By the grace of the Rugby Gods, we were granted the best weather of the year as Morris played their first playoff match of 2018 this past Saturday, April 14th. The Empire GU Quarter Final tilt was a match-up of eighth seeded Syracuse Chargers and the top seed of the conference Morris. It took Morris a little time to get their handling and chemistry synced with each other, but they were first on the board with a penalty kick from Flyhalf Blaze Feury. Shortly thereafter, the men built momentum on sound phase play stretching the defense the full width of the field and two tries were scored by 8-man Cap Huizenga. Throughout the first half Morris’ defense was suffocating regularly pushing the Chargers back well behind the gain line. By the time the first half closed, Morris pushed over a few more tries to take a 31-0 lead.
The start of the second half saw a few substitutions for Morris as they looked to get some fresh legs on the pitch and to build on their strong first half. Syracuse was first to the punch and drove in the first points of the second half; however, Morris had a quick response with a try from Sean Herbert just three minutes later. As the game got into the final twenty minutes there was much more open play resulting in the two sides trading tries including the first D2 try for Ryan Mariani. Despite the late efforts of Syracuse, Morris proved to be too much as outpaced their foe 46-21 to advance to the Empire GU Semi Finals.
Thank you everyone who came out to support the club, we hope to see you Saturday, April 21st as the Empire GU Semi Finals will pit Morris against fourth seeded NYRC who defeated Princeton 66-10 this weekend. This will be a familiar match of sorts as these teams battled it out in the 2017 Empire GU Semi Finals with Morris coming away with a 35-15 win.
Men of the Match:
Forward: Howard Chen
Back: Ned Marini