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Schuylkill River won its second first place finish to earn the top seed in the region and Northern Virginia (NOVA) captured the second seed.

Original By Evan Lappen of RugbyToday| 07.24.16

Twelve teams entered the Mid-Atlantic 7s Championships in Richmond, Va. with hopes of representing the NCR4 Competitive Region at Nationals on August 13th in Denver, Colo. For the men, Schuylkill River won its second first place finish to earn the top seed in the region and Northern Virginia (NOVA) captured the second seed edging out Rocky Gorge by one point. Scion and NOVA advanced to Nationals on the women’s side after they have led the MAC all season long.

With three teams in play for the two spots to Denver, six standing points separated the clubs. After last weekend’s Slug 7s, Schuylkill River led the pack with 58.5 points followed by NOVA with 55 and Rocky Gorge with 52. Going into the final tournament on Saturday, Schuylkill had to place in third to be assured a spot in Nationals while Rocky Gorge had to finish two places ahead of NOVA to advance.

At the MAC 7s Championships, Schuylkill River was undefeated in pool play outscoring its opponents 83-5. In Pool B, NOVA and Rocky Gorge finished the opening round with 2-0-1 records after tying their head-to-head matchup, 12-12. Based on point differential, Rocky Gorge was awarded the top seed and would play the Pittsburgh Pandas in the semifinals. For NOVA, they were matched up against rival Schuylkill River in the second semifinal.

Schuylkill River continued its tear this summer by dispatching NOVA, 21-7, in the semifinals and Rocky Gorge beat Pittsburgh, 28-21, to face the top club. With winning its semifinal, Schuylkill River locked up its place in Nationals and Rocky Gorge had to beat the Philadelphia team to book its ticket.

In the final, Schuylkill River starved the young Rocky Gorge squad to win 19-5. The Exiles led the entire game taking advantage of Gorge’s turnovers in their own end. Schuylkill’s Pat Boyle scored his team’s first half tries and Brian Keown connected on both conversions for a 14-0 halftime lead.

The Exiles extended the lead to 19-0 after Bruce Dolan broke the line for a long run and dished back inside to Cody Bukowski for the try. Determined to be not shut out, Rocky Gorge’s Jordan Bakouche scored in the final moments of the match. In the end, it was the skill and experience of Schuylkill River that proved to be too much as it won 19-5.

According to Schuylkill River’s captain Pat Boyle, the key to the tournament was “playing within the system, continuing to improve, and when the opportunity arises to do something, taking advantage of it. Defensively, we really stepped up. I don’t think Gorge crossed the 50 meter until the final play of the game… The combination of all things has really put us of the front foot these last two weeks as we haven’t lost a game.”

Rocky Gorge had the outside chance to still advancing to Denver, but NOVA did its job in the third place game barely surpassing Pittsburgh, 19-17. With the victory, NOVA earned the second spot to Nationals by one point.

This will be Schuylkill River’s sixth year in row to make Nationals and seven out of the last eight. When asked what the Exiles have to work on, Boyle responded, “Getting comfortable with the speed of the game and making sure the younger guys understand the margins between getting to the cup round are very small. Every game is played with such intensity and everything is amplified. The talent is incredible and the error in your local union might not punish you in a game, but out there, it will. We are focused on us, what we need to do, and go on from there.”

The Scion Sirens and NOVA ruled the Women’s Premier Division all summer and, as usual, they met again in the final. After winning its pool play by a combined 117-0 and stomping NOVA, 27-0, in its first match, Scion celebrated its fourth tournament first place trophy winning 24-12. Scion enters Nationals on a roll and will look to flex its muscles against the country’s top teams. NOVA, who earned the share of first place last weekend, joins Scion in Denver as the second seed from the MAC.

Updated 17:59 – 25 Jul 2016 by Randy Helsman


Eight hours of rugby in Columbia, Md. was cut short on Saturday when lightning and rain stopped the Mid-Atlantic Conference’s Slug 7s.

