It was a season of streaks for both the Division One and Division Three squads this fall. Both teams won their first two games, experienced a midseason funk (two-game skid for D3, three-game for D1) before finishing the fall strong with two straight wins, respectively.
The D1 side heads into the break with a firm hold on the fourth and final seed in the MAC playoffs. With Norfolk and Schuylkill River experiencing late-season slides themselves, Potomac is just a game out of the 2nd seed with rematches against SR and Norfolk giving them a chance to even the score in the Spring.
With numerous offseason departures followed by early-season injuries, the team found itself constantly shuffling players and struggled to find an identity at times on Saturdays. The Exiles came together at the end for two strong team wins against Baltimore and Raleigh. Late-season additions and call-ups from D3 helped offset the offseason departures, and the team looks strong heading into the spring.
The team came together with a mix of rookies in their first ever rugby seasons and guys with 20+ years of experience to forge a 4-2 record. The Exiles are currently in 5th place in the standings, just outside of the playoffs, but all teams in front of them have either played one or two more games to get the extra points. If D3 takes care of business, they too will be in the playoffs come late spring.
The youth on the team gives plenty of hope for both the D1 and D3’s future. Players that stood out include Rob Black who went from rookie lock to starting 13 by the end of his first year, Dom Smith who was a rock in the scrums and surprisingly nimble in the loose and Jake Sprang and Zolen Rodriguez, who ended up starting on D1 by the end of the year.
Fitness was an issue for both the D1 and D3 squads. All players need to step up and hold themselves accountable to come back in better shape for the Spring as we head toward our playoff runs. That being said, keep a lookout for team workouts to be held at Balance Gym.
Also, look for feedback on your performance from senior players. The idea here is to tell you what you did well, as well as point out areas in your game that could use some work. The intent is to make you all better players, and in turn make us a better team.
March 3-6 is the annual Las Vegas Invitational. We don’t have anything scheduled that weekend and would like to get a head start on getting the 7s program back up to standard. If you’re interested, please reach out to a club officer. Players will be expected to pay their own way. Flights are fairly cheap, if I bought today it would only cost me about $200 roundtrip.
If you haven’t seen already, we will be hosting a holiday party at The Barking Dog in Bethesda on Saturday, December 5th, from 7-10PM. A $30 cover will provide all you can drink. Snacks will also be provided.