Mid-Atlantic Recap: Top Teams Clash in Evenly Fought Battles

Plenty of exciting matchups heading into the weekend, and they did not disappoint.

With only four weeks left to play before the winter break, the squads of the Mid-Atlantic Conference are positioning themselves for the spring. Of the ten undefeated teams across the seven divisions, four dominated with shutouts, two ran up 40-point totals in contested matches, one was on a bye, and three won by a converted try or less.

Despite a 1-4-1 record, the Potomac Exiles have been in every match they've played this season. Against Rocky Gorge, Potomac pushed the division leader to the limit, but fell 17-12. Gorge played without five of its regular starters as the match came down to a few successful kicks and hard-nosed defense.

"We played solid defense," Gorge coach Nick DiMichele said. "We had a lot of mistakes in the first half and we didn't let Potomac capitalize. In the second, we weren't able to generate good go-forward but still maintained composure and played good defense to hang on for the win."

In a rematch of the women's divisional semifinal from last season, Raleigh beat NOVA, 25-20, for its first DI win. Raleigh coach Mike Streicker indicated that solid defense and an effective set piece were keys to the win. "We played within our system and had trust in each other on the pitch. Our centers made several key line breaks that we were able to capitalize on. Unfortunately, we had several knocks that cost us points but were able to grind the ball downfield when we needed to do so."

Down in women's Division III, South Jersey remained perfect with a 22-0 blanking of Philadelphia. Rookie wing Christine Wilson scored two tries and Kelsey McGarvey and Judy Rodriguez chipped in the others. Coach Chris Kevenaar said, "We were effective in the first half by matching Philly's power and denying multiple scoring opportunities. In the second half, we maintained possession. Defensively, we were very disciplined in setting up a defensive line and shutting down any attack on the outside."

It was #1 versus #2 in the men's Division II North as Doylestown clashed with Philadelphia-Whitemarsh. The squads matched each other blow for blow until the Dragons scored the final ten points for the 25-18 win. Matt Hartwell and Eric French led by example so Doylestown could stay undefeated.

"The key to the victory was to be patient and trust in ourselves," coach Mike McCandless said. "We weren't trying to do too much and we weren't forcing bad passes. We have been working to clean up our penalty count and we cut it in half this game."

The team that has been flying under the radar this season is Division III North's Media RFC. Media has only given up a total of 30 points this fall and clobbered Harrisburg with eight tries to win 43-5.

"We have been working on fitness and a defensive system that gives up very few points," coach Rick Van Luvender said. "We have a couple of dynamic players in our centers in Luciano Perotti and Brian Hay. The two of them running together really opens up the defense getting players to commit to one and offloading to the other."

Lastly, the top two clubs in women's Division II North squared off as Harrisburg fended off a tough challenge from Phoenixville White Horse. Harrisburg led by four points at the half and exploded for four tries in the second for the 43-26 victory.

The key for coach Scott Stratton's club's triumph was sticking to the gameplan. "The women are really doing well with knowing what we do good works. Everybody gets a chance with the ball and everybody plays defense. With that, we got a strong win against a strong team."

HOME SCORE AWAY SCORE DIVISION
Northern Virginia Rugby 64 Schuylkill River Exiles 20 Men - DI
Potomac Exiles 12 Rocky Gorge Rugby 17 Men - DI
Washington Irish 20 Baltimore-Chesapeake Brumbies 31 Men - DI
Norfolk Blues 25 Pittsburgh Harlequins 13 Men - DI
Lancaster Roses 20 Old Gaelic Rugby 36 Men - DII-North
North Penn Rugby 34 Wilmington Rugby 29 Men - DII-North
Philadelphia Whitemarsh Rugby 18 Doylestown Dragons 25 Men - DII-North
Lehigh Valley Hooligans 28 Phoenixville White Horse 51 Men - DII-North
Raleigh Vipers 61 James River Rugby 5 Men - DII-South
Frederick Rugby 24 West Potomac Beavers 25 Men - DIII-Central
Washington Irish D3 64 Baltimore-Chesapeake Brumbies D3 7 Men - DIII-Central
North Bay Rugby Win Rocky Gorge Rugby D3 Forfeit Men - DIII-Central
Northern Virginia Rugby D3 24 Severn River Rugby 43 Men - DIII-Central
Happy Valley Barbarians 22 Hibernians Rugby 7 Men - DIII-North
Harrisburg Rugby 5 Media Rugby 43 Men - DIII-North
Wilkes-Barre Scranton Breakers 35 Reading Rugby 24 Men - DIII-North
Brandywine Rugby 87 Philadelphia Gryphons 0 Men - DIII-North
Schuylkill River Exiles D3 20 Jersey Shore Sharks 29 Men - DIII-North
Northeast Philadelphia Irish 56 Blackthorn Rugby 0 Men - DIII-North
Rocktown Rugby 10 Blacksburg Rugby 24 Men - DIII-South
Blackwater Rugby 17 Roanoke Rugby 24 Men - DIII-South
Norfolk Blues D3 37 Newport News Mariners 0 Men - DIII-South
Washington Scandals 12 Western Suburbs Rugby D4 74 Men - DIV
Baltimore Flamingos 3 North Bay Rugby D4 158 Men - DIV
Phoenixville White Horse 38 Patuxent River Rugby 19 Men - DIV
Raleigh Venom 25 Northern Virginia Rugby 20 Women - DI-Eastern
Harrisburg Rugby 43 Phoenixville White Horse 26 Women - DII-North
Northeast Philadelphia Rugby 78 Brandywine Riot 5 Women - DII-North
James River Rugby 21 Norfolk Storm 22 Women - DII-South
Severn River Rugby 103 D.C. Furies D2 0 Women - DII-South
York & Lancaster Thorns 51 Lehigh Valley Rugby 0 Women - DIII-North
Philadelphia Rugby D3 0 South Jersey Devils 22 Women - DIII-North
Maryland Stingers 43 Frederick Rugby 0 Women - DIII-South