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UMW 7's Win Third Straight Tournament

Man of the Tournament: Bradlee Nicholls
Man of the Tournament: Bradlee Nicholls

The first match of the day kicked off at 9am in cold windy conditions against North Carolina State. cored the first try of the tournament at the 1:05 mark making quick work of NC States defense with his quick footwork on attack. Two minutes later he followed up with yet another try! Two minutes of hard pressed defense from NC State held UMW at bay and after great offensive work, they were able to get their first try of the match  at the 5:11 mark that they converted for an additional 2 points. Joseph Callery with his nearly famous "duck footed" running was able to get one last converted try in for UMW before the half time mark putting the score at 17-7. UMW came out from halftime with vigor and put three more tries on the board in four minutes. Two from Harry Masters and one from senior Phil Harrison. Two tries were converted putting the score at 34-7. NC State wasn't letting those quick tries put them down, and in the last 10 seconds of the match put one last unconverted try in, ending the match 34-12 to UMW.

The second match of the day for UMW saw them facing off against Kutztown II a little over an hour later. Riding the momentum of their first match, UMW came out with all pistons firing. The first half of the match saw UMW keeping constant retention of the ball and not giving Kutztown any ground when they had the ball continually forcing turnovers. Joseph Callery scored the first try at the 1:25 mark to be converted by Aidan Gallagher. In his 7's debut, Matthew Gordon followed up with a try of his own two minutes later off of a BEAUTIFULLY executed lineout play! Not to be left out of this quick rugby being played, Harry Masters found himself on a quick break away two minutes later to score another converted try. With one minute left in the half UMW didn't give up any ground on defense and kept Kutztown at bay. Within the initial two minutes of the second half, Aidan Gallagher got his first try of the tournament and Joseph Callery got his second of the match putting the score at 31-0. Off of the next kick off, Kutztown was able to break away and get their only try of the match; it was unconverted. 40 seconds later 7s Captain Harry Masters responded with another converted try of his own. UMW continued their cutthroat defense shutting down any attempt Kutztown made on attack. In the last minute of the match, another 7's debut saw Jordan Sacks on a hard break away of his own score the last try of the game. UMW wins 43-5.

Match three of five for UMW pitted them against Mount Saint Mary's for the first time this season. MSM had faced some stiff competition during the day already, and UMW was going to be no different. The first five minutes of the match saw both teams battling it out on defense before a try was scored. Every time either side got close to scoring, the other team would force a turnover or penalty. While MSM had some solid ball movement and line breaks, UMW always followed suite with quick defense and aggressive chase downs by their sweeper to deny the try. UMW would take the win 21-0 with tries scored by Justin Ford, Harry Masters, and Jordan Sacks; all three successfully converted. This victory locked UMW in as the winner of their pool, and the 1st seed for overall point differential.

The past two tournaments of this season has seen UMW facing off against JMU, this day however pitted them against each other in the semifinals. The winner would move on to the final of the day. UMW kicked off the match with Joseph Callery chasing down for a quick tap back to Matthew Gordon who scored in the first ten seconds of the match. The next six minutes showed exactly why these two teams face off tournament after tournament. Neither team could break the other teams defensive line no matter how many times the attack pressed. Finally, right before half, Matthew Gordon was able to break through for another try. Halftime saw UMW in the lead 10-0 leaving two tries unconverted. At the 8:41 mark UMW's Harry Masters scores their last try of the game, this one thankfully was converted by Aidan Gallagher. JMU was nowhere ready to give up and made quick work of UMW's exhausted defense scoring two converted tries of their own. With 30 seconds left in the game UMW knew they couldn't afford any mistakes. They retained the last kick off of the match and moved the ball back and forth across the field crisply until they knew time had expired kicking the ball out to end the game. UMW won a close game to put them in the final with a score of 17-14.

The final of the match saw UMW yet against facing off against a TOUGH D1A team, Notre Dame College. With varying starting rosters throughout the day, Coach Stephens once again put faith in his starting 7 of the day. With a large crowd forming, and UMW's own 15's side back from a victorious day; the pressure to win was on. Seven minutes of absolutely impressive defense was played and not a single try was scored in the first half. UMW performed with patience and trust in each other maintaining completely flat defense with expert sweeper Bradlee Nichols stopping every single break NDC got. At the half with no points on the board, UMW knew they had to trust the system and put a try in. Two minutes later senior Justin Ford did exactly that off of a great offload scoring in the far corner. Unfortunately with the high winds and the tough angle, it wasn't able to be converted. UMW subbed in some more fresh legs and kept the defense up for another two minutes not letting NDC score their only try until the 11:45 mark after their runner broke 2 tackles to score. With the score tied at 5-5 and a little under two minutes left, it was time to put the mental and physical fitness of nine weeks of training to work. Maintaining the ball and working the game plan was pivotal, and UMW performed gloriously. In the last 15 seconds of the match Matthew Gordon threw a LONG skip pass across the field in which Seamus Brennan tapped it the full width the Justin Ford. With NDC spread and rushing to the far side of the field, Ford swung it back to Harry Masters who ran a switch with Matthew Gordon driving it in at the last second for the game winning try. Aidan Gallagher converted it ending the match and winning the tournament 12-5 to UMW. 

UMW went 5-0 for the day to lock in their third 7s tournament win. Next week will see UMW traveling to JMU to compete yet again. 

Man of the Tournament goes to Bradlee Nichols who's valiant work on defense and massive ball carries on attack helped to win the tournament.