Fall 2010 Newsletter
Captain Nick Finger
President Sam Power
IVY LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS
YALE 3 - Dartmouth 35
YALE 15 - Princeton 5
YALE 35 - Brown 12
On Saturday, April 9th, Yale traveled to Philadelphia to participate in the annual Ivy League Rugby Championship hosted this year by UPENN. Seeded 4th, Yale's draw promised to be challenging, drawing perennial Ivy powerhouse and 5th seed Dartmouth in the first round. Following last years first round upset to Cornell, Dartmouth was poised to make a determined run at the title that had eluded them for the past few years.
After a successful fall, and despite disrupted spring preparation, Yale hoped to embark on their transition to Division I with a successful Ivy tournament. With spirits high, Yale came out firing against Dartmouth Saturday morning. The half opened with Yale very much in control, spending much of the first quarter in Dartmouth territory. Yale drew first blood threw a Bobby Cardone '06 penalty. As the half continued Yale continued to build pressure breaking several long runs. As was the case earlier in the spring, Yale failed to capitalize. Runs by Captain and outside center Mike Atkins '05, and wingers Bobby Cardone '06 and Sam Beutler '07 failed to convert into points. As the half drew to a close Dartmouth mustered a converted try and penalty of their own bringing the half-time score to 10-3 in favor of Dartmouth.
At half-time Yale's head coach Jan Pikul emphasized that the game would be determined by the 10 minutes following the break. Unfortunately Yale failed to take advantage, allowing a few more Dartmouth scores that put the game out of reach. With hope failing Yale's play became more desperate in an effort to make up the large point deficit. Despite Yale's efforts, they mustered no further points, bringing the final score to 35-3 in favor of Dartmouth. Despite the disparity in the score line, Yale came away feeling they proved a formidable opponent who, when they wanted to, dominated the sets in the forwards and could run with the Dartmouth backs. Unfortunately a lack of support in open play caused Yale's failure to capitalize on scoring opportunities.
Being knocked into the playoff for the bottom four seeds for next year's tournament, Yale drew defending Ivy champions and 2004 Sweet-16 finalist Princeton who had suffered a dramatic last minute defeat to UPENN earlier that morning. In a dress-rehearsal for the Rob Koranda Cup which will be played at Yale in two weeks, Yale came out firing. Unfortunately the Dartmouth game claimed Captain Mike Atkins '05 with a suspected ankle fracture, resulting in a new center combination of Jack Mahoney '07 at outside, and Don Jeon '05 at inside. The new combination proved formidable, putting up ferocious defense and explosive offense.
Yale came out on fire again, taking control of the game from the outset. Yale opened up the scoring through a try by winger Sam Beutler '07, and conversion by flyhalf Rob Smith '06. Yale would continue to dominate the game, scoring another try through flanker Sean Walbridge '08, and a penalty by Rob Smith. The half ended with Yale up 15-0 and firmly in control.
In the second half Yale proved less dominant. Coach Jan Pikul gave some of the upcoming talent some time and Yale resorted to a game of territory possession. Yale spent much time on defense, but kept Princeton out for much of the game. As time expired Princeton mustered an unconverted try of their own which would prove the only score of the half. The final score ended 15-5 in favor of Yale, inspiring confidence at Yale's prospects at capturing the Koranda Cup on April 23rd.
On Sunday morning Yale drew Brown University to determine the 5th and 6th seeds for next year's tournament. In contrast the previous day's outings, Yale came out slow, spending much of the first quarter in their own half and surrendering the first try of the game to Brown, bringing the score to 7-0. Brown's try proved to spark some fire in the Yale side who responded through a try by flanker Sean Walbridge off the ensuing kickoff. Yale would then dominate the remainder of the game, racking up a total of six tries. Scrumhalves Matt Finkelstein '07 and Garan Geist '06 split 3 tries between them, and Jason Park '04 GRD '05, scored two tries of his own on the wing. As the game drew to a close Yale again brought in some fresh legs and give some upcoming talent some valuable experience. The final score ended 35-12 in favor of Yale against one of their Division I opponents for next fall. Yale will also likely face Brown this upcoming weekend at the Beast of the East Tournament in Portsmouth, RI.
In all the weekend proved a success. Despite the disappointing loss to Dartmouth, Yale proved once again that they can play and dominate top Division I competition. The success of Yale's program was highlighted by the largest squad Yale has taken to the tournament in recent memory, carrying 30 players in all with several remaining in New Haven for work and injury related reasons. In addition, Yale was represented by four players on the All-Ivy Select sides. Flanker Sean Walbridge '08, prop Sherman Wang '07, and scrumhalf Garan Geist '06 were all selected to the second All-Ivy XV, with locke Terence De Pentheny O'Kelly '07 being selected to the first XV.
That four of Yale's players received nomination proves the growing success of the club that comes from good coaching, leadership, and alumni support. We encourage all alumni and interested fans to find time to watch the club in their final two weekends of the year as Yale travels to compete as defending Division I champions at the Beast of the East tournament in Rhode Island and against Princeton at home on April 23rd, for the Koranda Cup. This weeks return to the Beast of the East tournament marks the completion of a year in which Yale has only lost three games to domestic opposition and won both the Beast of the East and New England Championships. Yale will look to begin another successful run this weekend starting with the defense of their title.