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Mount St. Mary's Tops Chesapeake Tournament Round 2

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Mount St. Mary's Tops Chesapeake Tournament Round 2

Chris Cleland for MSM goes on a charge. Photo Betsy Tomlinson.

Mount St. Mary's took top honors in the 2nd leg of the Chesapeake Conference 7s series, beating Kutztown 19-14 in the final.

After finishing 2nd last week and 1st this week, MSM is now atop the conference leaderboard with a record of 8-1-1, just ahead of Mary Washington.

"The ball was bouncing in our direction," said MSM Director of Rugby Jay Myles, who has delegated running of the 7s program to his son, Tyler, and Mike Williams. "Kutztown is an amazing program. Anytime we can sand toe-to-toe with them we count ourselves blessed."

And they did, beating Columbia 29-10, Rowan 24-0, and tying Kutztown II to win their pool, and then defeating Maryland 22-10 in the semis and Kutztown I 19-14 in the final.

"One of the things we’ve kind of settled into is just staying true to our systems," said Myles. "There’s an urge to get out of our systems can be tempting but what Mike and Tyler have done is reinforce the safety of the systems and players have bought in. Last week we got outside of that."

It's a busy winter/spring at Mount St. Mary's rugby, with 87 players rostered and two 7s teams in action plus several 15s teams in action at various times. The vast, vast majority of these players are underclassmen.

"I feel our future's really bright," said Myles. "The support from the University is really something special."

With a dedicated rugby practice field and game field, the team has the space to work through all those teams.

And as the weather has improved they've been able to work toward their 7s goals. ANd while the Kutztown teams that entered this weekend's tournaments weren't necessarily the front line group, they were very good and probably co-favorites with Mary Washington to win.

"Wth Kutztown it’s an emotional battle," said Myles. "Whether you're playing Kutztown I or Kutztown II they're so competitive; their pressure is unwavering.."

MSM were led by flyhalf Jude Fangmeyer, a product of Good Counsel HS and someone who has a solid and varied skill set.

"He does all the small things so well that it sets everyone up for success around him," said Myles.

MSM did suffer a bad injury early as powerful Shemar Lewis hurt his ankle just a few minutes into the first game. He was out for the tournament, but West Shore United product Ray McGettigan stepped in and was an excellent presence among the forwards.

Freshman scrumhalf Chris Cleveland out of Doylestown was brilliant. He's a freshman, yes, but he's been playing rugby for most of his life and understand the game.

"He's an old soul trapped in a young man’s body yelling at kids to get off his lawn,” joked Myles. "He is so determined. His restarts were fantastic."

And on defense he tracked back to make two key cover tackles on Kutztown wings to preserve the win in the final.

"We've started well but we've also made mistakes," cautioned Myles. "You grow from your failures so we still have lots to learn. But Tyler and Mike have set the stage to allow the players to succeed."

Chesapeake Conference Tournament #2 Order of Finish:

1. Mount St. Mary's
2. Kutztown I
3. Kutztown II
4. Maryland
5. Mary Washington
6. Mount St. Mary's II
7. Virginia Tech
8. Salisbury
9. Columbia
10. Rowan
11. Navy II