Written by Jackie Finlan    Saturday, 02 June 2012 17:24    PDF Print Write e-mail
Big Green Golden at CRC
Tournaments - USA 7s CRC

As predicted, Dartmouth exited Saturday atop pool B, rounding out today’s performance with a 28-0 shutout over Florida. The Big Green will play Pool A #2 team Wisconsin in tomorrow’s quarterfinals.

Dartmouth's Kevin Clark streaks toward the try zone against Florida. (Nancy Trent photo)

It took Dartmouth a good six minutes to break the stalemate, as Florida stayed calm, didn’t contest the breakdowns too much and attempted to shut down the outside lanes on defense. Florida had a shot to log points when they stole a scrum in Dartmouth’s end and eventually set up a driving maul in the meat of the pitch. Florida spit out the other end, made a little ground, but lost possession when the offense didn’t realign quick enough and a panicked kick was blocked in front of the try zone.

Dartmouth started pounding through the center, and Madison Hughes took a final pass down the sideline for the opening try, which Derek Fish converted, 7-0.

From the subsequent kickoff, Nate Brakeley kep the ball in Dartmouth’s hands, and his teammates made good use of it. A minute after the last try, Will Mueller was trotting across the line and centering the ball for Fish’s easy extras, 14-0 into the break.

After the break, Florida appeared less at ease. Brett Stubbs knocked on the opening kickoff, which was short, and when the Gators got their hand on the ball, the careful passing that marked the first half had dissolved.

That said, it still took Dartmouth five minutes to add to their point total. Paul Jarvis did a good job of corralling a kick ahead and offloading to Lucas Baistrocchi, who trotted upfield. He was tracked down but a couple of offloads later saw Kevin Clark finish off the pressure-relieving effort.

Hughes had the last word of the day, as he danced through a tired defense from 10 minutes out.

“We didn’t really focus on what the opposition was doing,” Hughes said. “We know that if we play our game, then we can compete with any team in this tournament.”

Today wasn’t a perfect day for Dartmouth and Hughes acknowledged that retaining possession, holding onto the ball a bit longer, was an area that could use some improvement.

Hughes played rugby overseas during high school and has played in Twickenham, but has been impressed with the CRC and the response of the fans. For Derek Fish, who finished the day with 38 points on two tries and 14 conversions, is especially stoked to be in Philadelphia.

Fish participated in the first-ever CRC in Columbus, Ohio, but an unfortunate injury prevented his participation last year. He’s returned fit and feisty, and is just as dangerous as he was two years ago.

“All of the teams have gotten a lot better,” Fish reflected on 2010’s competition. “It looks like teams are focusing on 7s yearround – I know we’ve been working it into our practices our season. It’s been fun to watch players become more mature.”

When Fish last played, NBC Sports didn’t boast the involvement that it does now. When the teams had to coordinate their second-half kickoff with the timing of commercial breaks, Fish was acquainted with some of the event’s evolutions since he last played.

“You get her and you adapt to what they throw at you,” Fish shrugged off the off-field distractions. “We’re just enjoying the ride and having a good time.”

It’s safe to say that Fish will have a good time if Dartmouth returns to the podium with a championship trophy.

“It was bittersweet,” Fish said of watching the 2011 CRC on tv. “These guys are my best friends, so I was happy for them. But at the same time, I wanted to be out there, too. It’s definitely motivated me during my recovery.”

Dartmouth continues their quest to defend their title tomorrow, when they bout Wisconsin, pool A’s #2 team, in the quarterfinals.

Written by Pat Clifton    Saturday, 02 June 2012 17:23    PDF Print Write e-mail
8th Man Helps Delaware to Cup Quarters
Tournaments - USA 7s CRC

Delaware, for the third time in three games, started off slow against Maryland in the final round of pool play Saturday. The Blue Hens needed a win to advance to the Cup Quarterfinals, and conceding an early 7-point deficit wasn’t the best way to get that result.

