The historic, undefeated season finally came to an end for New Paltz Rugby Football Club (NPRFC).
In the Region 1 semifinals of the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) playoffs on Saturday, Nov. 19, NPRFC fell to the University of Maine-Orono by a score of 89-7. Fourth-year fly half Tim Stanson scored the Hawks’ lone try. The University of Maine-Orono finished last season with a national ranking of 30th place.
Ankle injuries plagued the Hawks early on, with both fourth-year inside center Kevin Menyhart and third-year scrum-half Peter Randazzo being forced to leave the game. Stanson said that while the team felt “bummed and disappointed with the results,” they remained resilient and fought back from injuries.
“Our team continued to show fight after losing two very key players,” Stanson said. “Some of us cried after the first game, but we definitely had a more relaxed attitude entering the second game.”
On Sunday, Nov. 20, the Hawks lost to SUNY Plattsburgh by a score of 46-31. With the loss, the Hawks finished the season in fourth place in the NSCRO playoffs. Though the fall season is over, Stanson said that the team would be participating in rugby sevens tournaments throughout the spring.
NPRFC head coach James Fryer ‘16 praised the team’s overall effort during the season, remarking that it was the first time since 2011 that NPRFC traveled out of state on a “school-funded, overnight trip.” Fryer said that the toughest part will be defending their championship title against their divisional competition, including their cross-Hudson rivals Vassar College.
“We stepped out of our little, Tri-state pond into the big waters of NSCRO rugby,” Fryer said. “The season ended exactly how I pictured it, finally losing to a fantastic rugby club. We suffered injuries, had to play with a very different lineup, but I’d say we played our system well and stayed competitive over the weekend. We had a blast all together, that’s what it’s all about.”