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The MCRC traveled to UMass-Amherst on Saturday and won a hard-fought, back-and-forth game, 33-31. Higlights include tries by scrumhalf Alec MacKenzie ’15, prop Mike “Traps” Wysota ’14 and a hat trick from fullback Allan “The Natural” Stafford ’13.5.

Match Report Week 1: MCRC at UMass

            The Blue opened their second season in collegiate rugby’s first division with a thrilling 33-31 win over the University of Massachusetts Minutemen in Amherst, MA.  After a grueling training camp that capped off a summer of hard work and skill building, the Middlebury College Rugby Club aimed to reestablish themselves in the Northeast following a 2011 season characterized by tough loses both on the roster and on the pitch.  Lead by the senior tandem of fullback Alan Stafford (3 tries) and inside center Dylan Whitaker (16 tackles), the Blue managed to avenge last year’s 20-24 loss and set high expectations for the season to come.

            The first half belonged to the Blue, both on the scoreboard and in the scrum.  Commanded on the field by senior captain Ben Stasiuk, the Blue pack dominated in the trenches and lay the foundation for the first half scoring. Of the team’s three first half tries, Stafford contributed a pair thanks in large part to seamless ball movement amongst the backline, while sophomore scrum half Alec Mackenzie added the third on the halftime whistle in a brilliant individual effort, picking the ball from the scrum and gutting the Minutemen from 40 meters out.  Senior captain Brian Sirkia was a perfect 3 for 3 for conversions in the first half, sending the team to the sidelines up 21-12.

            Middlebury picked up where it left off in the second half, with Stafford scoring his third try in the 46th minute to bring the lead to 26-12, but from then on, the landscape of the game changed decidedly in favor of the Minutemen.  UMass, not content to be steamrolled by a school one tenth of its size, battled back to tie the game at 26 and eventually take the lead 31-26 in the game’s waning minutes.

            In the final minutes of the game, after seeing their lead dissolve before them, the Blue showed their true character.  With determination and composure, the Blue methodically marched down the pitch, driving the Minutemen back to their own try-line.  Twice in a row the Blue pack had their scrum turned only to rally and turn the Minutemen’s scrum immediately after, maintaining possession on the doorstep.  Finally, in the 76th minute, junior prop Mike “Traps” Wysota found a gap in the UMass defense and dove across the try-line to tie the game at 31.  Captain Brian Sirkia missed the conversion by a hair, but the referee called a re-kick due to excessive shouting from the Minutemen and their fans during set up for the kick.  Sirkia, with ice in his veins, drilled the second conversion to give the Blue a hard fought win over a competitive and athletic UMass side.

First XV: Cliff Hanich ’15, Sam Finkleman ‘ 15.5, Mike Wysota ’14, Ben Stasiuk (C) ’13.5, Andrew Jones ’12.5, Nate Brown ’13, Luke Dauner ’13, Laird Silsby ’15, Alec MacKenzie ’15, Brian Sirkia (C) ’12.5, Geoffrey Genova ’15, Dylan Whitaker ’13, Adam Schreiber ’14, Jebb Norton ’13, Allan Stafford ’13.5.

Substitutes: John Hawley ’14 (AC Jones), Vince Mariano ’14 (Alec Mackenzie), Taran Veerman ’15 (Jebb Norton)

First Cap (competitive): Sam Finkelman, Nate Brown

The MCRC would like to congratulate the class of 2012 and welcome them into the ranks of MCRC alumni. The seniors enjoyed a terrific celebration the Friday before Commencement with many family and friends.
 
In 2008 a tradition was started by Head Coach John Phillips: “Earning your Blue.” A player earns their “Blue” by appearing in five (5) competitive A-side games over the course of the college career. The are presented with their official MCRC jersey to keep at graduation.  This year 6 players received their “Blue” on Friday.
 
 
Ladies and Gentlemen, your graduates!
 
