Mid-Atlantic Awakes From Hibernation

After a long winter break, Mid-Atlantic club rugby is back. With the women on hiatus until next week, five men's games were on the slate. In Division I, the Norfolk Blues, Potomac Exiles, and Washington Irish notched victories and in the Division III opener, the Hibernians defeated the Happy Valley Barbarians, 39-31. Lastly, Schuylkill River won its Division I-B match against Potomac by forfeit.

Men's Division I: Pittsburgh Harlequins at Norfolk Blues

In a battle of the second and third place clubs in Division I, the Norfolk Blues tripled up the Pittsburgh Harlequins, 36-12. At home in Virginia, the Blues pitched a shutout until the last ten minutes of the match. Matt Ball, Ben McDougall, Herman Sandoval, Jake Humphrey, William Jefferson, and Kristofer Wilson crossed the whitewash for Norfolk and Jacob Smith scored a pair of tries for the Harlequins as time wound down.

"The Blues did really well at the breakdown, turned over a few, and used the ball well to find overlaps and gaps," Norfolk coach Jeremy Frayne said. "Jeff Jefferson was always a running and over the ball threat while Jake Humphrey controlled the pace of the game at #10. The Blues set piece always provided a good platform to attack."

The Blues are now 7-1 on the season with their lone loss to Rocky Gorge. Pittsburgh has played three more games than Norfolk and sits only one standing point behind in third place.

Men's Division I: Potomac Exiles at Schuylkill River

The Potomac Exiles took the three-hour trip north on 95 to Philadelphia, Pa. to battle Schuylkill River. Potomac took the early lead with back-to-back tries from Mike Minchik and Kenny Rothmann and never looked back. As the final whistle blew, Potomac finished with a 29-10 triumph over Schuylkill. Both clubs are tied at 4-5 with Schuylkill in fourth place with two more standing points.

"We stuck to the basics and played as well as the wind allowed us," Potomac head coach Owen Lentz stated. "Offensively, it looked like most of our players had a good understanding of where they needed to be and how we wanted to play. We were effective on defense, with room for improvement."

Guy Lopresti, Domenic Tommarello, and Tyler Blaser also scored for PERC with William Taylor going two for five on kicks. Randy Helsman and Ben Janssen scored for Schuylkill in the defeat.

Men's Division I: Washington Irish at Baltimore-Chesapeake (BC)

After going 2-6 in the fall, the Washington Irish opened up the spring season with a 45-27 victory over BC. Irish put in a lot of effort in the offseason to fine-tune its attack and defense. James Bragan, Dan Fulcony, Chris Curtin (2), Duncan Wood, and Michael Fletcher scored tries in the win with Taylor Teaford connecting on six conversions.

"We executed our game plan and took advantage of the opportunities when they presented themselves," Washington Irish head coach Julius Fanueli said. "We manage to consistently put pressure on Baltimore, making our one on one tackles, slowed their ball movement down, and we were able to create some turnovers."

Evan Harkum (2), Tyler Barberi, and Jason Wolf scored for BC in the loss.
Men's Division III: Happy Valley Barbarians at Hibernians

In a clash of last place teams in DIII North Red division, the Hibernians emerged victorious over Happy Valley, 39-31. Andre Cox, John Vella, and Jake Fox each scored a pair of tries in the win and Jack Reed put in another. 

"We did an excellent job of swinging the ball out to our backline and the backs moved the ball through their hands to getting it out to the wings," Hibo scrumhalf John Vella said. "They are pretty quick and they turned it around to the outside. Our forwards did a really good job of ball possession, keeping our own rucks, and stealing some rucks as well."