the other and then use their powerful forwards to punch home the converted try: 3 – 10 at halftime. That late 1st half try swung the control of the game wholly in UMass’ favor.
Poor tackling from Middlebury in the second half and strong running from the UMass team saw the floodgates open and Middlebury struggled to stay in the game. The Middlebury players fought all game and despite the loss their are some positives to take away…many lessons to learn.
As difficult as this loss is The MCRC has to move on and move on quickly as they will be playing a knock-out game this coming Saturday in the North East Quarterfinal against Hamilton followed by the North East Semis & Finals the following weekend. A loss this coming Saturday will be the end to their season and goodbye to a 4th consecutive Nationals run in the Spring – the next two weeks will be a true test of Middlebury’s character.
In their second meeting of the year Middlebury again overcomes a resilient UVM team in a nail-biter. Despite missing several regular starters due to injury The MCRC get the “W” and go on to the New England Final tomorrow. Forwards captain Chris Mutty scores a try from a quick tap early in the game. Sirkia converts and goes on to hit 3 penalty kicks maintaining his almost 100% record for the year (he has missed 1 penalty kick this year). UVM scores 2 unconverted tries – one in the first half and another in the second as they rallied. Final score 16 – 10.
In the other New England Semi-Final UMass-Amherst comes back from behind to beat Boston University 22 – 12 (5 – 12 at the half). This sets up a Middlebury vs. UMass final at 1 PM Saturday, November 1 at the Tree Farm fields in Essex Junction (click here for directions). UVM will play BU at 11 AM to determine seedings for the North East playoffs and with home field advantage at stake both games are crucial – number 1 & 2 will play at home next weekend – 3 & 4 will have to travel. Head to head and then point difference will be used to decide the #2 seed from the two teams that end up with 1 win & 1 loss over this weekend – so UVM and BU can still win home field advantage for next weekend.
This weekend Middlebury will host Boston University, UMass-Amherst & UVM in the New England Rugby Division II Collegiate Men’s Championship. On Saturday Middlebury takes on UVM at 11 AM followed by #2 seed BU against the #3 seed UMass at 1 PM – both games will be held at the Middlebury College Rugby Field and look to be crackers!
On Sunday the losers of Saturday’s games will play each other in the 3rd place play-off at 11 AM followed by the Championship final at 1 PM. These games will be played at the Tree Farm Facility in Essex Junction (click here for directions) as the Middlebury field is likely to take a pounding from the rain and Saturday’s games.
All 4 teams will progress to the North East Quarterfinals and a chance at one of the 3 North East spots in the National tournament in the spring. This weekend will determine who gets home advantage for those quarterfinal games and who has to make the long trips to New York to take on the other North East teams. And of equal importance the New England Champions will be crowned! Middlebury has won 7 of the last 8 New England Championships; Yale broke the streak in 2004.
This weekend was a true test of character for Middlebury as they faced a team who had certain players willing to resort to illegal and dirty tactics – important to note that this was not true of the entire U-Maine team but the few culprits made for an unpleasant encounter to say the least. Driving wind, constant rain and 45 degree weather made for a tough day all round and tended to slow down our usually overwhelmingly fast play. Nonetheless, The MCRC took the lead within 3 minutes and never looked back.