Category Archives: Spring Season 15’s

The Club’s 30th Anniversary

901825_10152004142890826_3679627231760874053_o It was a warm and sunny spring morning, May the 3rd, 2014.  Awaking from their slumber after a night of debauchery at the annual Hall of Fame Night, the Alumni of UMBC Rugby made their annual pilgrimage to the rugby mecca that is Walker Field.  For the first time in what must have felt like a lifetime, they dusted off their boots and donned their alumni jerseys for the 18th Annual UMBC Rugby Alumni Game.  Expectations were high, with plenty of smack-talking, promises off ass-kicking, and guarantees of points scored by both sides before the game.  The game was shaping up not only to be an epic battle for pride, but also a great game of rugby, with some of the best athletes that have ever taken the pitch for UMBC coming out to play for the alumni against a current team that has consistently played dominant, hard-hitting games in the spring semester.

After watching a great game where the UMBC Old Girls took on the current Women's Rugby Club, the field soon became filled with that familiar pregame chant that is such an integral part of  UMBC Rugby.  Both sides told epic tales of when their players have woken up in the land of the No-Necks, and followed it up with the chant that prepares their minds and spirits for their competition.  As both sides jumped up and down, jersey pulled up on top of their head, screaming at the top of their lungs, the stage was set, and the game did not disappoint.

Directly from the kickoff there were huge hits and strong rucking and running, in true UMBC style.  The powerhouse and bruising forwards of the alumni clearly did not forget how to lay the wood, as the current team took forward punches into a stout defense.  But the athletic and versatile forwards of the current team took advantage of speed and conditioning, flooding every ruck and consistently getting out in support of their backline.

The even matchup in the forwards meant that the scoring would have to come from the backs, which also had some great matchups.  The respective scrum halves exemplified their team's style of rugby.  For the alumni, "Uncle Larry" Grassi was not shy with his boot getting the ball out of rucks, and played very physically, often making hits that you would see a flanker make.  And for the current team, Matt "Ziggy" Zvitkovitz kept play quick and decisive to keep the defense on their back feet, and kept the wings and fullback honest with his kicks.  And, of course, the game had the epic rematch between in-centers Cordell "Turtle" Drummond and Matt "Fat Parks", a Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker style matchup between jedi master and padawan.

First blood was drawn by the current team, when a short chip kick from a ruck at the alumni's 22 by Scrum Half Ziggy bounced to a gap on the sideline at the 5-meter line, where wing Matt "Tinkerbell" Phillips snagged the ball on the bounce and dotted it down for the opening try.  The alumni, down on the scoreboard early, responded with a try from forwards Man-of-the-Match Usman "Big Uzi" Timi as he carried 3 players into the try zone for a score.

In the second period, the alumni subbed in almost an entire fresh side.  With the momentum after kickoff, the alumni retained the ball on offense nearly the whole 20 minutes, and put in two tries, leaving the score at 17-5 Alumni.

By the third period, the current team's fitness and physicality pulled them back into the game against an alumni team that was running out of subs.  After using the forwards to suck in the defense, the ball was swung to the wing John "Generic" McLeod, who shook the alumni's wing and fullback and outran pursuing backs for a 60 meter try.  The alumni, now only ahead 17-10, capitalized on a penalty near the current team's goal line for a dangerous tackle by Jackson "Sparrow" Drury. Lock Tracy Williams punched the ball in for an alumni try.  Down 22-10, the current team burst back and responded with a long try from scrumhalf Ziggy, who centered the ball to allow the conversion to bring the game within a try, 22-17.

As the whistle blew to end the 3rd period, the current team prepared for a comeback in the fourth period, knowing that their fitness would keep their momentum going against a wavering alumni defense.  But, the alumni decided to call the game after 3 20-minute periods, much to the current team's disappointment.   Words were exchanged briefly at midfield as  challenges were made to play a full 80 minutes, but the alumni backed down and took their win 22-17, and declared that a B-side match that had no effect on the outcome of the game could be played.  Though unsatisfied with the result, the current team was still proud of how they played against one of the largest and most skilled alumni sides to take the field in recent history.