Originally Written By Evan Lappen, RugbyToday | 07.18.16

Eight hours of rugby in Columbia, Md. was cut short on Saturday when lightning and rain stopped the Mid-Atlantic Conference’s Slug 7s just before the cup final matches in the Men’s and Women’s Qualifier division. It was determined that the finalists in each division would share the tournament championship and qualifier points. For the Men, Schuylkill River and Norfolk split the title and the Scion Sirens and Northern Virginia (NOVA) would be co-champions in the Women’s Qualifier.

Hosted by Rocky Gorge, the 26th annual Slug 7s featured over 560 athletes competing on 47 teams spread over five divisions. The Men’s Qualifier was composed of Schuylkill River, Baltimore-Chesapeake, Rocky Gorge, and Norfolk in one pool and NOVA, the Pittsburgh Pandamonium, Washington, and the Washington Irish in the second pool.

During pool play, one group was hotly contested, while the second had a clear winner. Schuylkill River beat Rocky Gorge and Norfolk convincingly and edged Baltimore-Chesapeake in a track meet, 43-38. Norfolk also advanced to the playoffs with wins over BC and Rocky Gorge.

In the second pool, three teams completed the opening round with identical 2-1 records. NOVA, Pittsburgh, and the Washington Irish ended up tied and NOVA and the Irish moved on based on point differential.

In the semifinals, Norfolk upset NOVA in an extremely close match, 10-7, and Schuylkill River slipped past the Irish, 15-5. With about 20 minutes to go until the start of the cup final, the tournament was called for lightning and Norfolk and Schuylkill River were named co-champions of the event.

In the Women’s Qualifier, Scion and NOVA were the runaway winners of the day poised to meet the final after going undefeated in all of their matches. Scion was especially dominant scoring 150 points, giving up only ten points, and blanking Philly, 53-0, in the semifinals. On the other hand, NOVA breezed through pool play outscoring its opponents 88-15 and was challenged by the D.C. Furies in the semifinals. Ultimately, NOVA persevered to win, 17-12. With sharing the first place tournament points, Scion and NOVA have basically locked up their tickets to Nationals.

With the Mid-Atlantic Championship next weekend at the Monk Vaughn 7s in Richmond, Va., it’s a three horse race for the Men with Schuylkill River, NOVA, and Rocky Gorge jockeying for position. Schuylkill River and NOVA have the inside track to advance to Nationals, but Gorge could break into the top two with top finish in the final tournament.

Updated 17:54 – 25 Jul 2016 by Randy Helsman


Rocky Gorge brought home the NOVA Ruggerama 7s trophy by defeating Schuylkill River, 40-26.

Original Post by By Evan Lappen of RUGBYTODAY | 07.11.16

Mirroring its success in 15s, Rocky Gorge brought home the NOVA Ruggerama 7s trophy by defeating Schuylkill River, 40-26. Gorge was lucky to survive pool play and then edged Northern Virginia (NOVA), 12-10, in the semifinals. The young team composed of mostly newly recruited college players met the undefeated Schuylkill River in the final. The Exiles beat Gorge earlier in the day, but in the final, Gorge pulled away late to earn its first Mid-Atlantic 7s qualifier victory. In the Women’s Premier bracket, Scion Sirens won its second straight qualifier besting NOVA, 29-12.

On sweltering hot Saturday at Morven Park in Leesburg, Va., 38 teams in five divisions gathered for the Mid-Atlantic Conference’s second national qualifier. For the Men’s Premier division, NOVA, Washington, Pittsburgh, and the Washington Irish were in Pool A and Schuylkill River, Rocky Gorge, Baltimore-Chesapeake, and Norfolk in Pool B.

NOVA and Schuylkill River emerged from pool play undefeated with Pittsburgh and Rocky Gorge advancing with the next best records. Pittsburgh went 2-1 in the early rounds, while Gorge was 1-1-1 and needed help to reach the next round. In the semifinals, Gorge clipped NOVA, 12-10, and Schuylkill River bashed Pittsburgh, 31-14.

“It was up and down for us as we didn’t play very well in the pool games,” Rocky Gorge 7s coach Chuck Moore said. “We are still coming together as a 7s programs and we are very young. We are still figuring things out and we squeaked through to get into the semifinals. In the semifinals, we finally got everything together and beat NOVA on the last play of the game.”

