Nov 18, 2017
UMW traveled about 10 hours to Oxford, Ohio and played 2 games in 2 days, outscoring their opposition a net 81-19 with wins against Rowan in the national quarterfinals and #1 ranked Kentucky in the semifinals of D1AA.
On Saturday UMW utilized 5 new starters and ran out to an early lead over Rowan, winning 43-12. 8-man Matthew Gordon scored 3 try's to highlight the UMW win. UMW did not play their best and had a bit of trouble connecting passes or running multi-phases, yet emerged relatively unscathed for the Sunday game vs Kentucky for a trip to the final in Furman, SC.
Today, UMW got out to an amazing start, knocking Kentucky backwards in most phases in the first 20 minutes. UMW was aware the Kentucky had numerous dangerous runners and was a very physical team.
Hooker Tom Williams scored a try at the 3:00 mark after multiple forward breakdowns in the mud. 6 minutes later fullback Bradlee Nicholls took a short pop from flyhalf Michael Sacks and streaked through for a try. Michael played well all day and put an enormous amount of pressure on Kentucky's #10. UMW kept up the pressure and after many phases wing Mattson Bueche touched down in the corner. Tom Williams kick from the sideline split the ridiculous posts to make it 19-0 UMW. At the 25 min mark #9 Harry Masters scooped up a loose ball, dummied the Kentucky defense and ran 20 meters for a try, converted by Williams.
UMW played amazing defense, yet kept incurring penalties at the end of the 1st half through the beginning of the 2nd half. Kentucky showed how they ran the table in their league, holding the ball and running crash after crash, but UMW's line held. UMW was at 13 men due to infringement calls and finally Kentucky scored a converted try at the 48 minute mark. Kentucky had numerous hard tacklers and moved the ball well Saturday and Sunday, yet UMW's defense was the difference. Flankers Tucker Chewning and Jack Levine and centers Terence McPhillips IV and Daniel Northwood pushed up fast and shut down any momentum KY had.
At the 70 minute mark Jack Levine got UMW back on the board with a try that started and ended with the forwards. Tom Williams closed out the scoring with a nice run up the middle, converting his own try. UMW 38, Kentucky 7.
I can't say enough good things about our coaches, parents, and managers. Selfless dedication to winning the right way. It would not be possible to note all the exceptional performances but in addition to those mentioned above Nathan Neri, Lewis Grant and Philip Harrison played extremely smart and physical rugby all weekend.
UMW will play St Joseph's of Philadelphia in the d1aa final Dec 3rd in Furman, SC.