Posted: Apr 13, 2019
UMW travelled to the Chesapeake Collegiate Rugby Conference Championship with the number one seed from the season. This meant they were in a pool of three teams, with one bye game, as opposed to other teams in a pool of four. UMW travelled with their full 7's squad to continue their successful season as this tournament was a qualifier for USA Rugby's 2019 Collegiate 7's National Championship being held in Tucson, AZ May 24-26, 2019.
The first match of the day pitted them against a strong Salisbury University side. The end of the overnight rain and the rise in temperatures set this out to be a humid match. Senior Lewis Grant put us on the scoreboard 50 seconds into the match after a lengthy run with a try converted by Aidan Gallagher. The next four minutes showed both teams pressing each other on defense with every line break ending before a try could be scored. Joseph Callery forced a pivotal turnover penalty letting us kick for a lineout. Mattson Bueche on his return back from an injury, flicked a pass to Aidan Gallagher for a try taking the match into halftime. UMW started the half off strong with Joseph Callery scoring a try with a dummy pass to be converted by Justin Ford putting the score at 19-0. Salisbury started their own press down the field forcing UMW defense to work in overtime; unfortunately Salisbury put a try down in the corner that would go unconverted. Using their momentum, Salisbury put one last try in at 11:00; again unconverted. With the score 19-10, UMW put the ball again in Senior Mattson Bueche's hand who blasted through Salisbury's defense with a massive line break offloading into Callery's hands for one last try of the match that would go converted. UMW won their first match of the day, 26-10 over Salisbury.
Match two set UMW against tournament host, University of Maryland, a team that they had not faced this season yet. Two minutes of solid defense from both sides saw very few errors and every line break stopped until Maryland finally broke through and scored a converted try. 7's Captain Harry Masters round a hole in UMD's defense and took it for try of his own to go unconverted. UMW trailed 5-7 as the first half time expired but game play continued. For two more minutes of play, making the first half a nine minute half, both teams battled hard in the humidity. UMD put one last unconverted try in to officially end the first half in the lead, 12-5. Bradlee Nicholls came out of the first half firing on all cylinders scoring a diving try 55 seconds into the second half, unfortunately unconverted. UMD followed up with one last try of their own, unconverted. With two minutes left in the match, and UMW behind 17-10, they had to turn the game around. With great ball handling and quick duck feet, Joseph Callery split the defense and got one in to be converted by Aidan Gallagher. In the last drive of the match, Alec Charoenthep forced a pivotal turnover and offloaded to Gallagher who scored the last try of the match making UMW the winner, 22-17. The next round of pool
play saw UMW with a bye match and advancing to the semifinals.
UMW's semifinal match placed them against previous CCRC 7's Champions, Mt. Saint Mary. MSM established themselves quickly with a converted try at 1:03. Alec Charoenthep proving his quick skills once again answered in turn with a try of his own that would go unconverted. After two more minutes of solid defensive skills from both teams, Callery hit MSM with a solid counter ruck allowing Lewis Grant to turn the ball over putting the ball back AGAIN in Charoenthep's able hands for a try; this one was converted by Justin Ford putting UMW in the lead, 12-7 going into halftime. 29 seconds into the second half, Harry Masters took a 60m run for a try of his own to be converted by Gallagher. With UMW up 19-7, MSM put work in on the try line to be rewarded with what would be their last try of the day. Four minutes left in the match round UMW finding their stride in the cooling weather. Matthew Gordon gives a solid offload to Aidan Gallagher literally flying down the wing into contact ending with the ball again in Captain Harry Masters hands for another converted try. Riding the momentum of the ending match, Seamus Brennan takes the ball into contact offloading to Aidan Gallagher who sets his teammate Mattson Bueche up for the last try of the match. 31-12 win to UMW advancing them into the Championship match to face for a second time today, Salisbury University.
The fourth and last match of the day was known as always against SU, that it would be a physical and exhausting one. As what seemed to the standard of the day, both teams spent the first two minutes of the match holding strong of defense and stopping any line breaks. Fortunately for UMW, Joseph Callery was able to spot a hole and took it the length of the pitch! Aidan Gallagher successfully converted putting the score 7-0. After playing together in high school and this year at UMW, NC freshmen Aidan Gallagher and Seamus Brennan were able to connect in a brilliant move from a set piece putting the ball once again into Callerys hands for another try; again successfully converted by Aidan Gallagher. UMW leads at half, 14-0. Salisbury proving themselves yet again in the day took advantage of loose defense from UMW to score their own unconverted try. Another two minutes play of rugby from Salisbury had them testing UMW's defensive line. Seamus Brennan seized an opportunity he saw and poached the ball from SU and put the ball in Harry Masters hands for a 65m try to be converted by expert kicker Aidan Gallagher. With just under two minutes left in the match, and UMW up 21-5, SU made a push. Directly off the next kickoff Salisbury scores and converts. 21-12 with enough time for one more play. UMW retained this kickoff and set to work maintaining ball possession as the clock winds down. With one last play, the ball is knocked into touch thus ending the match. UMW defeated Salisbury 21-12 making them the CCRC 7's Champions of 2019!!!
This win now sets UMW up to travel to Tucson, AZ May 24-26 for USA Rugby's 2019 Collegiate 7's National Championship. This will be UMW first ever conference 7's win and first ever run at National 7's!
Man of the Tournament can go to none other than Harry Masters. His leadership and tireless effort throughout the day and the season makes him well deserving.