Nationals, UPS & DOWNS

This weekend was the start of not just another round of playoffs for the Blackhawks, but also for the Brother Rice Crusaders for HIgh School Nationals, and Chicago North Shore Women.

Brother Rice was Crusading for their 10th National titles since the clubs creation in 2001. The Boys High School National Championship games were held in Elkhart, Indiana at the Moose Rugby Grounds. Brother Rice came out in their first game beating Penn-Zaga with a score of 47-10.  Their coach, David Fee posted this on Facebook

Playing into the wind, the Crusaders got on the board 1st when Scrumhalf Matt Brown darted in from behind the base of the ruck. Alex Borys was automatic with the conversion as he has been all year. 7-0 Rice Early.

Mishandling the ensuing Kick-off allowed Penn B to get right back on the board in now a 7-5 game.

Capt. #8 Luke Mueller put the team back on the front foot with some strong runs and was able to dot down for himself. Borys was good to make 14-5.

Nate Swanberg put the Crusaders up 19-5 before Mike "Chubbs" McGinley closed out the half and Borys nailed the conversion for a 26-5 lead at midway point.

Julian Davis would score to start the 2nd half, and again Borys was good 33-5 Rice.

Luke Mueller would then score his 2nd and 3rd tries of the afternoon in about 90 seconds, the latter some great individual effort after a kick and chase that he charged down himself and walked in under the posts. The two scores put the game out of reach at 47-5, before Penn would add a late try to make it 47-12.

As the weekend continued with the momentum of a win under their belt, the team went on, the Crusaders went on to play North Bay, for their Semi-Final games. They came from behind in this game. The score was 14-5 late in the 2nd half, with Brother Rice down. Turn overs, and breakthroughs lead to trys to bring the match to a close game, and hard tackles on the defense helped Brother Rice poach the ball and make a last minute score winning the game 17-14. In their Semi-Final  Rice will played Jesuit B Sacramento for the Tier II Championship. In what was a close game, and had people commenting on Facebook as heart breaking, Brother Rice lost at final whistle 13-12, in a game that according to Fee,

"Penalties ultimately did the Crusaders in, and a last second try with conversion made it 13-12 at final whistle."

Chicago North Shore as was in pursuit of getting closer to a National Title this weekend. North Shore traveled out to Pittsburgh. Sweet 16s this year was split up into two so that 8 teams played on different side of the country. The four teams at this venue were Philadelphia, Northern Virginia, Boston and North Shore. North Shore not only beat the teams they needed to play, but completely shut them out. Saturday's game against Northern Virginia was played later in the afternoon and they won with a score of 15-0!

Sunday's game against Boston, started off with a quick try and conversion . They posted a few game updates and pictures during the game. As anxiously awaiting to hear the our come of the game, while also anxiously watching the Blackhawks, the team posted

Still 22-0...about 8 minutes to go!

That was the final score of the game and Chicago North Shore Women are heading to Nationals AGAIN! The game will be in Madison, WI, to play the championship match on Saturday, May 31. They will be going up against Oregon Rugby Sports Union (ORSU) at 5pm. Since Madison is just a short drive from the city ( in fact not much longer than the daily commute for some people) there will be plenty of 'Old Girls' coming out to the games as well as an awesome chance for anyone who wants to see some top tier rugby to check out the game.

Aside from the Women's Club D1 games, the day's projected schedule will be:

Men's Division III Club Championship* May 31 10:00 AM Madison, WI
Women's Division II Club Championship * May 31 12:15 PM Madison, WI
Men's Division II Club Championship * May 31 2:30 PM Madison, WI
Women's Division I Club Championship* May 31 4:45 PM Madison, WI
Men's Division I Club Championship* May 31 7:00 PM Madison, WI

Definitely worth the ride up to Madison! Best of Luck at Nationals Ladies!

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