UMW Wins Cherry Blossom
UMW Wins Cherry Blossom
UMW won the 2018 Cherry Blossom 15s Tournament this past weekend, going 6-0 over two days and scoring 229 points to their opponents' 37.
This historic tournament, in its 52nd year, featured Virginia Tech, SUNY Oswego, RPI, Christendom, Univ of MD, Georgetown, Xavier of Cincinnati, Salisbury, and Towson St among others.
On Day 1, UMW beat Oswego’s second side 62-0, Salisbury 28-12 , and RPI 47-12. All weekend UMW rested their leading scorers from the fall as well as some longtime starters, helping them showcase their depth. Throughout the tourney new lock combo Ross Whitehead and Miguel Terrazas held the line defensively and were active in loose play. Jose Reyes was slicing defenses apart at scrumhalf and flyhalf and feeding centers Mattson Bueche and Justin Ford throughout the tournament as well as identical twins Daniel and David Zamojda. UMW’s kicking for points was just lethal on tiny goalposts with Justin Ford going 4-4 against Salisbury and the David Zamojda making kicks from every angle all weekend
On Day 2, UMW beat Oswego’s first side 35-5 in the quarterfinal. This set up a match up with Chesapeake Conference rival Georgetown in the semis after they beat Salisbury. UMW used great back play and very steady rucking and tackling to cruise past a skilled Hoya team 24-5.
In the final, UMW met another Chesapeake rival, University of Maryland. Maryland featured an extremely quick hook and had utilized the eightman pick effectively, as well as some snappy playmaking to go 5-0 leading in to the final game. Maryland had to work for it to get past Virtginia Tech 13-12 in the quarterfinal before beating a solid Christendom team in the semis.
UMW was able to neutralize Maryland's front three with the nimble and large front row of Ryan Iskowitz, Jack Levine and Adam Thompson - driving them and taking four scrums against the head.
Maryland got in the board first kicking a penalty to go up 3-0. UMW’s defensive line was stout though and the passing and crashes started to wear MD thin in their 6th game of the weekend. After scoring a converted and unconverted try, UMW had a well-taken try that touched a lot of hands and was finished by Jose L. Reyes right before the half to go up 19-3. The second half saw UMW going downhill, scoring some fluid try’s and pulling away 33-3.
According to UMW’s director of rugby Tim Brown, “I find the Cherry Blossom to be a great team building event - there are nice crowds, small fields and it puts guys under pressure. Our league is so strong that it was challenging to mix together out of the area teams that are very capable like Oswego, RPI, and Xavier with teams that are always skilled and physical and push us like VT, U of MD, Georgetown, Christendom, Towson, and Salisbury. You cannot take a single play for granted in these short games on smaller fields as the other team will make you pay. Our head coach Min Chae emphasizes defense and it shows. Finally, I wanted to thank Washington Rugby Club - the Cherry Blossom never gets old and we love playing for a trophy.”
UMW’s next official 15’s match will be the USAR D1AA final May 5th in Fullerton, CA.