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Maryland moved to 3-0 in the ACRL with a 15-5 victory over Virginia Tech Saturday in Blacksburg, Va. After two impressive victories earlier in the season, the Terps used a strong first 20 minutes to outlast the Hokies.
Maryland was forced to shake up its potent lineup because freshman flyhalf Ben Cima will be away from the team for several weeks as he participates in the Americas Rugby Championship. His brother, Matias, who had made the adjustment to outside center, returned to flyhalf for the game this past weekend.
Maryland jumped out to a 10-0 lead before Virginia Tech cut the deficit in half with a try of its own. “We started strong and seemed to dominate the first 16 minutes or so, then after that we spent most of the time defending our half of the field,” Maryland coach Steve Laake said.
Other than a try at the end of the half, the second half was very stagnant. “We were a little too confident in the second half and there just wasn’t a sense of urgency to finish off some movements,” Laake added. “Virginia Tech, to give them credit, put us under pressure at times, but we tended to control things.”
Laake believes Maryland will need to be more clinical in getting the ball to the unmarked player. Additionally, the Terps will have to improve in the tackle contest area as they start to play more quality opponents.
Virginia Tech may prove to be a nice segue for the Terps, as they face a couple of tough out-of-conference opponents in Kutztown and Navy, as well as conference foe Clemson.
“Three top-20 programs in the next five weeks is certainly going to test us. We expect Kutztown and Navy to be quite physical. We have not played anybody that will be nearly as physical as either of those two squads,” Laake emphasized. “The hope is that those games will prepare us for what we think will be the conference title against Clemson.”
Clemson, who handily defeated North Carolina State 70-5 this weekend, also moved to 3-0 in league play. The teams will meet at a neutral site on Nov. 8 at the home of the Charlotte Rugby Club.