Mizzou’s notches win against Brown, drops to FSU in semifinal
As the 2016-17 Heart of America Conference Champions, Mizzou Rugby traveled to Spartanburg, SC to compete in the East Regional of the USA Rugby National Tournament. Slated as the #2 seed in the bracket, the Tigers faced off against #3 Brown University out of the Ivy League.
Mizzou’s offense started hot with fullback Kellen Shockley taking a long try for the score to ignite the scoring. After getting another score from wing Nick Romano, the Tigers allowed a try to the Brown offense, but it did not stop the Tigers’ backline attack. Adam Cooley at the inside center scored three times while flyhalf Gareth Jones, Romano, and Shockley all each notched one more try. James Glavin at the 8-man position scored on a nice break, and the Tigers got help from a late score from freshman reserve Dylan Maher. The Tigers ran wild to take care of Brown 55-17, advancing into the National Semifinal.
The next day, the Mizzou team dealt with some injuries and sickness but their offense was slow to start and couldn’t seem to find open running lanes amongst a fast approaching FSU defense. After suffering from a yellow card, the Tigers barely had the ball the entire first half and were down 10-0 at the half. In the second half, the Tigers were plagued with penalties and yet another yellow card and looked exhausted trying to stop the FSU attack. After having a James Glavin try taken away, the final whistle sounded at 35-0.
Although disappointed with the result in the national semifinal match, the Tigers were proud of their work this season as the final four is the farthest any Mizzou team has even finished before.
Mizzou Rugby keep conference record undefeated against Wash U
In another solid offensive performance by the Tigers, many different players contributed to the scoring effort while the defense once again was solid. Wing Ricky Pena got his first career try to start the game on the left sideline followed by a beautiful bounce back kick by Gareth Jones reeled in by opposite wing Nick Romano for the try. Romano scored another try on a long run down the right sideline immediately after. Center Adam Cooley scored the next on a sweet set up pass by Kellen Shockley allowing him room to run. J.T. Schlegel followed with a nice try set up by himself. On a long kick by Jones, Cooley chased the bouncing kick, and offloaded over the shoulder to a perfectly positioned oncoming Blake Ollar who finished for the try. Cooley scored two more, one a interception of the Wash U backline, and Ollar one more himself on a sweet run with a devastating stiff arm. 57-3 at the half Tigers up. Mizzou was able to sub lots of solid players from the bench who showed their abilities on the first side. Prop Sam Upton took in a try from 5 meters out fed by Schlegel. Cooley with one more and then Gareth Jones made a nice cut, broke a tackle and scored and converted himself. Freshman David Boudart scored once more before the final whistle giving the Tigers the 86-3 win. The subs showed the Tigers’ depth coming off the bench in this game. Next up against Truman State on March 11th.
Mizzou starts off the spring beating in-state rival SLU
The Tigers offense started hot as the opening kickoff got swung to the backline where center Adam Cooley took it the distance for the opening try. James Glavin followed suit with a try of his own breaking a tackle and scoring from 25 meters out. SLU scored two of their own as the Tigers defense failed to defend against the offload and the score was tied 12-12. Cooley and Glavin each scored one more before the end of the half giving the Tigers a 26-12 lead. After halftime, the Tigers defense stiffened and the offense was able to get the ball to wing Nick Romano for a score. The game ended in a 40-17 win for Mizzou and a solid start to the season. Up next at Washington University.
Fall 2016 Mizzou Rugby Awards:
Forward MVP-Marc Makovicka (Sr. Hooker)
Back MVP-Adam Cooley (Jr. Inside Center)
Impact Player-Mickey Watson (Sr. Flanker)
Rookie of the Season Award-Nick Romano (Jr. Wing)
Most Improved Player-Neil Hart (So. Forward)