Schuylkill River Wins Lehigh Valley 7s!
Skill Rugby started the summer 7s season on a strong note by winning Lehigh Valley 7s over the weekend. Additionally, the team welcomed back Premier side players Ben Janssen, Bruce Dolan, and Matt Henderson from injury. After the tournament the coaching staff was excited about all of the young talent on the team and mentioned several players in particular.
The biggest impact on the day came from Danny Giannascoli who recently graduated from Loyola and made his first appearance in a Schuylkill River uniform. Dan had at least 8 combined tries and assists throughout the day playing for our top side and his most important try was a 50 meter break in the second half of the championship match which gave us the lead for good. According to the coaches “all week in practice the coaching staff could see Dan’s athletic abilities that were showcased on Saturday, but most impressive was Dan’s ability to keep his composure and excel in the most pressure filled moments of the tournament. Dan has a bright summer ahead of him here.”
Also joining us from Loyola is Jack Ramizes who made his Skill Rugby debut with the U23 side and instantly showed his ability to stretch the field with at least 4 tries on the day. None were more impressive than a 60 plus meter sprint down the sidelines that left Coach Mastromatto, a former speedster himself, more than just a little impressed. Coach Stro later said “that run looked effortless, I asked Jack on the sidelines if he even hit top speed on that run because he looked like he was in light stride while pulling away from defenders that initially had good angles. Honestly though, I was more impressed by his ability to tackle. Most speed guys shy away from contact but he stood out in the middle of our defensive alignment with countless solo tackles.”
Another U23 player who caught the Coaching Staff’s eye was Xavier Steward. X bring serious speed to the edge of our U23 side and scored three quick tries before shutting it down for the day. X is arguable the most fashionable player on the team and on the field he has the unique ability to score from anywhere. Coach Mastromatto says “X is a guy to me that has a lot of upside potential on the wind. You could see the progression from last year early on in the day with breakaway tries. He has a lot of raw ability that will continue to develop. Once he has all of the aspects of his game molded together he will be a serious problem for opposing teams.”
Justin Lopez, fresh off of an appearance for the Dominican Republic National Team was a clear standout early on with his physicality both offensively and defensively. His day was cut short but not before putting up 3 work horse style tries. Justin is no rookie to big 7s tournaments and that experience was well showcased on Saturday. The coaches said “Justin definitely caught our eye early on in the U23 games with his defense. There was one series we watched him control the tackle, poach the ball, stay on his feet and shake off two defenders for a try – that’s rare ability. He’s somebody we know we’ll see do big things all summer here.”
Coach Mastromatto also mentioned three guys from Kutztown; Mike Hubble, Keyon McCloud-Holman, and Anthony Donatelli who had some highlights on the day including a try from Keyon in the corner where he ran over the sweeper. Anthony from Delaware made a strong debut with 2 tries for the U23 Academy and was joined by Delaware teammate Jenko who had an encouraging start and lastly Temple’s Adam Shapiro looked really good at sweeper and Brendan Stein from Holy Family showed a lot of growth throughout the day and looks poised to continue developing into a good player.
The next tournament is Saturday June 15 at North Penn.