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Vassar College earned its first ever Tri-State 7s title with a tournament victory on its home turf in Poughkeepsie, NY Sunday. With the victory, the Brewers earned an automatic berth to USA Rugby’s 7s National Championship held on May 23rd and 24th.
12 schools descended on the campus of Vassar College to play in three groups of five teams. Originally slated to include all 15 Tri-State teams, the tournament saw three schools pull out late and the schedule shifted. In the end, three group winners and one wild card team advanced to the Cup playoffs.
The Brewers cruised through pool play with a 4-0 record. In the process, they knocked off Manhattanville, RPI and Siena. In the final game of pool play, both Sacred Heart and Vassar came in undefeated. Vassar downed Sacred Heart 19-14 and won the pool.
Molloy won Pool A and met the wild card, Suny New Paltz in the semifinals. The two time Tri-State 7s champions, Molloy, fell 15-14 to New Paltz. Seton Hall and Vassar won pool B and C,respectively, but Vassar ousted the New Jersey school en route to the finals.
The Brewers jumped out to a fast start with two tries from freshman Joe Simon. The winger boasts incredible speed and finishing prowess. On the day he netted 11 total tries including six in the Cup playoffs. The former Santa Monica youth accounted for nearly half of the team’s tries on the afternoon.
Erik Quinson extended the Vassar lead to 17-0. The 15-a-side flanker has strong ball skills and tremendous athleticism allowing him to transition to playing in the backs in 7s. He assisted on a number of tries and tackled incredibly well all afternoon. After Simon earned the hat trick, Vassar went into the break up 24-0.
New Paltz opened the scoring early in the second half but tenacious defense from Vassar kept them at bay. After the ensuing kickoff, Vassar won possession and milked the clock for several minutes. The Brewers conceded one more late try but the game ended 24-10.
Vassar displayed tremendous heart, according to coach Tony Brown. After the second game of the day, Vassar lost back rower and play maker, Geoff Matthes, to a back injury. Led by captain Nich Graham and senior leaders Jesse Myhill, Kenta Hasui and Alex Voynow, the team produced a great performance.
“I am massively proud of the effort,” said Vassar College coach Tony Brown. “The guys just stepped up and made contributions.”