Fall 2010 Newsletter
Captain Nick Finger
President Sam Power
Yale Finishes a Disappointing 6th at the Ivy League Championships at Columbia
Despite high hopes and expectations after finishing 4th at last year's championships, injuries and inconsistent play kept a young Yale side from the top half of the tournament bracket this year, with the club falling two slots to finish sixth. Despite the disappointing finish to the spring season, there was much good to be found in Yale's play this weekend.
Game 1: Brown
Yale opened the tournament against a greatly improved Brown side. The first 15 minutes of the game saw Yale dominate possession and field position, but the Elis were unable to score due to some excellent tackling by the Bears and several missed penalty kicks. Brown weathered the early Yale storm and were able to capitalize on 3 Yale penalties deep in our zone, which gave Brown the lead at half by a margin of 9-0. The second half started well, but the counter-rucking by Brown's sizeable pack, the intensity of Brown's defense and a few mistakes by Yale were too much to recover from. All of the positive game play Yale had in the first 15 minutes (quality recycling, straight hard back running, solid set pieces) disappeared as the game progressed, as Yale appeared impatient after failing to score. Yale suffered 4 key injuries during the match which were difficult to overcome, including a tournament-ending knee injury to captain Sean Walbridge '08 and fellow senior 8 man Cameron Maloney '08. In the end, Brown finished off Yale with superior defense, withe final tally being 26-7. Hats off to a good team that played Harvard close in the second round and ended up finishing 3rd overall in the tournament.
Game 2: Cornell
After suffering 4 key injuries, it was time for the reserves to step up, many of whom will comprise Yale's first XV in the coming fall season. Many underclassmen were put into this match and played very well. The set pieces were excellent and the backs ran well. Yale was able to put together good multiple phase possessions and dominate Cornell with a lot of youth on the field. Sam Cartmell '10 scored 3 tries and the excellent kicking for points was done by Taylor Giffen '09. Additionally, rookie Justin Baker '08 notched his first A side try with a bruising run to goal. In the end, Yale's youth (only 3 seniors on the field, 2 of which only played a half) was too much for Cornell, giving a final tally of 35-15 in favor of Yale.
Game 3: Princeton
After a tough road trip the previous week, Yale met Princeton again in the tournament's 5th place game on Sunday morning. Yale fielded a side of primarily underclassmen and took on the challenge. In the previous week, the Princeton pack out played the Yale forwards. Not the case this week. The Yale pack dominated the set pieces, winning nearly every scrum regardless of which team put in, and the loose play, with the Princeton forwards being no match for Yale in the rucks. Unfortunately, in the first 15 minutes of the match Yale made several mistakes, a few penalties and did not follow the coach's game plan, resulting in early points off penalties for the Tigers. After a stern talking to and a little motivational butt chewing from Coach Jan Pikul, Yale played lights out. The next 45 minutes of rugby were dominated by Yale. Field position, ball possession, kick countering and tough defense highlighted some great rugby. Yale played very well versus a pack that had pushed us around the week before, but in the end, the 15 points we gave up in the first 15 minutes and the penalty kick given up in the second half were too much for Yale to overcome in the shorten halves. Yale fell just short to Princeton by a final margin of 18-14.
Regardless of the disappointing finish, the future for Yale Rugby looks bright. The team turned in its best performance of the weekend in the game against Princeton with a side featuring just 2 seniors and laden with freshmen and sophomores. Yale hopes to build on the strong effort put forth on Sunday and to carry that improvement into the upcoming fall season.