Poughkeepsie, NY (04/07/2019) – With pristine conditions for early April, Bard joined fifteen other collegiate 7s teams from the tri-state area for the spring championship. The Raptor ruggers came in with confidence, having beaten SUNY New Paltz’s “B” side the weekend before and lost closely to Marist’s “B” side. Bard was in a pool with SUNY New Paltz’s “A” side this weekend, as well as eventual pool winners Molloy and hosts Vassar. While Bard went winless for the day, they played a very tight game with New Paltz and gained experience playing strong sides.
Game 1: Bard College Men 10 v 17 SUNY New Paltz “A”
Tries: Alexander Beatty (1), Edward Dunn (1)
Bard dominated possession of the ball in the first half against SUNY New Paltz and did well defending the outside of the field when New Paltz did have possession. Alexander Beatty scored the team’s lone try of the half from a well-timed offload, tying the score 5-5. It appeared Bard was going to take the lead when Tahm Siddiquie broke through the line after a penalty and the try would have certainly been to Bard’s advantage. As it were, the referee blew the play dead and brought it back for a penalty which Bard did not capitalize on. Before the half, another New Paltz player was penalized and yellow carded, giving Bard a 7-6 advantage in terms of players. They couldn’t punch it in before the half and had to settle for a 5-5 tie after 7 minutes.
With an extra player, the Reds should have pushed the ball wide at the onset of the second half. Quite conversely, players were being sucked into breakdown areas, negating their advantage. New Paltz’s penalized player returned and two missed tackles led to two tries and a 17-5 edge to the Hawks. Despite witnessing how quickly missed tackles can spell disaster in 7s rugby, Bard did not quit. Eddie Dunn had a nice run which, combined with poor tackling from the SUNY side, resulted in a long try and 17-10 score with one play remaining. Bard needed to recover their own kickoff to have a chance for a tie. New Paltz recovered, however, and, while they inadvisably attacked instead of kicking to touch and ending the game, New Paltz held on for a hard-fought 17-10 victory.
Game 2: Bard College Men 7 vs. 20 Molloy College Men
Tries: Mitchell Watson (1)
Cons: John Michael Knoetgen (1)
At the end of the day, Molloy went undefeated in pool play and advanced to the quarterfinal round, but Bard did not make things easy for the Lions. After Molloy scored first, Sam Wilkins caught an early kickoff and offloaded in contact to Mitchell Watson for an equalizing try. The rest of the half was a back-and-forth basher. Perry Zhang had a few powerful runs, catching the ball at pace and showing significant improvement from the weekend before, which was only his first game action. One such run led to Bard drawing a penalty 25-meters out with less than a minute to go in the half. Unfortunately, Watson knocked on the pass from Knoetgen and the game remained 5-5 after 7 minutes.
The second half proved to be Bard’s undoing as, on the first play of the half, Molloy took the kick and a missed tackle led to a try. They kicked it off, recovered their own kick, and scored another try. They recovered another of their own kicks, were awarded a penalty, and put the icing on a 20-7 victory. All told, Molloy recovered 4 out of 5 of their own kicks; the only kick Bard received led to a lovely try!
Game 3: Bard College Men 0 vs. 24 Vassar College Men
The wind appeared to be out of Bard’s sails after the first half against Molloy. SUNY New Paltz and Molloy had already clinched advancements to the quarterfinal round, so the final game against Vassar was all for pride. With a host of fans cheering them on and their home turf to defend, Vassar had the advantage and played well. Frustration set in for Bard, as missed tackles led to conceded tries and the opponents once again recovered multiple of their own kickoffs. Give credit to Vassar as there were also multiple instances in which Bard took the ball into contact and the Brewers team-tackled, holding the ball up in mauls and creating turnovers. With the freshman duo of speedsters Tahm Siddiquie and Mitchell Watson banged up, Bard didn’t play with their typical backline which did not help matters. The hosts shut Bard out, something the Raptors won’t soon forget.
Despite the results, Bard did improve in defending the outside and made many more advantageous offloads than the previous weekend. The team focused on making team-tackles and going for poaches leading up to this weekend, but the next step is figuring out when a poach is not possible and setting the defensive line rather than getting stuck in rucks. Kickoffs still gave the Annandalians fits and their recovery rate needs to improve greatly if they hope to have success next weekend, back at the Vassar Farm.
Game 1: 1 Tuscany Foussard, 2 Barkin Cihanli, 3 Alexander Beatty, 4 Edward Dunn, 5 John Michael Knoetgen (C), 6 Mitchell Watson, 7 Tahmid Siddiquie Subs: Sam Wilkins, Perry Zhang
Game 2: 1 Alexander Beatty, 2 Barkin Cihanli, 3 Perry Zhang, 4 Edward Dunn, 5 John Michael Knoetgen (C), 6 Mitchell Watson, 7 Sam Wilkins, Subs: Tahmid Siddiquie, Tuscany Foussard
Game 3: 1 Alexander Beatty, 2 Barkin Cihanli, 3 Perry Zhang, 4 Edward Dunn, 5 John Michael Knoetgen(C), 6 Sam Wilkins, 7 Tuscany Foussard, Subs: Tahmid Siddiquie, Mitchell Watson