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.

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