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Schuylkill River Rugby had our annual Friends and Family Day over the weekend with a doubleheader against Potomac and Delmarva. In addition to the great Philadelphia Rugby action on the field the fans were treated to food and beverages as well as a raffle organized by the players as our way of thanking everyone for their support.

In the opening match of the day the Exiles took on Potomac. Flanker Ben Janssen got things off to a good start with a try in the 6th minute before Potomac scored 3 quick tries to make it 19-7 at the twenty minute mark. Wing Graham Johnston answered back but Potomac scored another try before halftime to make it a 26-14 scoreline at the break. Johnston scored his second try 51 minutes into the match to close the lead but Potomac was again able to answer back. A try from Prop Ricky Schneider 68 minutes into the match made it 33-28 but once again Potomac had an answer and took a 40-28 lead into the final minutes. In the 78th minute Janssen scored his second try of the match and ultimately the team was able to salvage 2 standings points from the match.

Graham Johnston was named man of the match for his two try performance and Coach also mentioned Jack Ramiez, Ben Janssen, and Chase Haberstroh as strong performers.

Scorers:
Tries: Ben Janssen (2), Graham Johnston (2), Ricky Schneider (1),
Cons: Brian Keown (5)

The second match of the day saw Troop take on Delmarva. Troop was able to keep the offense moving throughout the match and ended up winning this one by the score of 42-12. The match marked Tommy Higgins debut for the Club so welcome to the family Tommy!

This match was the best we’ve run our system so far this season. Our pods consistently broken the gainline and drew in multiple defenders which created a number of mismatches for us to capitalize on thanks to improved passing and ball retention. On defense we came up hard all game and we’re strong in the tackle with our centers in particular shutting down their attack. Our defense was also fueled by disruptive counter rucking.

From an individual standpoint, Dave “Tiny” Hilley was strong in the lineounts, Matt Zebrowski made a huge impact, Joe Barasse was strong throughout the match, Greg “Loopy” Mininger and Jabari Johnson had excellent all around games and were huge on defense and the young guys, including James Lesniak, Evan McKeever, and Keeno Brown continued to play well. Colin Sullivan was named man of the match for his performance.

Scorers:
Tries: Jabari Johnson, Keeno Brown, Ryan McHugh, Evan McKeever, Lake Paul, Colin Sullivan, Matt Zebrowski
Cons: Ryan Tower (2)
Pens: Ryan Tower (1)
Missed Drop Goals: Loopy (1)

Troop Season Stats:
Tries: Jabari Johnson (5), Ryan McHugh (3), Vito Nucci (3), Keeno Brown (2), Bobby Collins (2), Dave Gross (2), Jeff Hall (2), Evan McKeever (2), Alex Ruiz (2), Colin Sullivan (2) Kevin Allison (1), Louis Baeza (1), Justin Brown (1), Bryan McCorkle (1), Lake Paul (1), John “Cat Stevens” Vizzachero (1), Matt Zebrowski (1)
Cons: Ryan Tower (17)
Pens: Ryan Tower (4)

Exiles Season Stats:
Tries: Ben Janssen (6), Jack Ramirez (6), Cesar DaFonseca (5), Rich Casey (3), Graham Johnston (2), Brian Keown (2), Louis Baeza (1), Ryan Blythe (1), Joe Midwig (1), Vito Nucci (1), Ricky Schneider (1), Brad Volm (1),
Cons: Brian Keown (20) Alex Ruiz (2)
Pens: Brian Keown (2)

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Skill Rugby’s D3 side (Troop) began a four match home stand in winning fashion with a victory over Blackthorn. Evan McKeever (wing) and Vito Nucci (prop) got things off to a good start with early tries and gave River a 12-0 lead 7 minutes into the match. Keeno Brown (wing) and Jabari Johnson (outside center) followed up with tries of their own to help the team build a 24-0 lead and take a 24-5 advantage into halftime following a try from Blackthorn’s fullback.

Jeff Hall (lock) got the second half scoring started with a try in the 57th minute which was matched by a try from Blackthorn’s fly half to make it 31-12. The teams continued trading tries throughout the half with River’s Bobby Collins (lock) scoring followed by a try from Blackthorn’s wing to make the score 38-19. Jabari Johnson continued his strong play with a 72nd minute try to make it a final score line of 43-19.

After the match team leadership stated that we started off strong running with the ball in hand, had a bit of a lull in the middle of the match, and then finished strong. When we ran our system we were successful and our defense was strong throughout. In particular, Bobby Collins, Matt Zebrowski (hook), and the backline played well defensively. Scrumhalf Ryan Tower ran a strong game and his kicking remained on point. The set pieces were also strong and thanks to the fact that we built a lead we were able to get a few young guys some playing time to finish off the match.

Jabari Johnson was named man of the match for his performance and James Lesniak (fullback) was also noted to have had a strong match.

This match also marks wing Scott Carter’s debut for Schuylkill River. Welcome to the Club Scott!

Troop and the Exiles return to action on Saturday October 26 with Friends and Family Day matches against Delmarva and Potomac.

