Monday, November 17, 2014

From September 2 – November 13th, we’ve been training three and sometimes four days a week, doing fitness, skill development and strength training, all in order to give ourselves the opportunity to win the one league match in the fall, EWU. This past Saturday the club was successful in it’s goal, winning both first and second side matches.

Having graduated 17 seniors last year, and only having 2 seniors this year, we knew it wasn’t going to be a perfect day. The game started off a bit shaky, both figuratively and literally, as it was a sheer 20 degrees at kickoff. EWU scored first on a systematic breakdown in our defense, compounded by multiple missed tackles. Things became organized and efficient the remainder of the half, dominating possession and territory through our kicks, counter attacks and defense. We put three tries on the board through Jack Stimson (Junior), Evan Prince (Sophomore), and Ryan Carlson (Senior), going into the break up 17-7.

The second stanza proved to be extremely challenging. After a battle for 10 minutes, our young men put another try on the board through our fullback, Derek Pleasants (Sophomore), who had a great day inserting himself into the backline and attacking at pace. Up 22-7, the gas was let off and EWU started marching their way back.  The ability to play a complete 80 minutes can challenging, not physically as much as it is mentally. Our mental lapses over the next 20 minutes, coupled with an increase in intensity by EWU, allowed them to come back and take the lead 24-22.

Just as quickly as the mental breakdown got us into a hole, it brought us back out. The last 10 minutes were clinical and the UW rugby men put two tries in to seal the victory; thanks to our Stalwart fly half, Jack Stimson and up and coming center, Nick Gadbaw (Sophomore).

Having lost so much experience last year, it was a great win for the club. We’re a little unsure of our expectations for this group in regards to wins and losses. However, what we coaches realized this weekend is they’re developing quickly. They have a lot to learn, but we’re on the right track and as I told the players, watching our second side play good, decent rugby was as much, if not more, exciting for me on the day. When we started in September, most of these guys hadn’t even seen a rugby ball, let along catch and pass it. Two months later they were doing it under pressure, completing 2 v 1 situations and three first year, freshman, scored tries in the second side match.

We have a busy January – April coming up so we gave the players a rest from now until Janurary 5th, with a massive emphasis on weight training and conditioning.

We look forward to seeing you at our home matches in the winter/spring and thank you all for your continued support. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Western Washington 7's Tournament Recap

Western Washington 7’s Tournament

It was a challenging weekend for the Dawgs, who were playing in their new purple and white 7’s jerseys, thanks to the help of Mr. Gadbaw! Having graduated 17 seniors, 7 of whom  played and/or started on the 7’s and 15’s teams last season, has completely changed the makeup of our team. We have a lot of fresh new faces filling in these gaps, but it’ll take time to develop these athletic and devoted young men.

The competition was fierce last weekend, with two very good sides coming from UBC and UVic . Long Beach State had a very athletic and skilled team as well, and of course there was Central Washington, one of the top collegiate 7’s teams in the country for the past few years.

Even with our inexperience and stout competition, at times the UW team looked great, but could not stay consistent. Our Stalwart and team rock, Jack Stimson was at his best, with spurts of passion, grit and plain old blue collar hard work from others like Josh Rayburn and Riley Poulson.

Even at 1-2 on day one, we were able to squeeze into the cup quarterfinal rounds, but a disappointing loss to WWU, knocked us out of the tournament and a chance to play in the plate final for 5th place.

We’re utilizing 7’s as a development for our players as opposed to an actual 7’s season. We hope to play upwards of 25 guys in the 5 tournaments we’re attending. Sevens is the perfect avenue for preseason training, with lots of fitness, simple passing, catching and skill development. We’re looking to prime these guys to do something special again in our 15’s season and we look forward to everyone’s support both on and off the field.

This upcoming weekend we’ll be playing at the Oregon St. tournament, which will be an 8 team, one day tournament on Saturday 10/4.

Also, remember to follow the HuskyRugby club on social media (twitter and facebook). We’re hoping to have live  updates during tournaments and matches throughout the year.