By ANDREW KADA
This past Saturday, the Mary Washington Mothers rugby team opened their fall season with a solid win against last years Division III final four team, Longwood University.
UMW used 23 different players throughout the “A” game, swapping players at every position except for flyhalf and fullback. The team utilized different players due to their abilities to quickly learn and contribute.
Senior Tom Ford played scrumhalf for the first time in two years and the team’s new members, sophomore transfer Todd Lancaster and freshman Mauricio Menendez, also saw time on the field.
Although the Mother’s did win their match against Longwood, senior captain Scott Hoffman sees room for improvement. “We did not play up to our potential… However, we were able to play 23 players so everyone got good experience before our first league match against JMU this Saturday,” the captain said.
The UMW Mothers started the first half with decisive play from junior eightman Casey Snyder and the team got solid tackling from Tito Garcia and Rex Mahoney. Hoffmann played well at flyhalf throughout the game and kept the Mother’s pretty much error-free.
Other players who made significant moves on the field were Junior wing Conor Kantwill and Junior Center Tristan Sonnett. By the end of the first half, UMW had a comfortable 13-5 lead over the Lancers.
The second half opened with more hard tackling from Mary Washington. The Mothers showed a lot of heart and stuffed Longwood on the goal line a few times. After that point, Longwood was unable to make any more valid threats upon UMW.
The Mothers performed an excellent multi-phase play that showed great teamwork and capped off the scoring to seal a Mary Washington win. Junior’s Joseph Maro, Kyle Hoffman, Tristan Sonnet, Henry Jones and Captain Hoffman were the key cogs in Mary Washington’s 20-8 victory. The loss was the first for Longwood on their home field in three years.
The Mary Washington Mothers look forward to the rest of the season with much optimism about their future matches. The team is confident in their athleticism, teamwork, and experience to get the job done.
“The team looks strong. The team strengths are our skilful and speedy backs, and our intelligent and hard working forwards,” Hoffman said.
The team goals this year are set high but the Mothers are more than confident. Hoffman said that the team thinks they can “repeat as state champs and win a spot for the regional finals in Florida.”
The team has set lofty goals and in order to achieve them they will need to continue to work hard and tackle well. The support of the students here at Mary Washington is also key. Hoffman says he hopes that everyone goes out to the Battleground pitch this Saturday at 1 p.m. for the team’s first home game.