The final was rematch between Schuylkill River and Rocky Gorge where Schuylkill won 19-7 earlier in the day. In an incredibly close scrappy game, Schuylkill led 21-14 at the half. The clubs exchanged tries to begin the second half until Aki Raymond tied the match for Gorge at 26-26. With two minutes left, Nick DiMichele and Raymond scored back-to-back tries off kickoffs to seal the 40-26 victory for Gorge and earn their first qualifier win.

“It was a back and forth game and they were up five minutes into the second half,” Moore added. “We came back and at the three minute mark, we scored a try and won two kickoffs in a row and scored tries off them immediately to go up… They finally decided to pull it together as a team and play defense. It all came together for us.”

For the Women’s Premier, the Scion Sirens dominated the competition on their way to 29-12 tournament title win over NOVA. Scion scored 186 points in five games and did not surrender a point until the final. In the eight team bracket, Scion, Pittsburgh, NOVA, and Philadelphia advanced to the knockout stage. Scion blanked Philly, 31-0, and NOVA handled Pittsburgh, 29-14, in the semifinals.

The third leg of the Mid-Atlantic 7s series is next Saturday in Columbia, Md. for Rocky Gorge’s Slug 7s.

Updated 17:49 – 25 Jul 2016 by Randy Helsman


Northern Virginia (NOVA) bested Schuylkill River, 19-15, to win the Men’s Premiere Division

Original From RUGBYTODAY By Evan Lappen | 06.28.16

The Mid-Atlantic Conference began its summer 7s series on Saturday with the Wilmington Rugby Club’s Blue Ball 7s at Alapocas Run State Park in Wilmington, Del. A total of 31 clubs came together representing five divisions to start the 7s season. In the Men’s and Women’s Premier finals, Northern Virginia (NOVA) bested Schuylkill River, 19-15, to win the Men’s and Scion edged Philly, 24-14, on the Women’s side.

The Men’s qualifier included a six team field with Schuylkill River, the Pittsburgh Pandemonium, and Washington in Pool A and NOVA, Baltimore-Chesapeake, and Rocky Gorge in Pool B. Last year’s MAC 7s Champions, the All Army 7s, is not participating in the conference this summer.

NOVA emerged from pool play unscathed followed by Rocky Gorge with a 2-1 record. Washington and Schuylkill River also advanced to the semifinals with a 1-1-1 records. After blanking Rocky Gorge to start, NOVA survived a 7-5 scare from Washington and beat BC to close pool play. For Schuylkill, it tied Washington, beat Pittsburgh, and lost to Rocky Gorge, 19-10.

In the playoffs, Schuylkill River won its rematch against Rocky Gorge, 24-5, and NOVA edged Washington, 19-10, to reach the final. The semifinals set up a final between two teams that have historically excelled at 7s in the Mid-Atlantic.

The cup final was one of the closest matches on Saturday with NOVA completing its undefeated run with a 19-15 win over Schuylkill. Both teams exchanged tries over the course of the game with Adam Henderson and Brady Harrington scoring for NOVA and, finally, Toshi Palamo touching the ball down to win the game.

Commenting on the match, NOVA coach Clarence Williams said, “We had some good fortune. It was back and forth game. Schuylkill was tough as always and they played solid defense and were fit and committed.”

“We were fortunate to keep possession in the last moments of the game,” Williams added. “We had a lot of phase play and we were able to push over for the game-winning try. We were able to get through a really tough defense by sticking to our patterns.”

The Women’s qualifier featured seven teams with Scion, NOVA, Pittsburgh, and Philly advancing out of pool play. In the semifinals, Scion beat NOVA, 19-12, and in the one of the narrowest victories of the tournament, Philly clawed past Pittsburgh, 26-24. For the final, Scion came out on top winning 24-14 over Philly to claim the first place prize.

The summer 7s series in the Mid-Atlantic continues in two weeks with the Battlefield 7s in Leesburg, Va. on July 9th.

Updated 18:00 – 25 Jul 2016 by Randy Helsman



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Updated 17:39 – 25 Jul 2016 by Randy Helsman