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."

Northern Virginia Rugby64Schuylkill River Exiles20Men - DI
Potomac Exiles12Rocky Gorge Rugby17Men - DI
Washington Irish20Baltimore-Chesapeake Brumbies31Men - DI
Norfolk Blues25Pittsburgh Harlequins13Men - DI
Lancaster Roses20Old Gaelic Rugby36Men - DII-North
North Penn Rugby34Wilmington Rugby29Men - DII-North
Philadelphia Whitemarsh Rugby18Doylestown Dragons25Men - DII-North
Lehigh Valley Hooligans28Phoenixville White Horse51Men - DII-North
Raleigh Vipers61James River Rugby5Men - DII-South
Frederick Rugby24West Potomac Beavers25Men - DIII-Central
Washington Irish D364Baltimore-Chesapeake Brumbies D37Men - DIII-Central
North Bay RugbyWinRocky Gorge Rugby D3ForfeitMen - DIII-Central
Northern Virginia Rugby D324Severn River Rugby43Men - DIII-Central
Happy Valley Barbarians22Hibernians Rugby7Men - DIII-North
Harrisburg Rugby5Media Rugby43Men - DIII-North
Wilkes-Barre Scranton Breakers35Reading Rugby24Men - DIII-North
Brandywine Rugby87Philadelphia Gryphons0Men - DIII-North
Schuylkill River Exiles D320Jersey Shore Sharks29Men - DIII-North
Northeast Philadelphia Irish56Blackthorn Rugby0Men - DIII-North
Rocktown Rugby10Blacksburg Rugby24Men - DIII-South
Blackwater Rugby17Roanoke Rugby24Men - DIII-South
Norfolk Blues D337Newport News Mariners0Men - DIII-South
Washington Scandals12Western Suburbs Rugby D474Men - DIV
Baltimore Flamingos3North Bay Rugby D4158Men - DIV
Phoenixville White Horse38Patuxent River Rugby19Men - DIV
Raleigh Venom25Northern Virginia Rugby20Women - DI-Eastern
Harrisburg Rugby43Phoenixville White Horse26Women - DII-North
Northeast Philadelphia Rugby78Brandywine Riot5Women - DII-North
James River Rugby21Norfolk Storm22Women - DII-South
Severn River Rugby103D.C. Furies D20Women - DII-South
York & Lancaster Thorns51Lehigh Valley Rugby0Women - DIII-North
Philadelphia Rugby D30South Jersey Devils22Women - DIII-North
Maryland Stingers43Frederick Rugby0Women - DIII-South