As the month of April rolls along, sports seasons all across the club spectrum are beginning to wrap up their competitive play. In the past two weeks, both the men’s rugby team the Wheaton’s mixed ultimate frisbee team have featured in their final tournaments of the season.
Most recently, this past Friday, April 19, the men’s rugby team played in their final tournament; a home event held on Nordin Field. The Lyons hosted Curry College, Babson College, and Bridgewater State University (BSU). Instead of the usual fifteen a side, the games consisted of seven against seven on the field, with half lengths of only seven minutes. The field size which has been reduced from the standard size, being roughly equal to a football field, to a smaller portion to accommodate the lesser numbers.
The Lyons began the game with an unmotivated start, and the lack of determination and energy saw Curry College blast through their defenses repeatedly. Unable to put up any points, the Lyons were battered back, until the whistle blew to end the 17-0 rout. Despite the lackluster start, the Lyons were able to bounce back. Fired up with post-game speech, the Wheaton Lyons went on to defeat Babson college handily.
“Usually [rugby] has a kinda laid back mentality,” explained Finn McConomy ‘22, who scored a try on Friday. “Most people are just there to be a part of the group. But we actually played hard after the first game and really stepped up. It was nice to see that we could actually play that well.” The Lyons improved play continued after the victory over Babson, when they took on BSU, a team that had beaten them 30-0 in a past tournament. The Lyons fought for every inch in the first half, only letting five points slip through by the end of the half. However, with increased substitutions coming in and off the field, the Lyons began falling behind and ultimately lost the game 15-0, wrapping up the three-game event.
Just under a week prior to the rugby event, Wheaton Ultimate traveled to Wellesley College for their Sectionals Tournament, a tournament that determines which teams advance to Regionals, and then finally Nationals. The Lyons traveled with a small group of eleven players early on a wet Saturday morning to the playing grounds. During the last round, they were forced to play four consecutive games to 13 points. Most of the opposing teams had nearly tripled their roster.
Wheaton Ultimate played their first game against Wentworth Institute of Technology, but they were unable to get much movement going and fell short, 4-13. Next, the Lyons took on Stonehill College, in what would the closest game of the day. The Lyons battled back from an early deficit as the sun began to break through the clouds, bringing the game back within a point. Before the Lyons could take the lead, Stonehill scored one last point as time ran out, ending the game 7-9.
In the second half of the tournament, the Lyons played Brandeis and Bentley College, the one and two seeds of the tournament. Coming in off of a hard-fought defeat with no break, the Lyons soon began to feel their lack of fresh legs, and fell to both teams, 4-13. Despite the losses, Wheaton Ultimate’s small crew gave a strong showing, putting four points up against teams that will likely play at Nationals.
Although the Lyons may play in one final tournament at Hampshire College, the end of Sectionals marks the end their competitive play for the 2017-2018 year.