Ross Berriman (All-American, Blue)
Tom Campanella (Cum Laude, Blue)
Landers Carnal
Nick Derrico (Blue)
Dillon Hupp (Coaches’ Award & Service Award)
Geoff Kalan (Blue)
Rowan Kelner (Captain, Blue)
Jack Maher (Blue)
Jieming Sun (Cum Laude)
Ben Tabb (Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude)
Charlie Weymess-Dunn (Magna Cum Laude)

The MCRC will be playing Northeastern at 4:45 PM on Saturday, October 1 at Parson’s Field, 154 Kent St. Brookline, MA.

Please come out and support the team!

No regrets. On the hardest day for Middlebury Rugby in over a year, every member of this team, this family, can look back with no regrets. The boys in blue gave their absolute all in a transcendent performance against an incredibly strong and talented Whitewater team. The rainy weather favored a forwards close contact game and the physically larger Whitewater pack took full advantage. Furthermore, the ref was unapologetically strict on the Middlebury team around the ruck, giving out numerous penalties and THREE yellow cards in the first half. Nevertheless, The MCRC put on a phenomenal defensive performance, only allowing one try and that came when they were two men down. Whitewater’s defense must also be credited – this is the first time in years, maybe even a decade, that the Middlebury 1st XV has been stopped from scoring a try.

On any given Sunday these two teams could beat each other – this Sunday was Whitewater’s day. Congratulations to Whitewater and congratulations to Middlebury on an incredible year. The MCRC is still The MCRC!

The MCRC beat the University of Southern Florida by 38 points to 14 to advance to the final four of the Division II Men’s Rugby National Championship. Match report of the USF game will be posted tomorrow.

Middlebury will play the other east coast quarterfinal winner Salisbury in this semi-final game on Saturday, April 30 at 3:15 PM, Founders Field in Pittsburgh, PA. The two west coast teams playing for a spot in the final are UW Whitewater and Sierra College. The final will be played on Sunday at 2 PM at the same venue.

The MCRC Photos: vs. St. Mike’s

Pics from the win over St. Mike’s courtesy of Erik “Escobar” Fendik ’12.5:

http://mcrcphotos.shutterfly.com/pictures/4399

The MCRC Photos: vs. Coast Guard

Pics from the win over Coast Guard courtesy of Erik “Escobar” Fendik ’12.5: http://mcrcphotos.shutterfly.com/pictures/2430

The MCRC-Boathouse Store

Our first official merchandise store is now open! Working closely with Boathouse Sports we have developed limited-edition Middlebury Rugby clothing (Gore-Tex™ jackets, hoodys, caps and more) for you to order. This is a great way to get top-of-the-line sporting gear while supporting the club, as 25% of all proceeds go directly to us. Just click on the link below, print out, complete, and mail in the order form along with payment by April 19th when the store closes. By May 10th, just three weeks later, your order will be delivered to you. So check out what’s on offer and support the MCRC in style!
Click here for the order form: http://go.middlebury.edu/mcrcstore

Due to scheduling conflicts two of our spring warm-up games will be kicking off at new times:

The MCRC vs. BU (@ BU) – Saturday, March 20: 7 PM (under the lights)

The MCRC vs. Harvard (@ Harvard) – Saturday, April 3: 10:30 AM (A side); 12 PM (B side)

We hope to see our Boston alumni, family and friends at one or both of these games.  We will have MCRC gear for sale and some fun giveaways so come out and support The BLUE as we prepare for the National Championships!

Support The MCRC Online!

Now you can make an online gift directly to The MCRC at our unique online giving form – no need to wonder where your gift is going exactly – this goes directly to the rugby club account.  We need your help to cover travel expenses to Florida and hopefully California for the National Championship playoffs – only 4 games stand between us and an unprecedented 3rd national championship in 4 years BUT it will take a lot of hard work from the boys and the support of our parents, alumni and friends to make it all happen:

http://go.middlebury.edu/givemcrc

Any size gift  will go a long way in helping the team and will be greatly appreciated – thank you for your support!

Sponsor-A-Blue
It costs $1,300 to cover the travel costs of each player.  Each player is asked to contribute $300 to the trip so for a $1000 you can “Sponsor-A-Blue” and be responsible for one of our team members being able to participate in the National Championships – be it alone or with several friends we hope you will consider “sponsoring-a-blue”.

Big thanks to Middlebury’s development office for setting up this online form for us.

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