UMW Comes Back To Win D1AA Fall Final

umwfallfinal.png

University of Mary Washington is the fall D1AA champion after riding a wild second half to defeat St. Joseph’s 37-13 on Sunday in Greenville, SC.

St. Joe’s produced an impressive first 40 minutes, highlighted by a hard-nosed forward effort led by lock Mickey Chapple. And with Jimmy Wolfer unleashing his slick sidestepping, UMW found itself backpedaling more than the Mothers are used to against their opponents.

Wolfer put St. Joe’s ahead 3-0 with a penalty goal, and while Mary Washington replied with a try, St. Joe’s led again after a long period of attack. The Hawks tried to put it over wide and finally saw Chapple bull across the line up the middle. Wolfer converted for a 10-5 lead.

Wolfer added a drop goal for a 13-5 advantage that held until halftime.

The Comeback

In the second half, UMW slowly started to come back, but at the same time the Mothers were sometimes hurt by their impatience.

Some promising breaks were undercut by a too-risky offload or simply the lack of desire to set a ruck and go again.

Still, hooker Tom Williams thundered over and converted to make it 13-12 six minutes in, and Williams added a penalty to nudge his team ahead 15-13 a few minutes later.

After that, the UMW backs started to connect. Flyhalf Michael Sacks and No. 8 Matthew Gordon, both big bodies, started to push back the St. Joe’s defenders, and while fullback Bradlee Nichols was garnering attention, it was wing Nathan Neri who finished off the crucial try to extend that lead.

Neri put over a second, with some impressive elusive running, to stretch UMW's lead to 27-13. 

Mary Washington began to kick to space to pin St. Joe’s back and put the pressure on the Hawks. It worked. The Mothers almost scored another try but settled for a penalty from Williams, and then Gordon crashed through for the final try.

St. Joe's Pride

St. Joe’s did superbly all season and led at halftime because of a combination of teamwork and bravery. But Mary Washington was too big and wore down the St. Joe’s defense, and the Mothers kept their composure despite being in the unfamiliar position of trailing.

Neri, Gordon, and scrumhalf Harry Masters were all excellent for UMW, but the coaches pointed to locks Phillip Harrison and Lewis Grant and flankers Tucker Chewning and Jack Levine for their defensive play and work rate.

UMW's Dominant Fall 

Mary Washington finishes the fall 11-0, outscoring opponents 579-102. The 37 points the Mothers tallied in the fall final was the least number of points they scored all fall, and the winning margin of 24 was also UMW's smallest of the season.

7s Eagles Take Coaching Roles At San Diego State While On Rehab

Alex Goff Zack Test Is A Coach.jpg

Injured but not idle, recovering USA sevens players Zack Test and Brett Thompson spent part of their fall coaching the San Diego State sevens team.

Division Debates Part IV: Seasonal Stuff We Can't Change

Colleen McCloskey Navy vs Life Colleen McCloskey 5323.jpg

After NBC and United World Sports parted ways on broadcasting the Collegiate Rugby Championship Sevens Invitational, people started speculating that the CRC might be history.

Can You Make The Rugby-Football Crossover As An All-Star?

tyrsejohnsonfisher.jpg

English rugby-playing sensation Tyrese Johnson-Fisher is a speedy center/wing who also wants to be a football player, and he's going to get his chance.

Bracket Watch: If The D1A Playoffs Started Tomorrow

Michael Geib Saint Marys vs BYU 2017 Michael Geib

At the halfway mark of the 2017-18 college season, a bunch of D1A teams are in playoff limbo — and it's not the good kind.

McWilliams Lauds Leadership Of Eagles Players

Rugby Georgia USA v Georgia Nov 2017 Photo Credit Georgia Rugby 2.jpg

The USA men's 15s team is still waiting for its new head coach to join the fold, but leadership isn't an issue for the Eagles in the interim, according to one of the squad's assistants.

The Division Debate Part III: Is D1A Doing Its Job?

Steven Zomberg Arkansas State v Davenport 2017 Zomberg 3.jpg

In Part III of our series on the structure of men's college rugby, we're taking a look at whether D1A is serving its purpose.

FloRugby To Live-Stream Life University Home Games

Michael Geib smc-v-life-2017-diafinal-michael-geib-2856.jpg

FloRugby has reached an agreement with Life University to live-stream a series of men’s and women’s undergraduate rugby team games for this winter and spring.

Still Many Changes To Expect In D1AA Rankings

Colleen McCloskey UMW vs JMU Sept 2017 Colleen McCloskey 4.jpg

We've got a fall champion in D1AA and currently that team, Mary Washington, is the new No. 1 in FloRugby's Men's D1AA rankings.

New Zealand Wins Cape Town, USA Finishes 6th

Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby Cape Town 7s 2017 Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby 4.JPG

New Zealand defeated Argentina 38-14 on Sunday to take the Cup Final at the Cape Town Sevens and shoot to first place in the HSBC Sevens World Series standings, while the USA left the series' second leg with a lot more to be happy about than when it arrived in Cape Town.

USA Does A 180 To Go 3-0 In Cape Town

Mike Lee KLC fotos World Rugby USA 7s At Cape Town 2017 Carlin Isles - Mike Lee KLC Fotos World Rugby.JPG

The USA men's sevens team produced a massive turnaround to open the Cape Town Sevens on Saturday and will look to get a top four finish, or better, on day two.