Men’s Rugby advances to playoffs for first time in four seasons

Colby Men’s Rugby had an important test last week in a defining game against neighboring Bates College that determined which team made the playoffs. Bates fought an uphill battle, needing to win by at least nine points and score four tries in order to advance. With a win Colby would finish first in the league, but a 3-0 loss sent them to the playoffs.

It was a cold and windy evening as the team traveled to Lewiston for a classic rivalry match. Will Levesque ’18 noted the impact the conditions had on the quality of play and remarked that mistakes happened frequently on both sides. Throughout the game, Colby dominated rucks. Ben Shapiro ’20 came up big on defense, winning rucks repeatedly. Colby also dominated in the scrum. This momentum gave them several scoring opportunities, but they were ultimately unable to convert. The game remained scoreless following a late game near miss on a penalty kick from co-captain Jack Sears ’17 in the second half. With just seconds to go, Bates scored on a penalty kick making the final score 3-0. Both teams suffered from injuries throughout the game, with Colby center Lucas Graham ’19 and eight-man Eric Alimanestianu ’19 exiting the game.

Despite the outcome of the game, Colby will advance to the playoffs and take on Tufts University in Willimantic, Connecticut next weekend. The final game certainly did not reflect the season as a whole. Colby finished with a 4-1-1 record overall, with a tie against University of Maine – Farmington earlier in the season and the sole loss to Bates last week. Ultimately, Colby finished second in the league just behind University of Maine – Orono. Colby upperclassmen reflected on the high quality of play that was consistently present throughout the season and how the Mules were able to successfully integrate freshmen into their team. New players stepped up all over the field this fall, with many first-years scoring their first tries with the team and learning the ins-and-outs of the game.

Colby Men’s Rugby has seen great advances in quality of play in the last few years; improving from a 2-4-0 record in 2014. Next weekend’s game will be an important opportunity for the Mules as they try to extend their season deeper into November. They will look to build on the results of the fall season next spring.