Of course, afterwards, there were were festivities.  Great food and drink provided by the alumni was a great way to end a solid day of rugby.  In alumni game tradition, there was the annual "Best Damn Awards Show in All of Rugby," for the respective team's men-of-the-match.  The alumni named Usman "Big Uzi" Timi the Forward MotM and LJ Pijnenburg the Back MotM.  The current team named Chris Ogolla their Forward MotM and Matt "Fat" Parks Back MotM.  The alumni took time to recognize the current team members who passed on to the dark side and will be playing for them next year.  They also named the recipient of the Haud Collumi Scholarship, current team President Tyler Tippett, who received the honor for 3 years committed to the team and a 3.73 cumulative GPA.

After the official honors, awards, and acknowledgements, the current team and alumni ate, drank, and celebrated the third decade of the club's existence.  A great time was had by all, as the current team met and learned from the men who have come before them, and the alumni got to know the club's current members who are building toward a better future for the club.  As the festivities eventually died down and people began to head home to ice their numerous aches and pains, it was a common feeling felt by all that UMBC Rugby is at a great spot as an organization, and will only be growing larger and stronger for years to come.  No matter the smack-talk and rivalries that surround the alumni game, it is an annual reminder that when all who have been united by the patch, Alumni and Current team, come together, great things can happen.  Here's to another 30 great years.

 

Gorge Cup Champs (Again!)

GorgeCup2013 4/20 was a day of many records for UMBC.  What has never happened before and will likely never happen again, UMBC was the first team to the pitch in the morning - even Rocky Gorge's tournament reps weren't there yet.  UMBC set up camp and warmed up as teams began to arrive.  As defending champions of Gorge Cup, it was their duty to top last year's performance.  And 2013's Gorge Cup will certainly go down as one to remember.

Game 1 - At 9:10am, UMBC was ready to go, but Montgomery CC was a no-show.  A disappointing start to the day; although UMBC was given a free win, there would be a wait of almost two more hours before the first hits of the day could be made.

Game 2 - Finally at 10:50am, UMBC took the field against Towson's B-side.  UMBC started strong with quick breaks in the backline and powerful runs by the forwards.  Scoring early and often, UMBC retained possession of the ball for a majority of the game with good support and set-piece play.  When the final whistle blew, UMBC came out on top 38-5, earning their first real win of the day.

Game 3 - The last of the guaranteed games of the day, UMBC was up against George Mason.  Both teams were 2-0 at the time, so the winner would take first overall in the bracket and secure a spot to compete for the trophy.  Again, UMBC scored early and often, keeping GMU on their back foot.  Powerful scrums gained UMBC excellent field position to attack the retreating GMU defense.  UMBC's defense never wavered this game, as the final score was a shutout, 27-0.

Game 4 - Finishing (3-0) with the best point differential, UMBC earned the 1st seed in the playoffs.  The semi-final matchup would be against the 4th seed, Mary Washington.  A brutal and physical game ensued, as both teams fought for their spot in the championship game.  UMBC struck early with runs that broke through the MW defense, followed up with good support.  Again, powerful scrums from the UMBC forwards led to several tries.  Despite a try and a penalty kick for MW, UMBC kept up the attack the whole game, leaving the field victorious; 22-10.

Game 5 - The championship.  Winner takes all.  Beat up and sore, with several players out from injury, UMBC remained focused on one thing - redemption.  The matchup was UMBC vs Towson's A-side, the same side which handed UMBC a painful loss earlier in the spring season.  But UMBC was focused and would stop at nothing for a win.  Right from the kickoff, which went out of bounds, UMBC forwards proved that this game would be different.  The scrum center was driven deep into Towson territory, and after several ensuing phases, UMBC scored first.  From there, they would not lose the lead the rest of the game.  Incenter Matt Parks scored twice on impressive runs through the Towson defense.  Graduating senior hooker James Park scored on what would be his last game against Towson playing for UMBC.  Captain Erik Anderson also scored a try, as well as Flanker Ricky Johnson.  Two conversions from Flyhalf Richie Campbell gave UMBC 29 points.  Towson was held to 7 points until they scored on the last play of the game, with the final whistle blowing to give UMBC the championship 29-12.

