The path to the final has seen the team from Long Beach go undefeated in the regular season and progress through the play-offs to reach another finals weekend.
Watch Belmont Shore live on the USA Rugby Ustream.TV
In an interview with RugbyMag.com ahead of the game Head Coach Ray Egan described what he would be looking for from Belmont Shore if they were to progress.
“Our big focus is maximizing our opportunities,” Egan said. “We need to earn our position in the final, and to do that we need to get back to basics, and be accurate in those basics. We have done a lot of work in the last three weeks, and we are healthy and as good as we can be. What I was really pleased about in that game with Kansas City, was that we controlled the last three or four minutes really well. That was the sort of rugby we needed to play. For the young players we have, that was good.”
Highlights of the match between Belmont Shore and Kansas City Blues in the last play-off.
In the article “New Look, new focus for Belmont Shore” Alex Goff noted the change in direction for the club.
One of the interesting aspects of the young Belmont Shore players is their background. Shore has long been known for bringing in talent from overseas, especially at key skill positions (look at the players with #9 or #10 on their backs on most club and college championship teams, and you will usually find a guy born outside the USA).
But this is a different Belmont Shore. Scrumhalf Andrew Mase is a product of Edina HS in Minnesota and played at Cal. Flyhalf Kameron Moeller is a product of the Fullerton rugby system and the Santa Barbara Rugby Academy. At hooker they have 2011 All American Zach Fenoglio and Long Beach youngster Mike Teo (who recently featured in the U20s 2-0 series victory over Canada as did Pasefika Iosia), while another All American, Jacob Grubbs from Arkansas State, and Montana product Brice Schilling complete the front row.
This team has suddenly become a hotbed for young American-born players to excel, and look at that, they’re in the national semis.
Belmont Shore rugby games for Championship weekend
4:30pm Belmont Shore v Metropolis
6:30pm Palmer v Glendale
2:30pm Plamer v Metropolis
4:00pm Belmont Shore v Glendale
Watch Belmont Shore live on the USA Rugby Ustream.TV
Friday June 1st – the Belmont Shore team arrive in Denver
Saturday 2nd June – Match 1 – Belmont Shore v Metropolis
Game preview from USA Rugby
Defending DI National Champions Glendale RFC will look to their hometown crowd to provide strong support in their quest to repeat as champions. Glendale is stacked with talent, but will miss the services of their captain, US Eagle Nic Johnson who is out with a head injury. National team pool player Ata Malifa will also be out of action having just undergone surgery.
The Glendale Raptors will have to get past a strong Palmer College side who is making it known that they are not just there to make up the numbers. Palmer avenged a regular season loss to the Chicago Lions in the semi finals, and will be looking to keep their up-tempo attack going to keep the Raptors under pressure. Glendale and Palmer kick off at 6:30pm MDT, and the match will be webcast LIVE on USA Rugby’s ustream channel, and re-broadcast on the channels below.
In the other side of the D1 bracket, perennial powerhouse Belmont Shore will face a resurgent Metropolis side out of Minneapolis. Belmont Shore brings a nice balance of youth and experience, relying on stalwarts like Peter Sio and Brice Schilling to lead a group of talented young players.
Metropolis’ path to the semi finals was not the cleanest, having lost three times in the regular season, but have started to gel in the post season, and a trip to the semis is the fruit of that labor. Playmaker Louis Joubert leads a potent attack that will look to test the Belmont defense. The Metropolis/Belmont match will also stream LIVE at 4:30 MDT and on tape delay as well.
USA Rugby Match report: Belmont Shore v Metropolis
Perennial contenders Belmont Shore had their way with a hard tackling Metropolis side. The game seemed closer than the score would suggest, but Belmont slipped tackles for tries, and Kameron Moeller was spot on with his kicking.
In the first half, Ian Carpenter pounded in for a great try to put Shore up 8-0. Metropolis got on the board next with a Louis Joubert penalty. It would be the last time they would see the scoreboard in the match. Joubert would have ample shots at goal, but could only connect on the one.
Pate Uiagalelei, the big Belmont Shore #11 with serious pace, ran in two tries in a two-minute time span to give Belmont breathing room headed into halftime. After the break, it was all Belmont Shore with reserve Hayden Pitts finishing a well supported try, and #2 Zack Fenoglio breaking tackles and rumbling 40 meters for an excellent individual effort.
Result: Belmont Shore 37-3 Metropolis
USA Rugby Match report: Glendale v Palmer
Belmont Shore will have to be at their hands full tomorrow in the Championship Match where they will face a hometown Glendale side that looked extremely dangerous in their Semi Final against a strong Palmer side.