Scorers:
Tries: Jabari Johnson (2), Keeno Brown (1), Bobby Collins (1), Jeff Hall (1), Evan McKeever (1), Vito Nucci (1)
Cons: Ryan Tower (4)

Troop Season Stats:
Tries: Jabari Johnson (4), Vito Nucci (3), Bobby Collins (2), Dave Gross (2), Jeff Hall (2), Ryan McHugh (2), Alex Ruiz (2), Kevin Allison (1), Louis Baeza (1), Keeno Brown (1), Bryan McCorkle (1), Evan McKeever (1), Colin Sullivan (1), John “Cat Stevens” Vizzachero (1)
Cons: Ryan Tower (15)
Pens: Ryan Tower (3)

Exiles Season Stats:
Tries: Cesar DaFonseca (5), Jack Ramirez (5), Rich Casey (3), Ben Janssen (2), Louis Baeza (1), Ryan Blythe (1), Brian Keown (1), Joe Midwig (1), Vito Nucci (1), Brad Volm (1),
Cons: Brian Keown (11) Alex Ruiz (2)
Pens: Brian Keown (2)

Mid-Season Recap

Posted by Schuylkill River RFC at Oct 16, 2019 6:51AM PDT ( 0 Comments )
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With both Troop (D3) and the Exiles (D1) sitting at 2-2 we’ve reached the approximate halfway point of the season. Troop has 4 league matches remaining while the Exiles have 6 matches left on the slate. Here are some facts and figures as we get set to start the second half of the season with a match this Saturday between Troop and Blackthorn at Pennypack.

As of right now the Exiles defense has given up the fewest points in the MAC while Troop has scored the second most points in their Division.

12 different players have scored tries for Troop so far this season while 10 guys have scored tries for the Exiles.

It’s actually 21 total try scorers, not 22, because Vito Nucci has managed to score tries for both sides.

Cesar “Southside” DaFonseca and Jack “Rack” Ramirez are tied for the Club lead with 5 tries on the season and each have a chance to surpass last year’s leader Matt Henderson who scored 10.

Troop has 5 guys (Dave Gross, Ryan McHugh, Vito Nucci, Jabari Johnson, Alex Ruiz) tied for the team lead with 2 tries. Last year’s leader was Jabari Johnson and now that he’s returned home from his European modelling adventure he’s expected to take the lead.

Brian Keown leads the Club with 33 points overall. Ryan Tower’s kicking has been a strength this season for Troop and he’s right behind Keown with 31 points of his own.

When asked about where the Club stands right now and what our goals are going forward Coach Jon Grasso stated that “both teams are trying to win their respective MAC championships and both teams appear to be on track to make the playoffs right now, despite some disappointing results. To get there we just need some more time together to get better cohesion. I’ve been pleased with how hard guys have been working and their focus when they’re at practice.”

Troop returns to action this Saturday with a home match vs Blackthorn. The Exiles return to action on October 26 with a home match vs Potomac as part of our Friends and Family Day celebration.

Troop Season Stats:
Tries: Dave Gross (2), Ryan McHugh (2), Vito Nucci (2), Jabari Johnson (2), Alex Ruiz (2), Kevin Allison (1), Louis Baeza (1), Bobby Collins (1), Jeff Hall (1), Bryan McCorkle (1), Colin Sullivan (1), John “Cat Stevens” Vizzachero (1)
Cons: Ryan Tower (11)
Pens: Ryan Tower (3)

Exiles Season Stats:
Tries: Cesar DaFonseca (5), Jack Ramirez (5), Rich Casey (3), Ben Janssen (2), Louis Baeza (1), Ryan Blythe (1), Brian Keown (1), Joe Midwig (1), Vito Nucci (1), Brad Volm (1),
Cons: Brian Keown (11) Alex Ruiz (2)
Pens: Brian Keown (2)

Troop gets a big win on the road!

Posted by Schuylkill River RFC at Oct 10, 2019 8:44AM PDT ( 0 Comments )
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Our D3 side, Troop, took Philadelphia rugby on the road this past weekend and traveled to Happy Valley to take on the Barbarians. After a somewhat slow start that saw the teams tied 10-10 a third of the way through the match Troop was eventually able to build a 34-15 lead before a try in the 78th minute made it a 34-22 final in favor of Schuylkill River.

Fullback Louis Baeza drew first blood in this match by scoring a try in the 12th minute that was converted by scrum half Ryan Tower. Tower made a penalty kick sandwiched between two unconverted tries for Happy Valley to make the scoreline 10-10 before Dave Gross continued his recent run of strong play with a try. Happy Valley was able to answer back quickly to cut the lead to 17-15 in River’s favor and the next 40 minutes were dominated by Schuylkill thanks to tries from Bobby Collins, and Alex Ruiz as well as great kicking from Ryan Tower who totaled 14 points on the day. Happy Valley earned a bonus point with a try in the 78th minute to make it a 34-22 scoreline.

The first individual that the Captains and Staff wanted to mention when asked about the match was Chuck Nucci. Chuck’s son Vito is a first year player on the team who has been playing well in the prop position and Chuck not only made the drive from South Jersey for this match but also ran water onto the field for the guys and kept stats so thank you Chuck!

