BY ANDREW KADA
On Thursday, Oct. 15th, the UMW Mother’s rugby team traveled down to Lexington to take on Virginia Military Institute.
VMI, who had recently been successful in beating No. 8 nationally ranked Radford by 28 points, was looking for redemption after falling to UMW last fall at the State Championship.
The Mother’s, still undefeated, were looking forward to continue their record against the always athletic VMI.
“VMI’s team is extremely fit and seems like they’re a pretty competitive group of guys,” said junior Casey Snyder.
As the starting kickoff went sailing, the forty-degree weather, driving rain, and swirling winds gave each side more to deal with than just their opposition.
Following some great pack play against the ever-physical VMI team, junior Henry Jones was able to take a great pass and convert it for a try with impressive footwork to avoid two defenders. The Mother’s “pack players,” or forwards dominated all of VMI’s pack play.
After 40 minutes of intense play, the halftime score stood at 5-0, the Mother’s leading by a slim margin.
Starting the second half off quickly, the Mother’s defense stood tall and stopped VMI with an impressive goal line defensive stand.
With exceptional work from senior scrum-half Aaron Frank, the ball came to senior flanker Mike Schmidt to move for a try.
After converting the try with a kick, the Mother’s marched down field two more times and ran the score to 18-0.
During the second half, the Mother’s backline shut down every counter made by VMI. Senior Tom Ford and juniors Mark Rhines and Fitz Maro overwhelmed VMI defensively with bone jarring hits for UMW all match long.
Senior captain Scott Hoffmann dictated the Mother’s offensive charges alongside brother junior Kyle Hoffmann and sophomore-transfer standout Todd Lancaster.
On the Mother’s final offensive drive, senior Ryan Payne bulldozed through three defensemen, completely demoralizing VMI’s cadets who shot blanks the entire second game.
When the final whistle blew, UMW celebrated their twenty point win over their biggest opponent of the season thus far, pushing their fall schedule one more game towards yet another undefeated season.
The Mother’s travel to Old Dominion University this upcoming Saturday and will host number No. 8 nationally ranked Radford University the following week at 1 p.m. at the UMW Battleground complex.
“Out of our two regular season games remaining, our only challenge is Radford. We are confident we can go beat them and go undefeated for the second year in a row if we work hard. After our victory over VMI, it shows that we have the talent and heart to beat every team in the Virginia Rugby Union, and even possibly win a national championship,” said Snyder.