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Aspetuck Shocks Greenwich, Wins Connecticut

HS Boys

Aspetuck Shocks Greenwich, Wins Connecticut

After taking 3rd place in Tier 2 at the Boys High School Nationals tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah, Aspetuck Valley Rugby Club defeated Simsbury HS and Greenwich HS to win the Connecticut State Championships.

The final, 20-12 over Greenwich, was considered something of an upset, as Greenwich has generally dominated the Nutmeg State in HS rugby for years.

In the semifinal against Simsbury, Aspetuck was down a few senior starters, with captain and lock Ryan Barrett out due to a shoulder injury, and star open side flanker Derek White also out with a knee issue.

Then they lost their star HSAA 7s player and starting fullback Louie Gryspeerdt. 

As soon as the match started the Aspetuck forwards showed their ability, holing off a heavy Simsbury front either, and getting good yardage on caqrries. Over the first 30 minutes Aspetuck would score 26 points against the Simsbury defense. 

While Simsbury did have quite a few opportunities, it was not until the end of the first half they they finally broke thrrough.

 The second half was much like the first where Aspetuck's defense could not be broken, and they were able to put a few more tries on the board, including one breakaway run by elusive young flyhalf Pearson Hill. Aspetuck 40 Simsbury 5.

Sophomore prop Joseph Coscia scored two tries, and three tries were scored between the Wiener brothers—freshman lock Matt and senior flanker Ray. With their starting kicker out, their outside center Mate Kvirikashvili stepped in and was 5-for-6.

 

 

Greenwich, meanwhile, had much the same sort of semifinal, beating a tough Staples team 47-19. That set up the final.

Aspetuck was tough on defense in this game, and after the teams traded tries, Then James Porter scampered through from about 15 meters out to score a crucial-go-ahead try, converted by Kvirikashvili to make it 14-7.

Greenwich came back to score a try in the opening drive of the second half, but missed the conversion. After that, Aspetuck started to gain the momentum. Greenwich held its goaline defense, but eventually Ray Weiner led a forward effort to get close. Kvirikashvili slotted two penalty goals to get some return for the Aspetuck pressure, and it was 20-12.

"We stuck to the game plan and we tried to slow the game down," Aspetuck Coach Ray Weiner told the Greenwich Times. "Greenwich is a very explosive, dynamic team, so we tried to keep it out of their hands and play possession rugby. Eventually, they are going to score with their athletic ability."

Aspetuck held on and no one was able to score after that. Aspetuck were champions.

"A well deserved win by Aspetuck in a very close game between two good teams," said Greenwich head coach Joe Kelly.

This result is good news for everyone in the state, as it shows there's more parity. That will be helpful to all teams going forward, as players will be attracted to teams that have a shot at winning it all. Aspetuck has shown the way, now others can try to follow.