Strong on-field performances were had by Bobby Collins who was named man of the match, as well as Vito Nucci, Kevin Allison, Ryan Tower, and Louis Baeza. Our biggest strength on the day was great work in the line outs and solid phase play.

Scorers:
Tries: Louis Baeza (1), Bobby Collins (1), Dave Gross (1), Alex Ruiz (1)
Cons: Tower (4)
Pens: Tower (2)

The exiles return to action this weekend with an away match vs the Washington Irish on October 12. Troop returns to action with a home match against Blackthorn on October 19.

Troop Season Stats:
Tries: Dave Gross (2), Ryan McHugh (2), Vito Nucci (2), Jabari Johnson (2), Alex Ruiz (2), Kevin Allison (1), Louis Baeza (1), Bobby Collins (1), Jeff Hall (1), Bryan McCorkle (1), Colin Sullivan (1), John “Cat Stevens” Vizzachero (1)
Cons: Ryan Tower (11)
Pens: Ryan Tower (3)

Exiles Season Stats:
Tries: Cesar DaFonseca (5), Jack Ramirez (4), Ben Janssen (2), Louis Baeza (1), Ryan Blythe (1), Rich Casey (1), Brian Keown (1), Joe Midwig (1), Vito Nucci (1), Brad Volm (1),
Cons: Brian Keown (8) Alex Ruiz (2)
Pens: Brian Keown (2)

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With our D1 side “the Exiles” on a bye this week the focus will be on our D3 side “Troop” as they prepare for a pivotal match against Happy Valley. Due to a scheduling quirk, Troop’s league season this year features four consecutive away matches followed by four consecutive home matches. If the boys are able to bring home a win this weekend they’ll be 2-2 heading into the home portion of their schedule and in a good position to earn a playoff berth.

When asked to explain the approach this week with only one match on the schedule Head 15s Coach Jon Grasso stated that “each week we try to position both our D1 and D3 sides to be in the best positions possible to succeed on the weekend. With D1 off this week we can put a bit of extra focus on D3 and some of the things that they particularly need to work on. This will serve them well, not only this weekend, but for the rest of the season. I’m excited to see the D3 side put forth a strong performance this weekend and get some momentum going into their home stand for the rest of the fall.”

The focus on player development, and making sure that every member of our roster is playing meaningful rugby is a priority on our Club from top to bottom. Director of Rugby Pat Boyle echoed much of the sentiment expressed by Coach Grasso in saying that ""with D1 on a bye, this week really illustrates the value of our club structure, and the constant development that occurs. Certainly, the D1 boys are prepping for their match in two weeks but the emphasis is on D3, their trip this weekend, and getting them to 2-2 before they return home for 3 matches. It’s a massive asset that we have them going against a D1 side all week. That occurs every week obviously, but the intensity is certainly amped this week as we focus on their development. As Director of Rugby, I love these weeks were we can slow a tad, focus on the needs of just one side, and do some fine tuning."

In terms of what he expects out of his side this weekend Troop’s Captain Ryan Tower made a bold statement and said “with many fresh faces this season, River is fortunate to have a good problem of fitting the right pieces of a formidable machine in the right spots. This weekend is a test of a club that top to bottom operates as a unit. If we can capitalize on our focus at practice and play our game,we will succeed. After the growing pains of the first 3 weeks, the D3 side needs to dig deep to show the league that we can work our plan and adapt to anything an opponent throws at us. I hope to see that the system we implement will dismantle our opponent. The dedication of the youth of our club has had a measured impact on our play while the seniority of our team has set the framework to build on. We need to sharpen our tools and continue to develop.”

While River may not have gotten the results we wanted in last week’s matches the future looks bright going forward and it’s great to see so much commitment from Club leadership to helping every player on the team become the best version of themselves. Tyler Kelly, Ben Janssen and Chase Haberstroh deserve mention for their work in the Exiles most recent match while Bobby Collins, Bryan McCorkle, and Dave Gross put in a good shift for Troop.

Troop takes on Happy Valley in State College on Saturday October 5 while the Exiles return to action on October 12 with an away match against Washington Irish.

Scorers Sept 28:
Exiles:
Tries: Louis Baeza (1), Ben Janssen (1)
Cons: Keown (1)

Troop:
Tries: Dave Gross (1) John “Cat Stevens” Vizzachero (1),
Cons: Tower (1)

Troop Season Stats:
Tries: Ryan McHugh (2), Vito Nucci (2), Jabari Johnson (2), Kevin Allison (1), Dave Gross (1), Jeff Hall (1), Bryan McCorkle (1), Alex Ruiz (1), Colin Sullivan (1), John “Cat Stevens” Vizzachero (1)
Cons: Ryan Tower (7)
Pens: Ryan Tower (1)

Exiles Season Stats:
Tries: Cesar DaFonseca (5), Jack Ramirez (4), Ben Janssen (2), Louis Baeza (1), Ryan Blythe (1), Rich Casey (1), Brian Keown (1), Joe Midwig (1), Vito Nucci (1), Brad Volm (1),
Cons: Brian Keown (8) Alex Ruiz (2)
Pens: Brian Keown (2)