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Written by Pat Clifton    Sunday, 25 September 2011 13:44    PDF Print Write e-mail
DII College Playoff Path
Colleges - Men's DII College

The DII College season is well underway in the Midwest, West, Mid-Atlantic, New England, Met NY and NY State areas, but until now the playoff structure for DII was unknown.

Though the college restructure laid out by USA Rugby doesn’t call for DII teams to join a conference until the 2012/2013 competitive cycle (which we should probably just call season, while we’re Americanizing things), the collegiate transition from unions to conferences will drastically affect the 2011/2012 playoff picture.

The country has been divided into four regions -- East, South, West Coast and Central. These regions will have four-team playoffs (rounds of 16 and 8) that will send a winner to the national semifinal, a la the DI playoffs of last season. The sites for the playoffs have yet to be determined, but a bidding process is expected to be announced “soon”.

How teams reach the regional playoffs is different in nearly every region. What is uniform is that conferences who have formed early, of which there are three, will send their champion directly to the national playoffs. Win the Southern Rugby Conference, Dixie Rugby Conference or Rugby Northeast, and you’re in the Sweet 16.

Two pilot Geographical Unions -- New England and the amalgamation of New York State and Met NY -- will send their champs directly to the national playoffs. The remaining 11 seeds will be awarded via territorial playoffs. Texas, another pilot GU, will have its teams compete in the TU playoff structure they traditionally have; the West.

The Pacific Coast gets the most bids of any TU with three. Southern California and the South get just one, while the West, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest get two a piece.

(The below regions are not unofficial)

EAST
Rugby Northeast (Conference) vs. New York (GU)
New England (GU) vs. Mid-Atlantic 2 (TU)

SOUTH
South (TU) vs. Southern Rugby Conference (Conference)
Mid Atlantic 1 (TU) vs. Dixie Rugby Conference (Conference)

WEST COAST
Pacific 1 (TU) vs. SoCal (TU)
Pacific 2 (TU) vs. Pacific 3 (TU)

CENTRAL
Midwest 1 (TU) vs. West 2 (TU)
Midwest 2 (TU) vs. West 1 (TU)

 
Written by Alex Goff    Sunday, 25 September 2011 13:44    PDF Print Write e-mail
Great Start for Monmouth
Clubs - Men's DI Clubs

After finishing 4-4 in the MetNY Men's DI club league in 2010, Monmouth is off to an superb start this fall, beating the Village Lions 34-5 and Long Island 36-19 to start 2-0.

"It's always a pleasure to run with Long Island, who has been the class of our union for years, and plays the game hard and cleanly every time out," said club president and scrumhalf Rob Morello. "The word of the day for us today was 'consistent.' We made three assumptions going into today's game: 1) Long Island had seen our backline in action during the summer, and would defend us very well on the outside 2) that Long Island would try to bully us in the pack, because they were aware of our personnel turnover over the past year and 3) based on scouting from last week, that Long Island would potentially gas in the second half. All three came true."

Long Island played very solid defense, especially out wide, and pinned Monmouth's attack back.

But the Monmouth pack, despite being somewhat small, was hard-nosed and after three works of strength work and training in the set pieces, they started to wear Long Island down.

Lock and elder statesman James Barlow was a stabilizing force in the drive and lineout, and some personnel shifts late helped keep the Monmouth pack fresh.

They needed it, as at halftime the score was only 12-10 after Long island scored late.

"I was disappointed we let Long Island off the hook with a man in the bin at the end of the first half," said Head Coach Pat Moroney. "We then had a period of 10 mins in the second half where are concentration was not where it needed to be. However we created a lot of pressure with our defense causing turnovers and forcing mistakesm. Our bench players upped the tempo in the last 20 and it was very satisfying to finish on the front foot after fading during that portion of the same game last year."

Hooker Dave Del Pizzo was shifted to prop in the last 20 and held his own in the scrum while rallying the defense. His leadership kept the Monmouth club on task.

The backs scored all the tries for Monmouth, with Eric Daneman, Rob Morello, Kevin Kustelski and Michael Byrnes all touching down once, and Joe Lucarelli adding a try, three conversions and a penalty for 14 points on his own. However flyhalf Eric Fitzgerald praised the forwards to winning the game, saying after the match that it was the platform from the pack that created the victory.

