Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass men’s rugby wins first game

Junior Todd Theodat led the Massachusetts men’s rugby team to victory this Saturday, earning a hat trick in the team’s 30-17 win over Albany.

This was an important game for the previously winless Minutemen (1-2), who were not content with their performance in the season’s first two games.

Thomas Thekaekara/Daily Collegian

“After that 0-2 start everybody’s chomping at the bit for this team,” assistant coach Anthony Neverson said.

UMass started strong, with Matt Phaneuf scoring a try in the fourth minute after recovering an Albany drop. The Great Danes answered within the minute with a try of their own. In the seventh minute, the Minutemen put three more points on the board, making the score 8-5, off a drop goal by Dean Nemeroff.

UMass never gave up its lead from there. Albany suffered from numerous knock ons and penalties. Though the Great Danes had a strong scrum, they could not compete with the Minutemen’s lineout and the reach of Thomas Thekaekara.

Theodat scored his first try in the 21st minute, giving UMass a 13-5 lead.

An Albany try just before halftime put the score at 13-10, and put pressure on the Minutemen to step up their game.

“They need to start tackling on defense,” UMass coach Phil Ciccarelli said. “We can’t let their forwards break through us like that.”

Another try from Theodat and a try and a conversion by the Great Danes put the score at 18-17 early in the second half. Albany had a chance to take the lead in the 60th minute, having advanced the ball nearly to the UMass try line. But the Minutemen punted the ball out of their end zone, ending the threat.

A try from back Alphonsus Preza with a conversion from Numeroff and a third try from Theodat clinched the victory for UMass.

“I’m feeling good, really tired but I was just connecting,” Theodat, who scored half of the team’s 30 total points, said after the game. “I saw the holes and I hit them.”

Theodat and the other forwards handled crash balls well, creating momentum and punching through the Great Danes’ defense.

There was clear improvement from the Minutemen this week.

“For the past two weeks, we kept losing the ball a lot,” Ciccarelli said.

The results of the week’s practices were apparent. UMass was not hindered by dropped balls or knock ons.

“We went through a hard week of practice, we settled it all down, we kept it controlled and you can see the results,” Theodat said.

UMass captain Zachary Carl attributed the Minutemen’s win to a hard week of planning for the Great Danes. “We focused on our game plan,” he said. Ciccarelli said the team’s change in strategy included going “back to our original scheme where we keep it tight, keep it in our forward pods and ensure support.”

“Next week we’re going to do the same thing,” Ciccarelli added.

The Minutemen play American International College in Springfield next Saturday.

Jackson Goddard can be reached at [email protected].


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