Palmer was solid in defense all day, but the tactical kicking and creativity of Nese Malifa and James Patterson would be the deciding factor.
Patterson would get on the board first after gathering in a superb grubber kick from Malifa in traffic and outpacing all defenders along the touchline to turn the corner and score under the posts. The kick would miss, but Glendale was out to an 8-0 lead after 10 minutes.
More fireworks would fly for Glendale in the 59th minute when Scrumhalf Daryl Furlong picked the ball at the base of a ruck, gave the defender the ‘ol show ‘n go, and raced 50 meters for the try. On the ensuing kickoff, Malifa changed direction of his kick at the last second, placed it right in the hands of Max Statler who was in full stride and kept the pace all the way to the try-line. Two tries in the span of two minutes for Glendale, and that would seal the deal for the Raptors.
Palmer would get a well-earned try when #10 Chad London finished a strong run. London was a force to be reconed with all day for Palmer and was one of the few attackers who could find their way past the Glendale defense. It was too little too late however, as Glendale would finish with the 34-10 win.
Result: Glendale 34-10 Palmer
Sunday 3rd June – The Final
4:00pm Belmont Shore v Glendale
RugbyMag.com Match report:
From the start, Belmont Shore were here to win a championship and Glendale were here to defend their 2011 title – one team with everything to play for and the other with everything to lose. In the end, all Belmont Shore needed to win was 36 points, while Glendale struggled to get to double figures on the scoreboard with only 11 points, and Belmont Shore took the 2012 DI club title home to California.
Belmont Shore got down to business straight away in the first two minutes. Center, Peter Sio, charged down the touchline to score in the right corner and fly half, Kameron Moeller’s kick was true giving Belmont the early lead, 7-0.
While Glendale were still reeling from the early Belmont Shore onslaught, Belmont were already lining up for another try which saw flanker Edward McKenna receive the ball after a series of well worked phases and crash over the goal line for another 5 points. Moeller slotted the conversion between the posts for another 2 points to make the score 14-0.
Sio’s affair with the right corner continued in the twentieth minute when he once again received quick ball and at pace, touched down for his second try of the game. Moeller converted and the scoreboard climbed to 21-0.
A well placed up and under by Glendale’s fly half, Nese Malifa in the 29th minute saw wing, Max Statler in a race for the ball with two of Belmont’s defenders. Statler’s speed and a perfect bounce of the ball enabled Statler to score and put Glendale on the board. The conversion kick by center, Tyler Siegel was unsuccessful and the score was 21-5. The half time score was 21-5.
Once again it was Belmont Shore who got the scoring under way in the early minutes of the second half when Moeller converted a penalty from Glendale diving over the ruck. Belmont’s score climbed to 24-5. A high tackle by Belmont Shore in the 44thminute gave Glendale’s Siegel the opportunity to put 3 points on the board for the home team, 24-8.
Another high tackle, this time by Belmont’s 8th man Peter Dahl on Glendale’s wing, Max Statler, saw another 3 points for Glendale by Siegel with a successful penalty kick. The score at this point was 24-11.
At the 53 minute mark, Belmont Shore’s Peter Sio, receiving the ball off a long run by Dahl, once again focused on the right hand corner flag and went over the try line for his hat trick . Moeller’s conversion was unsuccessful. Belmont led, 29-11.
Weather had started to creep in just before the halfway mark and players were called off the field in the 54th minute due to lightening in the area. However half an hour later, play resumed and the delay in play had no effect on Belmont’s momentum as hooker, Zach Fenoglio, broke through the Glendale defense in the 61st minute to score. Moeller’s conversion attempt went wide for a score of 34-11.
From there, Belmont Shore just played possession game and tight defense to make sure Glendale didn’t add anymore points. The clock ran its time and the final read 34-11 for Belmont Shore, bringing the trophy to Long Beach, California.
“It feels really great and having all that hard work pay off here is an incredible feeling,” captain Ian Carpenter said. “We knew we had to start quick against a great team like Glendale and we did. To look back on everything, a big part of this season was our depth. Having confidence coming off the bench is key in this game.”
For the coaches, it was all about the game plan and execution. “We did really well in the first 20 minutes, set pieces and possessions seemed to work really well,” Belmont coach Ray Eagen said. “We got lucky on Glendale’s possessions because they were going for the jugular and we got a few breaks. Overall though, this was a great win for this club and the guys, it feels pretty special.”