All in all, a good start for the season for a club that usually isn't the first one you list when talking New York-area rugby. But maybe it will be.

"We stayed with our year-long gameplan, which is consistent phasing and outstanding defense," said Morello. "Having been playing together every weekend since January, this is a committed and quietly confident bunch. If we trust each other and keep working hard, we feel as a group that good things are bound to happen."


 
Written by Jackie Finlan    Sunday, 25 September 2011 10:52    PDF Print Write e-mail
Rutgers Holds Off Vassar to Lead Met NY
Colleges - Women's College

The Farm played host to a nail-biting game yesterday, as visiting Rutgers women held onto a 24-22 victory over a determined Vassar.

Despite the valiant effort, Vassar fell 24-22 to Rutgers.

“Rutgers were up for this game as they had lost last year to Vassar in the playoffs,” Vassar coach Tony Brown said. “They ran hard pushing the ball wide to good effect, defended the fringes of rucks with numbers, and made some useful kicks to gain territory.”

“Our forward pack worked hard as a cohesive group and provided clean ball to the back line in order to use space that was capitalized on for scoring opportunities,” Rutgers coach Mike Ross said. “Strong tackling was the aspect that shined for Rutgers' defense and that proved to be the deciding factor.”

Rutgers took a 12-5 lead into the half but not until Vassar scrumhalf Margaret Kwateng illuminated the scoreboard for the game’s first try.

Rutgers had the edge in the backs, as evidenced by point scorers: flyhalf Merissa Smith (2 tries), inside center Deanna Cho, wing Michelle Wieczorek, and fullback Lauren Magnusson hit two conversions. The team’s first try evolved after Vassar’s defense doubled up on an eightman pick, allowing Smith to hit the gap and outpace her pursuers for her first of two tries, 7-5 after 20 minutes.

“The next 20 minutes was a back-and-forth affair, and Vassar was guilty of trying to run around Rutgers’ speedy backs,” Brown said. “It was an option that took the ball a long way from their forwards and played right into the visitors’ hands. There was plenty of admirable effort and determined running but too often it led to breakdowns in the attack and no significant gains.”

Right before halftime, Rutgers made good on a sustained period of possession, attacking the weakside of a ruck from 10 meters out and rewarded with a try, 12-5 half.

Rutgers went up 19-5 early in the second half, and it appeared that the visitors had the momentum. But then Vassar changed tactics, kept the ball in tighter for a more forward-oriented game that tried to nullify Rutgers’ speedy back three.

“A rugged forward battle ensued with Vassar forwards dominating the rucks to make darting runs around the base of the breakdowns,” Ross said. In particular, Ross highlighted prop Shanaye Williams as incredibly difficult to tackle, resulting in numerous long runs for the front row.

Vassar began its comeback with an Taylor try that came from a pick off a five-meter scrum (19-10) and was followed by another five-pointer from fullback Addie Provenzano, who sped down the sideline for the 19-15 scoreline.

Rutgers put up the game-sealing points (24-15) afterward, but Vassar made it interesting as hard work from Williams and prop Nichelle Jackson helped set up Kwateng’s second try, which Taylor converted, 24-22.

“Vassar was and will continue to be a well coached group with enormous potential and will serve to be a dangerous competitor in the playoffs,” Ross complimented his opponents. “Rutgers earned a good win,” Brown answered.

It was the third bonus-point win for Rutgers (3-0), which has played its toughest matches of the season already against Marist and Vassar. The team’s in good shape to take the league, although New Paltz next week could give Rutgers a good game. Vassar (1-1) is happy to bank the bonus point in the close loss, and they’ll have some time to work on their game before next big match against Marist on Oct. 16.

Rutgers 24
Tries: Smith 2, Cho, Wieczorek
Conversions: Magnusson 2

Vassar 22
Tries: Kwateng 2, Taylor, Provenzano
Conversions: Taylor

 
Written by Alex Goff    Sunday, 25 September 2011 13:14    PDF Print Write e-mail
Defense Leads Vols to Title
Sevens - Collegiate Sevens

After outscoring opponents 121-7 in the four games leading into the final of the Southeastern Collegiate Rugby Conference Olympic 7s, the University of Tennessee found themselves facing an obstacle.