UMBC celebrated with respect as they were awarded the 2013 Gorge Cup Championship trophy.  Speaking from personal experience, the feeling was unreal.  The trophy meant more to the club and to the players than another tournament win, it symbolized the team's hard work and dedication paying off in an unforgettable victory.  Coach Hanibal Gnahoui was also given an MVP plaque to award, which he gave to the forwards for their consistently dominating performance the whole day.  The tournament wins put UMBC at (12-4-1) for the spring season.

UMBC would like to thank its fans and alumni who came out and supported us, Rocky Gorge for hosting the tournament, our sponsor SAP NS2, and our coach, Hanibal Gnahoui.  UMBC is one step closer to their goal of building a team to dominate in the Fall season of 2013.

First Annual UMBC Rugby Day of Service

SandtownHabitat It was a bright and beautiful Saturday, and a perfect day for rugby.  But the ruggers of UMBC weren't cleating up on April 13th.  Instead, they were putting on hardhats and work gloves to donate their time and skills to the local Habitat for Humanity charities.  A force of 27 men's and women's ruggers, with coordination and help from both alumni organizations, combined for over 200 hours of community service for one day.

Two groups of volunteers set out Saturday morning, one to the Sandtown Habitat for Humanity and the other to the Chesapeake Habitat for Humanity.  Working in conjunction with volunteers from other colleges and organizations, along with the wonderful staff, UMBC Rugby helped put in the needed man-(and woman-) power to build affordable homes that will help a family in need and bring together the local community.  Groups tackled different tasks, ranging from demolition to cement laying to building a brand new deck.

It wasn't all work and no play though.  Current players enjoyed the opportunity to meet and work with alumni, who shared war stories about the glory days of old.  The alumni also enjoyed seeing that the team they left behind still has some sense of pride in their organization and school, and were genuinely surprised when college students would willingly get out of bed that early to do anything that wasn't playing rugby.

UMBC hopes to make this day of service an annual tradition.  With proper planning, ruggers could donate their time to other charities who may need some brawny guys to boss around.  Those alumni and players who unfortunately couldn't  make it to this day of service, don't worry, you will just have to work twice as hard next year.

Check out all the photos from both sites on our Facebook page.  Check out Habitat for Humanity if you are interested in donating your time to a local charity and like to get your hands dirty.

Not your typical spring break

BFe6DoBCEAAL2di As most UMBC students travelled home for their spring break, UMBC Rugby had other plans.  Packing up in vans in the early morning hours, the team journeyed south down I-95 to sunny Florida to play some rugby and relax by the beach.  After checking into the hotel and unpacking, the team prepared for their game Saturday versus Daytona Beach Rugby club.  Arriving to the pitch to perfect 78 degree and sunny weather, both teams kicked off a great game of rugby.  In the end, Daytona Beach came out on top 43-15.  UMBC suffered its first loss of the spring season but learned what they needed to improve on for their next match.  Afterwards, the teams relaxed and shared stories to good food and drink generously provided by Daytona Beach.  Another day at the beach and UMBC packed up and returned to Maryland, eager for their next game against Towson on the 30th.

Debut of New Jerseys!

Team Pic SAP NS2 It was a beautiful rugby day - snowing sideways and bitter cold gusts of wind.  That, on top of playing on a wet and muddy field, made for a great debut of our new SAP NS2 jerseys!  George Washington made the voyage up to Walker Field for the home opener of the spring season - and things got off to a smashing start.

Big hits were delivered right from the initial kickoff, as both teams had something to prove after their regular season meeting last fall.  Early on in the first half, the ball popped out of a scrum where Wing Matt Phillips picked up the ball and ran 50 meters down the sideline, offloading to Scrum-half Matt "Ziggy" Zvitkovitz for the first try of the season.

Shortly thereafter, Ziggy would find the try zone again after an offload from Lock Tyler Tippett to Wing "Shadow" Mariko set up a ruck at the GW goal line.  A quick dummy-pass to the forwards drew the defense outside, which left a hole big enough for Ziggy to put UMBuC up 10-0 with his second try.

After the ensuing kickoff, the ball was swung out to Tippett, who delivered a crushing blow to the GW wing and the ruck formed drew a penalty in favor of UMBC.  From the tap-and-go,  the UMBuC backline showed off their hands and speed by punching through the GW defense.  Inside Center Matt Parks broke through a tackle and dove for the try zone to put UMBC on top 15-0.

