With a high-scoring offense and the support of alumni behind them, Mother’s Rugby improved to 6-0 overall and 4-0 in league play with a 41-24 Homecoming win against Virginia Military Institute.
The crowd included 50 high school recruits and countless Mary Washington alumni eager to support the team as they faced a strong opponent. The win allowed the team to clinch the league’s regular season championship, so they can now focus on the postseason championships going forward.
VMI was the first to score in the contest, drawing points after a penalty kick, with UMW freshman Todd Lancaster responding quickly, running in a pass from 40 meters out. Senior Sam Mencarini followed with a quick try assisted by strong play from the forwards. Scoring closed out with a try from senior Adrian Martinez. Both Mencarini and Martinez had their tries followed by strong extra kicks by freshman Joe Eustace.
The second half opened with VMI attempting to battle back into contention, but play by the Mothers was too much for them to handle. Senior captain Kyle Hoffmann converted two second-half tries, both of which were complemented by kicks from Eustace.
Coach Tim Brown was eager to applaud the efforts of his team, especially those of the younger players.
“Todd Lancaster is really becoming a machine at center,” Brown said. “I want to recognize (senior) Ben Britten who has been a workhorse all year as a freshman…both he and Nick Ryan in their first years on the club have played all over the pack. Dajuan Douglas and Austin Mayhugh again played well all over the field and did not look like freshmen.”
Senior Daniel Holcombe agreed with the strong effort but explained that there is still work to be done.
“VMI is always a fit, athletic team,” Holcombe said. “We killed ourselves with a lot of dumb penalties. We need to learn to cut those out. It was a big win though, in front of a big crowd, and we learned a few things we need to fix before the Ed Lee Cup. We could easily play [VMI] again in the Cup.”
The Ed Lee Cup is the championship tournament for the Virginia Rugby Union, where the Mother’s squad has performed well in years past, achieving Cup victories at the Division II level in 2005 and 2008.
The Division II team travels to Virginia Commonwealth University on Saturday with their undefeated record on the line, having achieved victories against Radford, James Madison, Old Dominion, UVA and East Carolina. The Division III squad won on a Roanoke forfeit and will travel to William & Mary on Saturday, touting a strong 4-1-1 record.