Posted: Mar 18, 2017
In a well-played, back and forth, physical match up the University of Mary Washington beat NC State in Fredericksburg, VA 50-35.
Both teams had slightly different lineups than their usual starting 15 - but the game was still very skillful and entertaining. UMW played the entire game with only 2 seniors in their 23, which bodes well for the fall. NC State is to be commended for honoring a home and home agreement that has seen this rivalry sustained throughout the past 20 years.
Said UMW Director of Rugby Tim Brown "I worry about 15's rugby, or even more specifically the players that play 15's rugby - with no national direction a lot of teams feel it is no longer necessary to even honor their half of the traditional home and home commitment - out of the 5 teams that owed us matches, only NC State did not cite 7's commitments - and I use the word commitment loosely - if you owe someone a match, you should play the match. I want to commend them for playing such a competitive game".
UMW got off to a quick start against NC State, lost their lead and then accelerated to a nice win after getting back to school Monday and being out of school for poor weather in early in the week. UMW was happy to be home after a successful Ireland Tour where they defeated a mixed Univ College Dublin side and the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology in Galway.
Freshman scrumhalf Ewan Corley (Leicester, England) scored a try at the 10 min mark and junior Justin Ford (Virginia Beach, VA) converted. Center sophomore Mattson Bueche (Richmond, VA) scored next again and Ford missed the conversion. NC State, with some blazing speed in the backline, then scored a converted try at 17 minutes. UMW sophomore 8-man Matthew Gordon (Aberdeen, Scotland) next scored at 25:00 which was converted by Ford. Finally, freshman wing Logan Ray (Fairfax, VA) scored an unconverted try at the 29:00 to close out the half 24-7 UMW.
NC State started out the 2nd half strong though and showed why they were the Cardinal Conference Champions this fall by reeling off 28 unanswered points as UMW just simply looked tired, and tackling suffered - they appeared to be feeling the effects of a big spring break combined with NC States physicality. UMW needed help and the score stood at 35-24 to NC State.
Beginning at the 63 minute UMW showed what the varsity weight room and intensive strength and conditioning is doing for the team - they proceeded to dig deep and reel off 26 unanswered points in the last 19 minutes. Junior center Terence McPhilips (Virginia Beach, VA) scored a converted try and then an unconverted try at the 63:00 and 71:00 minute mark to pull UMW ahead 36-35. UMW turned up the intensity another level and scrum half Corley scored a 2nd try that was converted and junior wing Nathan Neri (McLean, VA) touched down with almost no time remaining and Ford converted to make the final 50-35 UMW.
UMW travels to Wilmington NC to take on always tough UNC Wilmington next weekend.