Men's rugby wins division title
Hugh Hill, Staff Writer
On a gray and misty morning in Waterville, the Bowdoin Men's Rugby Football
Team advanced to the New England Championship Tournament last Saturday,
taking a bruising 29-22 victory over archrival Colby.
The hard-fought match was a testament to the strength of the virile Polar
Bears in comparison to the sterile White Mules. After an exemplary season
of undefeated play, the Bowdoin lads are now the champions of the Downeast
Division for the first time since 1992.
Bowdoin Rugby plays this weekend for the New England Division II Championship
at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, a tournament that promises
two brutal and glorious days of rugby.
The defeat of Colby Junior College goes down in Bowdoin Rugby annals
as one of its finest days. In front of a legion of screaming fans, the
boys in black went toe to toe against Colby's finest.
It must be noted that Colby, which has been renowned in the past for
unsportsman-like play and a total lack of socializing skills, was vastly
improved over previous years, thanks to a new coaching staff.
However, the Mules were not up to the caliber of Bowdoin play. The game's
score may not reflect this, but Bowdoin was in command from the match's
Senior forward captain Billy "The Responsible Kid" Soares led
the Bowdoin pack in their domination of Colby. "Our wings, Jaws [senior
Kris Bosse] and Trucky [first year Truc Huynh], shut down their eight-man
pickup. From there, we could slam it down their throats every time. On
every scrum, we heard screams of pain from their forwards. I loved it,"
Special note must be made of Rob "Capt. Brown Star" Mandle,
senior heartthrob Torrey Liddell, and sophomore hockey star Ryan Chisholm's
backrow. Capt. Brown Star provided crucial kicks, while Liddell and Chisholm
swept the rear.
Both of these backs neutralized Colby's formidable kicking with amazing
quickness and dexterity, vanquishing any hope of a Colby victory.
This weekend will be the toughest challenge Bowdoin has faced to date.
Four teams play for the right to compete in the National Division II Men's
Rugby Championship, held this spring.
On Saturday, Bowdoin will face Yale in what promises to be an amazing
test of strength. Yale, with one of the largest student bodies upon which
to draw in the Division II New England Regional Conference, has the reputation
as a hard-hitting and disciplined squad.
Bowdoin isn't fazed in the least, however. Colorblind junior forward
Dave Kirkland accurately encapsulated the feelings of many Bowdoin ruggers
regarding the Yalies: "They're a lot of hype," he said. "I
feel that their skills are frivolous. When they meet this boy from Beverly,
Mass those fools is going to learn what respect is all about."
Back captain Jason "D'Nunzio" Pietrafitta echoed Kirkland's
sentiments (albeit more intelligibly) with his usual eloquent style. "There
is no question that we're going to win," he said. "We have worked
too hard and come too far. Our team is that good. I will personally ensure
that victory is ours. You have my word on that."
D'Nunzio's threats shouldn't be taken lightly. Bowdoin's backline is
one of the best in New England, with many fine players of the highest
caliber. Let a rugger like Capt. Brown Star or Dennis "The Wounded
Fire God" Kiley get the ball, and the best an opposing team can hope
for is a loss of 20 meters.
In a post-game interview last Saturday, Bowdoin head coach and Milkshake
Master Rick Scala emphasized the power of the back row. "My B-side
players are better than most of the other backs out there," he said.
"We are amazingly fortunate to have such a talented and deep pool
of backs. I would have no trouble throwing a rookie like Casper [first
year Tom Hazel] or Focus [sophomore Alexis Acevedo] in there. They have
that level of talent."
Scala declined to say, however, when senior fa(s)t forward Ari "Flabio"
Jasper will make his much anticipated move to fly-half, only muttering
something about "a cold day in hell."
Bowdoin will face either Middlebury or Providence on Sunday, depending
on tomorrow's outcome. Providence has been a consistently strong side
over the last few years and will be a worthy opponent.
Middlebury is a different story, however. They have allowed only five
points in the 2001 season and look to be the toughest opposition Bowdoin
The ruggers are optimistic about their chances and have redoubled their
training this week. The championship has special meaning for many of the
seniors, who have dreamed of this for four years.
Come down to New Haven this weekend and watch your champion Bowdoin ruggers
compete for the New England title. GO BLACK!