Men’s Rugby Kicks Off Season With Wins

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Ben Manoukian

Men's Rugby Team

By EMILY BUSTARD

The men of the Middlebury College Rugby Club (MCRC) kicked off their season last Saturday, Sept. 19, with a pair of victories over Saint Michael’s College. Middlebury’s A-side team held the Purple Knights to a 46–0 shutout, while the B-side fought for a 10–7 triumph in their shortened 15s nail-biter.

Alex Hogenhuis ’19 led the charge for the Panthers when he scored the first try of the A-side game. A few minutes later, Lukas Ceseña ’19 caught a kick by co-captain Cooper Babbitt ’18.5 that he was able to run in for a try.

“We essentially scored early and often, so by halftime [Saint Michael’s] was pretty tired,” co-captain Ben Manoukian ’18.5 said of the A-side game. “We were able to exploit their defense and maintain possession for a lot of the game.”

Collaborating on a run, Kwame Mukasa ’19 and Munya Munyati ’20 got the ball off to Michael Hayes ’20, who was able to score in his first A-side start.

Amani Core ’18 soon found success on a dynamic line break, which he passed to Trevor Hopkins ’20 for yet another try, which Munyati followed with a two-point conversion.

A few plays later, the ball made its way out of the scrum, to Mukasa who touched it down in the try zone. Munyati finished the play with another conversion.

Next, Hopkins turned the corner for another “cheeky” in his first A-side start.

Manoukian had a big try in the corner after a big line break by Mukasa, who also rounded out the score to 46–0 with his second try of the game.

As a newcomer to the Rugby Northeast conference, MCRC sees this season as an opportunity to improve its 12th place position in the Division II national rankings.

“This year our goal is to focus on each play and each game as it comes, [to] take things piece by piece and work towards our goal of making it far into the playoffs,” Manoukian ’18.5 said.

On Saturday, Sept. 23, Middlebury will travel to Rhode Island to play Providence College.