GW wouldn't let the scoring go unanswered, with 2 tries in the second half.  Their quick hands, solid offloads, and hard running centers were able to find holes in the UMBC defense twice.  GW also converted both of their kicks, leaving them one point off the lead, 15-14.  But UMBC stayed resilient and pushed back the GW attackers with good kicking and setpiece play.  After a series of forward crashes, Lock "Highlander" McQueeney scored his first A-side try by driving back the opposing GW forward enough to touch the ball down.

Neither side managed to score again before the final whistle.  The final score was 20-14, an excellent game from both teams.  There is plenty for both teams to be happy about and plenty to improve on as well.

It's back to practice Monday for UMBC, as we prepare for next week's match.  Stay tuned!

UMBC Wins Second Consecutive Frostbite Champhionship

830382_211849608961770_829683268_o Waking up at 5:00am on a Saturday isn't typical college kid behavior.  But UMBuC ruggers had to journey 1.5 hours to Lancaster, PA, to defend their title as Frostbite rugby tournament champs.  Frostbite stayed true to its name as on Saturday, freezing rains and a cold breeze greeted the ruggers to Pennsylvania.  Nevertheless, UMBC was kitted up and ready for their 8:30am kickoff vs Neumann to start the day.

History was made with UMBC's first opponent, Neumann, as it was the clubs first ever 15's match.  While it wasn't a full match due to the 25-minute games played, UMBC was still glad to welcome in the team to the rugby community.  Both teams had some kinks to work out on their first games, with sloppy penalties and knock-ons giving the forwards plenty of scrummaging practice.  UMBC would eventually get into the groove and score 4 tries, giving them a 26-0 victory to start the day.

After a short break, UMBC took the pitch against Susquehanna.  Both teams were in good spirits and had a great time playing.  UMBC finally worked out its offensive ball-handling mistakes to lead effective back plays which pressured the Susquehanna defense constantly.  Good crash balls and rucking proved to be too much for Susquehanna's pack, who couldn't keep up with the well-conditioned UMBC forwards.  With several good runs from forwards inserting into the back line, UMBC would go on to score another 4 tries, and get their second win 24-0.

UMBC's final match of the first day was against Ursinus, who came out and immediately put the pressure on the UMBC defense.  However, UMBC held firm and kept the ball out of the try zone during several close calls against the monstrous Ursinus forwards on pick-and-go's.  Good kicking and offensive plays from the backline relieved the pressure but the game was scoreless at halftime.  After more back-and-forth action, UMBC finally got a scoring opportunity off of a penalty and capitalized to go up 3-0.  For the last 2 minutes of the game, UMBC forwards kept ball-in-hand with a series of crashes which left the pack exhausted, but ultimately victorious.  UMBC ended the day 3-0 and were not scored on.

Getting up even earlier on Sunday was more brutal than imagined.  However, UMBC was focused on finishing what they started and getting their championship trophy.  At 8:00 am they kicked off vs Susquehanna in a rematch where both teams had something to prove.  A much tougher, smarter, and more disciplined Susquehanna team held well defensively and made powerful offensive runs.  UMBC struck first when a ball popped out of a ruck, and the hooker grabbed the ball on the go and ran 20 meters down the sideline to score.  A beautiful angled point-after would put up UMBC 7-0.  Susquehanna answered after halftime, with a run off a penalty to tie the game at 7-7.  Despite both teams' best efforts, neither could get the ball over the posts or in the try zone until the final whistle, ending the game in a 7-7 tie.

This meant that in order to become champions, UMBC had to win their final game vs Neumann.  Hurting for numbers, UMBC asked several new players to step up, and they did very well.  Experienced with several games under their belt, Neumann had several offensive attacks where they were poised to score.  However, UMBC's defense held their ground with poaches and counter-rucks.  Excellent counter-attacking and good support runners gave a total of 5 tries for UMBC.  With a 29-0 win, UMBC finished the tournament 4-0-1.  Afterwards, UMBC took a photo with Neumann to commemorate the club's first opponent on the pitch.  There were plenty of laughs and congratulations all around in true rugby fashion.