Tightfive photoFaced with a determined Florida squad that had battled throughout the day, the Volunteers were hit with a yellow card and, predictably, a try soon after. Tie ballgame, 14-14. Florida, in half of a game, had scored twice as many points as 56 minutes of work from other teams had tallied.

“Going into halftime we still felt confident,” said UT’s Matt Neuhart. “Our defense had led the way all season, and we felt that once the yellow card was over, we were good to go.”

Tennessee has, as much as any college program, embraced the idea of collegiate 7s. Since appearing in the first USA 7s Collegiate Rugby Championship they have continued to play and train 7s.

“We’re starting to play better team 7s,” said Neuhart. “A lot of us have been playing together or against each other for a lot of years – since high school. We know how to work together and play as a team. You look at the results; LSU is a really good team and one we always have trouble, with, and we did well against them.”

Tennessee beat the Tigers 36-0.

In the end, Tennessee scored two tries to win the SCRC 7s, led by the outstanding play of Nick Evans, Joe Brink and Nick Vigder, who all logged significant minutes throughout the tournament. They won 26-14, and, said Neuhart, had to.

“We were hosting this tournament, and we wanted to put on a good event, but we also felt we had to win, put on a good showing, for the home fans,” he said. “Going into that second half, we knew we could do it.”

 

 
Written by Alex Goff    Sunday, 25 September 2011 00:38    PDF Print Write e-mail
St. Bonaventure Impressive
Colleges - Men's DI College

St. Bonvanture remains atop the NY State Premier college division after shutting out Brockport 48-0 Saturday. Binghamton, also shutout winners 34-0, join Bonnies at 2-0.

Despite starting relatively slowly against Brockport, St. Bonaventure put in a solid effort, said Head Coach Clarence Picard. The slow start was in part due to Brockport's physicality in the breakdown and in their tackling.

"But eventually we started competing better in that area and getting our backline decent ball," Picard said.

The score was 19-0 at halftime but felt perhaps a little closer. But Bonnies had improved their game from two weeks ago. Then, they beat Syracuse handily but struggled mightily come scrum time. This time, it was the rucks that gave Bonaventure difficulties, while in the set piece they showed improvement.

"Today Brockport gave us a lot of trouble at the breakdown but our forwards had a much better day in set pieces," said Picard. "Once we were able to clean up the rucks and control possession in their half our backs did a good job of just running straight, making good decisions and thankfully we scored some tries to secure the win."

Man of the Match was wing Nick Sylor, who scored two tries and played well defensively as well. But Picard also noted how his forwards hung in ther against a big, physical Brockport pack.

Brockport also ran their inside center Phil Lauria hard at the St. Bonaventure midfield. But they held.

Now looking on Picard said it's tough to tell whether they are doing enough to win. Binghamton is undefeated also.

"Binghamton has two good wins under their belt, and of course we aren't looking past the defending champs, UB," he said of University of Buffalo. "They have been the top team in Western New York for so long, just loaded with fit, skilled players, we are excited to get to work on Tuesday and prepare for a huge match. They really beat us in a lot of areas last year so we need to buckle down some things, especially our backline defense. They have some hard midfield runners and if we don't get over the gainline and make our tackles they will be very difficult to stop, especially with the match being played in Buffalo."

St. Bonvanture 48                SUNY Brockport 0
Tries: Sylor 2, Atkinson, Brennan 2, Meister, Johnson, Sullivan
Convs: McCorry 4

1 Tom Tyler (Alex Brussard @ 40')
2 Justin Walker (Tallon Moritz @ 65')
3 Ben Atkinson (Steve Kuzara @ 60')
4 Chris Schott
5 Nick Maurer (Capt.)
6 Mike George (Tim Hanna @ 48')
7 Jon Garbin (Sam Giordano @ 70')
8 John Sullivan
9 Pete Servis
10 Kevin McCorry
11 Kevin Corley (Greg Johnson @ 40')
12 Taye Daniel (Mike Murray @ 40')
13 Evan Meister
14 Nick Sylor
15 Ryan Brennan


 


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