Men's DI Clubs

Written by Alex Goff    Wednesday, 19 October 2011 19:34    PDF Print Write e-mail
Club Player of the Week: John Vitale
Clubs - Men's DI Clubs

The strong silent type. John Vitale. Matt Priest photoJohn Vitale has been one of the best tighthead props in American rugby for several years. Very quiet and unassuming, he’s the sort of the player who makes his most eloquent statements on the field.

Vitale is a central figure for the Chicago Lions and his presence was certainly felt this past weekend. Vitale came back from injury earlier this fall, but hadn’t quite hit his best form and was rested a little by Head Coach Marty Wiggins.

But Vitale led the way Saturday in an upset of Palmer College of Chiropractic. The Lions beat previously undefeated Palmer 42-19, and Wiggins pointed to the presence and leadership of Vitale as a huge part of the effort.

The Lions needed that win, as their playoff prospects haven’t looked the best since two early-fall losses in league play. That one victory, and Vitale’s significant contribution up front, has put them in position to challenge for the #2 seed in the Midwest crossovers with the South next spring.

Note: The Lions dedicated their game to their ailing president, Keith Brown, who was pleased to hear of the victory when the club visited him in the hospital that day. Wednesday, October 19, Brown passed away. RUGBYMag would like to join the rugby community in expressing our condolences to Keith's clubmates and family.

Written by Alex Goff    Wednesday, 19 October 2011 18:55    PDF Print Write e-mail
Cincy Win Almost Clinches #1
Clubs - Men's DI Clubs

The Wolfhounds put in a big second half to defeat Columbus. Nancy Trent photoWith Cincinnati’s big win over Columbus and the Detroit Tradesmen losing in a surprise result 52-28 to Indianapolis has given the Wolfhounds just enough cushion for them to feel confident of winning 1st place in the Midwest DI Club Eastern Conference.

Cincinnati Head Coach Nick Lauterbach said his team didn’t play well in the first half of their 33-5 victory over Columbus, but found that playing against the wind they got some momentum.

“It’s possible playing with the wind we could have over-emphasized the kick, and we kept the ball more in hand in the second half,” he said. “In the end the second half we had a balanced performance and I am pleased with how we improved in the second half.”

This result, coupled with the Tradesmen fading badly on the road makes it all very simple:

Cincinnati can eliminate the Tradesmen from 1st place by getting at least one point from Saturday’s match. Even if they fail to do that, the Tradesmen would have to win by a significant margin to take 1st.

Buffalo remains in with a chance to take 1st place, but will have to win both their remaining league matches, and hope Cincinnati takes no more than three points from their remaining two. Even then, tiebreakers make it tough for Buffalo to get to first.

The Wolfhounds have to look at it all simply. Beat Detroit and they are 1st. If they lose to Detroit, they can beat Indianapolis at home October 29 and be 1st anyway.

Detroit’s loss to Indy also has ramifications for 2nd place, as now Buffalo is two points behind the Tradesmen with a game in hand and two winnable matches left on their schedule.

Indianapolis, with their victory last Saturday, remain in the hunt for a playoff spot. But to accomplish that they must beat Buffalo and get at least bonus points again Cincinnati, and hope Buffalo loses both their remaining games.

All this matters, because the Midwest playoff system (playoffs, by the way, have been moved to the spring) does not allow for a low-seeded team to come out of nowhere to claim the top seed in the crossover matches with the South.

The #3 teams can only get the 4th seed. Teams that finish second in their conferences can get as high as #2 and as low as #4.

In the Eastern Conference, then it’s likely that Cincinnati will be 1st, Buffalo 2nd, and Detroit Tradesmen 3rd. However, Buffalo and Detroit could switch, and Buffalo could even be overtaken by Indianapolis if the Western New York club implodes in the next two weeks.

In the Western Conference, Palmer has as good as clinched 1st. The Chicago Lions, with their improbable defeat of Palmer this past weekend, can clinch second with a win over Metropolis in Minneapolis. Not an easy proposition given that Metropolis beat the Lions in Chicago September 17. Metropolis has a relatively easy game to finish out the season, against 1-5 Chicago Blaze. But that result means nothing if they can’t beat the Lions.

Midwest Playoff Structure (originally scheduled for November and now reportedly moved to the spring):

Conference #1s play off for #1 seed from Midwest

Loser of that match plays winner of #2 v #2 for 2nd seed in Midwest. Lost of that playoff is #3.

Loser of #2 v #2 plays winner of Eastern #3 v. Western #3 for 4th Midwest seed.

Written by Press Release    Tuesday, 18 October 2011 11:33    PDF Print Write e-mail
New Orleans Enters DI With Win
Clubs - Men's DI Clubs

DI debutants New Orleans laid down a marker this past weekend, traveling light to Atlanta and defeating the Renegades 31-29 at Silverback Stadium. Tries for New Orleans were scored by flanker Ryan Fitzgerald, flyhalf Jeff Reuther (2), wing Chance Doyle, and replacement wing Alex Phillpot.

In addition to being short-handed, NORFC overcame a penalty count that weighed heavily in the Rengades' favor.

New Orleans were buoyed by a front row of Matt Upton, Adam Massey and Wes Eustis, with Sean Malek coming on late at tighthead. New Orleans' backs were dangerous throughout, set loose by the consistent service of former O-Club scrumhalf Justin Lucas.

Written by RUGBYMag Staff    Saturday, 15 October 2011 22:47    PDF Print Write e-mail
Raptors Win on Road
Clubs - Men's DI Clubs

The Glendale Raptors traveled to Chicago and in a tough match, defeated the Chicago Griffins 38-19.

The Griffins looked solid in the phases and their continuity, plus a snappy kick-and-chase, led to two early tries. But the Raptors adjusted at halftime, and closed that tactic down in the second half.

“In the second part of the game, the forwards responded well at the breakdowns and showed more aggression," said Glendale Director of Rugby Mark Bullock. "Also pleasing to see was the way they tackled the Griffins behind the gain line and therefore afforded more possession opportunities for the team.” 

Bullock gave a lot of credit to the backs who capitalized on ball possession and used it wisely thus putting points on the board.

“Considering the windy conditions, the backs controlled the ball very well and stuck to our style of running rugby which is always pleasing to see.”

Ata Malifa was awarded Man of the Match, as his goalkicking was effective in windy conditions, and he also played good defense and scored three tries.

Glendale Raptors 38
Tries:  Ata Malifa 3, Cristian Sarmento, Spencer Scott, Iniki Fa'amausui
Convs: Ata Malifa 4

Chicago Griffins 19
Tries: 3
Convs: 2

Written by Alex Goff    Saturday, 15 October 2011 22:44    PDF Print Write e-mail
Blues Rout Boulder
Clubs - Men's DI Clubs

The Kansas City Blues recorded their first win of the West RFU league season Saturday with a 63-3 defeat of visiting Boulder.

KC scored eight tries from seven different players, including three in the first 15 minutes, and were in control from the start. Flanker Afele Taula was the only player to touch down twice, while fullback Jordan Nevel notched 18 points from kicks.

The Blues improve to 1-1, while Boulder drops to 0-3.

Kansas City Blues 63
Tries: Orr, Mercer, Nelson, Smith, Cummings, Taula 2, Eftink, Schwartze
Convs: Nevel 6
Pens: Nevel 2

Boulder 3
Pens: 1


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