Men's Rugby sets sights on a successful Spring semester
Posted on November 21, 2011
The Wheaton Men's Rugby team finished its most successful season in four years this fall. Yet, despite only suffering one loss, the Lyons didn't qualify for the playoffs.
During the regular season, the team beat Mass. Maritime Academy, Bryant University and Roger Williams University. The only team that was able to defeat the Lyons was Salve Regina, who ranked #e in the nation at the Division III level, according to the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO).
Heading into the last weekend of October, the team was gearing up to play on last game against UMass Dartmouth, the last placed team in the division. Unfortunately, due to a heavy snow storm in the area, the team was forced to postpone the game for a second time. The team frantically tried to reschedule a makeup game but to no avail as the postseason positions had already been established by the league. Under the New England Rugby Football Union (NERFU) rules, if a team is unable to host a scheduled game before the playoffs are set, the game is considered a forfeit and no points are awarded. Due to this rule, the Lyons were forced to accept the forfeit and fell 1 point short of making the playoffs allowing Roger Williams, a team that the Lyons had beaten handily during the season, into the playoffs.
Although the team was upset with this ruling, they decided to enter an end of the season tournament to ensure their season ended on a high note. Wheaton traveled to Babson College for the Babson Invitational. In Wellesley, the team unleashed its frustration, crushing Babson in the initial game with a score of 46-12. In the finals, the Lyons took on Wentworth Institute of Technology and defeated them by a score of 24-15 to win the final. On top of winning each game, the team was able to accomplish an inspiring feat by ensuring playing time for every member of the team. In the end, the Lyons held their heads high but still wonder what their future may have held if they had made it to the playoff round.
The team was anchored by a veteran forward pack. Senior Captain Craig Polizzi and Junior Matthew Huleatt held down the pack as props and supported Senior Hooker Sam Gipstein. The poster of the scrum came from junior Mikko McDonald and senior pack captain Micah Malenfant. Flanking either side was club president Ezra Krechmer and junior Matt "Misty" McAndrews.Sophmore Jonathan "Taylor" Stewart played eight man all season and along with the flankers supplied some of the biggest hits of the season on opponents.
One of the standouts for the club this season was sophomore scrum half Sam Lawrence. Throughout the entire season, Lawrence exceeded expectation as a rookie scrum half and took on one of the most difficult positions in the game.
The backline improved each and every game and was anchored by the boot of junior back captain Joe Roys. Alongside junior Evan Shaw, the continued a legacy as two of the best backs in Wheaton's history. Another impact player whom emerged as a rookie this season was sophomore Tucker Myhre, who supplied some memorable runs from his position of outside center.
Senior Shannon Brown and freshman Suleiman Amin and each demonstrated a knack for making key plays. The team had a plethora of wings including junior Gilbert Cruz, senior Jake Pomerantz, seniot Rubens de Oliveira, junior Joaquin Brito and sophomore Nick Hall among many others.
Sophomores "Dante" Nick Teitelman and McLean "Mac: Mills led the team off the bench as forwards. Freshman Dan "Buttercup" Kvistad was awarded "Rookie of the Year" honors for his dedication to the team and overall performance on the field.
For now, the boys in blue look forward to a much deserved rest from rugby as the semester comes to a close. Luckily, the team gets another chance to show what they can do in the Spring.