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Depth and Defense Drives Strong UVM Start

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Depth and Defense Drives Strong UVM Start

UVM holds the defensive line in their shutout win over UMass Lowell.

Turning heads this past week in Men's DII college rugby was University of Vermont, which dismissed a very capable UMass Lowell side 38-0.

No one doubts that the New England Wide Collegiate Rugby Conference is a difficult conference, so to win a game by that margin (the two teams tied in their match last year) is definitely worth a closer look.

"We had our game plan and we executed it," UVM's Jack Campbell said, succinctly. "Our players are making their tackles. We have a lot of cohesion within our team—seven or eight of us have playted together for three years and it just feels we're on the same page."

That's crucial, but not the whole story. Getting the newer guys to be part of it is also important.

"A lot of the new guys coming in have some rugby experience," added Jack O'Connor. "They come in and embrace the culture. That's been important. Probably the key to how we're playing has been our defense; our defense and our depth. We have guys who come in now and there's no dropoff."

Fullback Colin Beeck has been a key player for the Catamounts, kicking for position, which is massive in DII if you can do it well, and getting points when they are on offer. No. 8 Anthony Casablanca has set the tone as a defender and it a punishing tackler.

But it's really been a team effort for UVM, and they will need that in what is, as we said, a very tough NEWCRC. All eight teams: UVM, Coast Guard, Norwich, Boston University, UMass Lowell, Maine-Orono, New Hampshire, and Bentley can play rugby and no game is an automatic.

"It's fun to play this conference," said O'Connor. "All seven games in the conference are very competitive and that just makes it more fun for us. We know we have to play well every week, but we also know that if we just do what we know we can do, we will be alright."

This weekend Coast Guard (who lost by just three to UVM two weeks ago but sit 0-2) host 1-1 Bentley. UNH, which is 1-0-1, visit 1-0 Norwich (their first match was canceled). Vermont (2-0) hosts 0-2 BU, and 1-0 Maine, new to this version of the NEWCRC, hosts a wounded Lowell sitting 0-1-1.