UMBC's 4-0-1 record (13 points) barely edged out Ursinus's 4-1-0 (12 points) to give UMBC its second consecutive Frostbite Tournament Championship.  In the trophy presentation, tournament director Tom Hallowell spoke about the club, saying,"You boys are a blast [to play with]... and represent the best in sportsmanship."

UMBC would like to thank its players who woke up early and came out the the games, especially the new players who had never even seen a game of rugby before.  We hope the tournament shows what rugby is all about - dedication, sportsmanship, and love for the game.  And maybe being a bit crazy too.

Plenty of recovery and practice is in order after the win, to prepare for the first home game of the season this Saturday.

Frostbite Tournament and a New Look!

url-1 As you may have noticed, umbc-rugby.com just got a makeover and it looks better than ever!  Many thanks to our Webmaster for designing and executing the new look!  We sincerely apologize for the lapse of updates and information during the transition period, but we will return to regularly scheduled posting immediately.  Please click around and check out the new look and features of the site!

In the meantime, UMBuC Rugby has been practicing for its first tournament of the season, Frostbite!  As defending D2 Men's Champs, we will have to win another trophy and secure our title against a new batch of challengers.  Hard practices in frozen mud and bitter cold wind have conditioned the team to the bone chilling temperatures of PA.  UMBC is looking stronger and more confident than ever with new players stepping up to fill in the holes left by recent graduates.  New guys will have a lot to prove and plenty of opportunities to prove it this weekend.  Our schedule is as follows...

Saturday 2/23

  • 8:30am - Farifax CC

  • 10:00am - Susquehanna

  • 11:30am - Lafayette


Sunday 2/24

  •  8:00am - Ursinus

  • 10:30am - Neumann


We will have to arrive at Frostbite bright and early for a morning of hard hitting rugby.  Keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter, as well as the website, for game results and summaries.  Go UMBuC!

 

Fundraiser and Spring Updates!

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Tomorrow is one of the last Varsity Basketball fundraisers, and it's a big one!  A double-header starting at 1:00pm in the RAC is a great opportunity to get your fundraising dues in for this semester!  Come out and cheer for UMBC and have a great time with the team heckling the opponents' inferior skills and ugly faces.


If you haven't checked out our Spring Schedule yet, click the "Schedule" tab and see our big plans for this semester!   3 tournaments, plenty of scrimmages,  an awesome trip to Florida and some community service will keep us busy on Saturdays.  We appreciate all our fans who come to support us during our events, and can't wait to see you all this semester!

Special thanks to our sponsor, SAP NS2!  We have an excellent new look we plan to show off this semester, one with your name on it!  We're very excited and proud to have your logo on our jerseys so the other teams can appreciate it as we run past them and into the try zone!


Gonna be a great semester for UMBuC Rugby, especially for our Seniors who will be leaving us at the end of the semester.  Let's put in the work this semester and make it one to remember!

Spring Practices Begin TOMORROW!

2 Rain, wind, or sunshine, UMBC will begin practicing tomorrow at 4pm on Walker Field.  All returning players are expected to be in attendance and any new players are welcome to come to the regularly scheduled practices 4-6pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  Returning players will be tested on their fitness and strength from their off-season workouts.  If there was no improvement from the end-of-season workouts from November, the player will not start in our first scrimmage until they return to in-season shape.

The official spring schedule will be released when it is finalized.  UMBC looks forward to competing in several tournaments and scrimmages to prepare current and future A-side players for the Fall 2013 season.  We aim to further add to our trophy collection; 2 were added last spring from Frostbite and Rocky Gorge tournaments and we hope to improve upon that number this spring.

More updates to come soon!

Alumni Game Ends in Tie

548326_3922785789062_1430855062_n This years Alumni game was a huge success, the day started off with the girls team playing there alumni. After that the men's team took the field and tied their Alumni, 10-10. The games forward of the game was James Park and the back of the game was Hamza Malik.It was a great way to end the spring season.

Stay tuned for more updates as the fall season gets closer

And dont forget that 7's wil be held over the summer ever Thursday from 6:00pm-8:00pm with game occurring on the weekends.

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