The WRFC brought power, skill, and quickness to the opening match of the spring season, and Trinity, well; they had new uniforms and shiny warm-ups. The outcome was predictable, with Williams rolling to a 27-12 victory on a windy Saturday on Cole Field. The off-season additions of Nick Weiss ’00 and Fyfe Hall ’01 added much-needed size to the WRFC scrum, now a more powerful unit capable of controlling the ball for the speedy Williams’ backline.
From the opening kickoff, the Williams two-pronged attack dictated tempo, with WRFC scrum runners gaining ground-winning rucks for the backs, who ate up yardage with their superior speed and technique.
Scoring opened in what has become typical Williams fashion, a speed burst on the outside by Chido Alozie ’01. Ryan Kurlinski ’01 converted the points-after, and the score stood at 7-0 barely five minutes in. Williams wasted no time, as the scrum again produced good ball for the backs and Kurlinski worked the field effectively, freeing Alozie for another long run down the sideline.
This time, however, a Trinity defender was able to make a lucky defensive play inside the tryzone, knocking the ball from Alozie before it could be placed down for the points.
Trinity was unable to work its way clear of its own end, however, as forceful defense from center John Crowley-Delman ’01 and Matt Bryson ’99 forced them back. The WRFC would get points for the effort, as Kurlinski converted a penalty kick to increase the lead to 10-0. Williams showed impressive desire and aggression, and the scrum continued to punish the Trinity pack in rucks and runs. Hall and Todd Stiefler ’00 helped the WRFC pack dominate possession, and Joe Seavey ’01 drove the ball forward with several powerful runs.
Constantly threatening, the White Dawgs drove near the try-line with impressive running by centers Crowley-Delman and captain Keil Mueller ’99. The WRFC was thwarted again when a brilliant weak-side try from Ian Lewis ’01 to Bryson was disallowed for a phantom forward pass. Bad luck continued to plague Williams, as Lewis was forced to leave the game due to a nasty cleat cut on his hand, and fullback Forrest Wittenmeier ’02 was also lost in a freak collision while fielding a kick.
Showing significant poise and teamwork, the WRFC did not falter, and the work finally paid off in brilliant fashion. A pop-kick sent two Trinity defenders racing backwards, but Alozie’s speed allowed him to reach the ball first. Scooping it up, he dodged one defender and then, in a move which typified the united WRFC effort, he drew the other defender and flipped the ball behind his head to a streaking Paul Bethe ’00, who walked in for the try unmolested. The conversion made the score 17-0. Not to be outdone, the scrum put an exclamation point on its dominance as Joe Sensenbrenner ’00 scored when the pack bulled its way in from a line-out ten meters out as Trinity watched helplessly.
Halftime found the White Dawgs comfortably ahead 22-0. The second half began just as aggressively, as Williams quickly put the game out of reach. A brilliant series of scrum runs and rucks allowed Williams to maintain possession and march into Trinity territory. Being pounded back and thoroughly confused, Trinity committed a penalty at their own 40-meter line. Bethe, sensing the confusion, immediately swung the ball wide to the backs, who proficiently turned it into a try for Alozie on the wing.
Up 27-0, the WRFC suffered a slight letdown, and Trinity was able to capitalize and move into Williams territory. Despite momentum and a series of penalties, the Williams defense held fast, and Trinity continually came up empty within sight of the tryline. Vicious hits by Bryson, Kenny Marines ’01, captain John Pickard ’99, and Steve Taylor ’01 helped keep Trinity at bay. By the time they were finally able to score, the game was nearly done. The referee was apparently in a magnanimous mood, awarding Trinity a penalty try in the closing minutes to make the score interesting.
However, Williams regained possession and Kurlinski was able to clear the ball in the final seconds, ending the last Trinity threat. The final score was 27-12, a solid performance by Williams. Next week, the White Dawgs have an important test at home versus Middlebury.