Result: Belmont Shore 34-11 Glendale
USA Rugby Press Release: Belmont Shore Power Way to DI Club Championship
GLENDALE, Colo. – For many years, Belmont Short has been synonymous with Championships in both sevens and fifteens. The storied club is back to their winning ways in fifteens after claiming the 2012 Emirates Airline USA Rugby Men’s DI Club Championship.
Belmont claimed the DI championship after dismantling a potent Glendale Raptors outfit in front of their home crowd 34-11. Right from the get-go, Belmont Shore made it clear they were going to be running down hill all day.
Just two minutes into the game, Glendale’s Nese Malifa attempted a routine clearance from just inside his 22-meter line, but the Belmont defense was swift getting up and the kick was charged down and collected by eventual MVP Ed McKenna. From the turnover, Belmont would attack quickly out wide when Peter Sio broke two tackles, turned the corner on the defense and raced down the touchline for a 30 meter try.
McKenna would bolster his MVP stock just five minutes later when Peter Sio made another crafty line break then offloaded to supporters Tony Fratangelo and USA U-20 standout Mike Teo, before Teo was drug to deck 20 meters out. McKenna lined up at first receiver and plowed through three missed tackles to dot down. Belmont Shore lead 14-0 not 10 minutes in.
Glendale would start to gather some momentum, and looked dangerous at times, but things just weren’t going their way. In the 18th minute, Flyhalf Nese Malifa made a beautiful territorial kick from behind his own 22 that would find touch about one meter off the Belmont Shore try line. However, in call that shattered Glendale’s momentum, Referee Aruna Ranaweera penalized the Raptors for being offside at the kick, and play would come all the way back.
Belmont Shore went back on the attack through the astute field marshaling of promising young flyhalf Kameron Moeller, a product of the Santa Barbra Academy. Moeller laid down a grubber kick that bounced right off the hands of Glendale’s Dewon Reed and into the hands of Peter Sio who pinned his ears back for another long range try. Belmont Shore all of a sudden found themselves up 21-0 after 22 minutes.
Glendale wasn’t done attacking though. Dewon Reed (who had a quiet game following last year’s MVP performance) received the ball on the wing around mid-field and popped up a kick that speedster Max Statler gathered off the bounce and outpaced the likes of Sio and Luteru Patu for an excellent Raptors try.
The try of the day however, would come up just after halftime when Belmont Shore stalwart Tony Fratangelo broke a tackle around mid-field and carved up the defense before being drug down. Former Collegiate All-American Zach Fenoglio received the pass out of the back of the ruck and charged up field. Fenoglio dished to Pete Dahl who pointed his nose toward the tryline, but was taken into contact in the corner of the pitch about 3 meters out, and about 2 meters from the touchline. The omnipresent Peter Sio recognized the space outside, and Dahl unloaded the sweetest little no-look, behind-the-back, wrist-flick of a pass while in contact for Sio to gather and dive in for another Belmont try. Creative stuff from Dahl, and beautiful support play from Sio, and Belmont now led 29-11.
The hits would keep coming for both teams. It was as physical as you’d ever hope to see out of a DI Championship match. Early in the second half, the players got an extra break too when the unpredictable Colorado weather came into play and the match was suspended for about 30 minutes due to lightning.
The final try of the match came around the 40 minute mark when Pate Uiagaleilelei make a bruising line break and rumbled 50 meters deep into Glendale territory. A well-organized rolling maul was formed by BelmontShore, and Zach Fenoglio finished the effort by diving over for the try. 34-11 Belmont, eventually the final score of the match.
Belmont Shore’s Ed McKenna took home the MVP honors, but there were several standouts for Belmont Shore, including some very young and upcoming talent that showed well. USA U-20 hooker (playing wing for Belmont) Mike Teo was skillful and hard, and 21 year-old Kameron Moeller was smart and aggressive at flyhalf all day. Belmont Club President James Walker said the influx of youth in their program is not by accident. “We’re making a conscience effort to find and develop Southern Californian and American talent.” It’s a move that seems to be paying dividends.
Belmont Shore 34
Tries: Sio (3), McKenna, Fenoglio
Cons: Moeller (3)
Pens: Siegel (2)
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Match Day Rosters:
Gavin Hickie, USA Rugby U20s Forwards Coach, is a former Ireland, Leinster and Leicester rugby player now based in California and taking rugby to the USA. He writes for RugbyMag.com and other publications when not coaching for Belmont Shore and blogging on lineoutcoach.com #busy