Princeton Athletic Club is faced with a new challenge this year. A year after winning the Empire last season and making a run to the National Quarterfinals where they ran into a buzz saw in eventual National Champions Wisconsin, PAC saw several DI teams drop to their league over the summer.
Monmouth, Buffalo, New York Rugby Club, Long Island, Morris and the Village Lions were all DI last year, and with the club restructure moved down to DII this year. Nonetheless, Princeton has remained as competitive as ever. They’re 3-1 in Empire play with recent wins over two of the recently DI clubs – the Village Lions and Buffalo.
“We’ve usually played most of the teams in friendlies, so we’ve always been competitive with them,” said Princeton coach Paul Silverman of the DI clubs. “Everyone was worried about Buffalo, because they were undefeated [last year], but otherwise we’ve played Monmouth in friendlies, New York in friendlies and the Village Lions in friendlies.”
Princeton beat Buffalo, which went 7-0 in the Empire’s DI last year, 44-20, and it could have been worse according to Silverman, who said PAC left some tries on the board.
Leading Princeton this year is captain Chris Sedlack, who slides from flanker to outside center.
“He probably has the best work rate of anybody around,” said Silverman of Sedlack. “He’s an ex-wrestler. He tackles well, does everything, runs the ball well.”
Princeton has the weekend off, but then they go on the road for two games Silverman is worried about, even if the opponents are winless.
“The next two weeks are trap games. We have to play Montclair, who even though they haven’t won a game, playing them at home is always very tough,” said Silverman. “We beat them, I think, three times last year, so we feel like that will be their Super Bowl. Then we have the trap game going up to Rochester the following week. Then we finish with Long Island and Morris at home, which are always battles.”