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PAC, the Maryland Exiles, and the Pittsburgh Harlequins are all 2-0 after the first two weeks of play in the Mid-Atlantic.
Norfolk rebounded from their opening week loss to shut out Raleigh and move to 1-1 and, with two bonus points from their previous week’s loss, they are a close 4th place.
PAC ran in 60 in beating Baltimore-Chesapeake 60-27 and look to be picking up where they left off last week.
Pittsburgh is certainly improved, and looked impressive in beating previously 1-0 NOVA (they were the ones who beat Norfolk) 50-17.
“I was excited to see the many improvements regarding our fitness and conditioning levels,” said Pittsburgh Head Coach Kaili Finau. “Again, today the team proved that their hard work pays off. I saw unity as they worked together towards our goal - moving up to the next level.”
Finau obviously wants his team to believe in themselves and ask more of themselves. He is also looking to remind the players how it all comes together. He had his players line up in front of the club alumni and the fans and bow, thanking them for their support.
“That was a proud moment,” said Finau, who, as well as crediting the Pittsburgh Harlequins Rugby Football Association, which runs the overall program, also is enthusiastic about how his players and coaches have responded with new goals. “I am thankful for the dedication and hard work of my experienced coaching staff and our team's commitment to unity. Today they have optimize their fitness along with executing our game plans.”
It may be a new day then for Pittsburgh, but it’s all about revisiting yesterday for the Maryland Exiles. The Exiles ended their 2011-2012 league season with a victory over PAC, a team that ended up winning the league at 8-1.
Maryland also beat the #2 team in the league last year, Norfolk.
“We are looking at those games as our measuring stick for this year,” said
club president Mike Bonistalli, who is also painfully aware that three of
their four wins last year were against teams with a combined 20-7 record
(the other was against winless Washington), while their five losses were
against teams with 21-24 records.
Consistency, then, is the key.
“We’re happy with the start,” said Bonistalli. “I think we have a lot of young promising players, and we’re putting up points that last season we wouldn’t have scored. But there are also facets of our game we need to work on – missed opportunities, tackling, and passing; the basics. But we’re trying to build on what we’ve done right.”
Wings Sean Gormley and Aki Raymond have both figured heavily in the scoring, while fullback Kevin Bishop has been kicking well, something they have needed.
Center Pablo Martinez has, like Raymond, built on a solid 7s summer and picked up his game.
Up front, Maryland has a good core of athletes who have been playing together well.
“We’ve done well in the scrums and the mauls, and the lineout is coming along,” said Bonistalli, who is also a lock/flanker for the team, and thus his muted assessment of the pack. “What we were really happy about was that on Saturday we were missing four or five guys who are regular A-side players, and we had the depth to play well anyway.”
PAC remains the team with the most impressive start, but right on their heels are two clubs looking to change things. And don’t forget Norfolk.
Norfolk 50-0 Raleigh
PAC 60-27 Baltimore-Chesapeake
Maryland 44-25 Media
Pittsburgh Harlequins 50-17 NOVA
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