Maryland struck first, and it was the lethal Trevor Tanifum doing the scoring, as he’d done so often on day one for the Terrapins.  

Delaware traded tries with Maryland the rest of the half, giving up another to Tanifum. The Terps scored both off of designed plays following restarts. Pat Mullarkey, the fiery-haired spark plug on Delaware’s bench, adamantly delivered instructions to his teammates after Tanifum’s second score.

“We weren’t playing very good defense. I told them they needed to slide down harder on the kickoff, because they just had one burner on the outside who was hurting us,” he explained.

Mullarkey then came into the game, and helped spark a 34-point run from Delaware to finish the game.

It was Mullarkey’s second big game off the bench. He scored two tries in the second half of Delaware’s 17-10 comeback win over Florida.   

“I usually prefer the role of starting rather than being the spark off the bench, but I’ll do whatever it takes to help my team win, and we’ve got such good depth that I don’t mind coming off the bench,” Mullarkey said.

Delaware will match up against Life in Sunday’s quarterfinal. The Running Eagles are defending USA Rugby College 7s champions, and they’ve never lost a 7s match. Knocking them off and advancing to the semifinals at PPL Park, on the banks of the Delaware River, would be pretty special for the Blue Hens. But to do it, they’ll have to start quickly.

“There’s definitely something to prove. Everyone thinks we’re this small state, but we’re a great program and we have been for years and it’s time for people to start recognizing that,” said Mullarkey.

“I think when the other team scores, that kind of wakes us up, but we need to come out against Life and those better teams that we face tomorrow and come out strong from the beginning.”

Delaware 38
Tries: Vannoy (2), Sanchez, Tapp (2), Goldring
Cons: Mattina (3), Goldring

Maryland 14
Tries: Tanifum (2)
Cons: Cima (2)

Written by Alex Goff    Saturday, 02 June 2012 16:04    PDF Print Write e-mail
All American 7s Coach Picked
RUGBYmag Premier - Exclusive News

Tony Pacheco has been named the USA Rugby All American 7s Coach.

Pacheco helped coach Central Washington to two Northwest Collegiate Rugby Conference 7s titles, as well as an LVI title in 2011, a 4th place finish in the 2011 CRC, and a 2nd place finish in the USA Rugby national tournament.

Pacheco will coach the team at the USA trials this summer.

Written by Alex Goff    Saturday, 02 June 2012 16:43    PDF Print Write e-mail
Badgers Break Into Top 8
Tournaments - USA 7s CRC

Wisconsin got toasted by Life, but made the quarters anyway. Marvin Dangerfield photo.The University of Wisconsin carried some baggage with them into the USA 7s CRC Saturday at PPL Park.

First of all, no one really thought of them as a 7s powerhouse, despite the fact they had won the Big 10.

Second, one of their best players, Ben Knight, came with the team only as a manager, as he is injured.

Still, after tying Temple 12-12 and beating Penn State in a close one 19-15, the Badgers, despite a humbling loss to Life at the end of the day, are into the Cup Quarterfinals.

“Overall we’re happy,” said Andrew Hanske, sporting a newly-broken nose.  “We moved on in the comp, which is what we came here to do. We’re matched up with the defending champs. But we accomplished what we wanted to.”

It was a rough note to end on, losing to Life 36-12.

“It was the last game of the day, and some of the guys were pretty tired, but we also didn’t take care of the ball very well,” said Hanske. “You need the ball to score, and if the other team has the ball they’re going to be able to score. They did really well on kickoffs.”

Without Knight all the players have stepped up, said Hanske, and playing in front of a large and loud crowd at the CRC helped, too.

“It’s a whole lot of fun,” he said. “It’s really cool going through that tunnel. All of the guys are loving this.”

Written by Alex Goff    Saturday, 02 June 2012 15:31    PDF Print Write e-mail
Video: USA Team in Training
MultiMedia - Videos

Alex Goff photoThe USA National Team working out at West Point.

Footage by This is a simple ball-handling and decision-making drill combined with quick defensive alignment.


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