The 2018-2019 LIRFC 15s season was a historic one, with the team posting a +500 point differential on their way to another undefeated regular season. LIRFC coasted through the regular season with a nation-leading average margin of victory of 84 points. Throughout the dominant season, the club was able to keep up their aggressive scoring pace with several different combinations of the starting 15 and substitutions. At times, Long Island seemed to play even harder after making substitutions at the half, and even their top opponents were exposed to the rampant scoring and tenacious defense that allowed less than 30 points on the year. Their unprecedented depth and electric offensive game plan allowed the team to make it all the way to the National Quarterfinals, where they lost a well-fought match to the formidable North Philidelphia Rugby Club. However, the team was able to close out the year with a redemption match, as they blew out a Savannah Rugby Club in the consolation game the very next morning.
The team was led by first year captain Greg Pando, who was just one of many forwards that showed off the Long Island pack’s ability to make line breaks on par with the backs, while still delivering forceful hits and dominant set pieces. Forwards Tom Harty, Miguel Silva, Dejon Taylor, and Brandon Eustace seemed to burst through defenses on long breaks throughout every game, while Dan Deland, Michael Hennesy, and Dominic Pizzuco solidified scrums and wore opponents down consistently. There was a huge returning effort from key veterans like Max Witowski, Lance Rea, Manny Syriotis, Matt Arena, and Nick Esposito. Meanwhile, newcomers including Mike Dotzier, Charlie Mignoli, and Ben Penili showed off the fresh talent that has arrived to balance this team out. The backline was led by a calm and collected Steve McGuire at flyhalf, with Anthony Russo playing another important pivot spot at outside center. Winger Alex Desouza was among the nations leading try scorers each week, and was complimented by an equally formidable Tyler Norris on the other side. They combined for over 40 tries, which highlighted not only their personal prowess, but also the ability of this backline to move the ball out to their dangerous edge players constantly. Nick Suzuki, Christian Morreale, and Matt Dem showed the club’s depth and versatility by starting at multiple positions and coming off the bench as finishers when necessary. On top of this first team, the LIRFC second side pushed the first team in practices, and for spots on the field throughout the season. Veterans Bradford Lawrence, Tray Belk, and Brandon Amberger led this side into battle and maintained their organization and success.
Even after such a successful season, LIRFC still knows it has so much to prove. We have already begun practicing for summer 7s, where they will be competing in the Premier Division, against some of the top clubs in the country. Next fall, our main side will be moving up to Division II, where they expect to remain a dominant force. The club will also be implementing a second team, which will replace our current Division III team, and expects to compete at the same high level.
Men's 2018-2019 Fall Results
8/25 - Monmouth D2 Friendly - Away: W: 39 - 0
9/8 - Union RFC - Away: W: 108-7
9/15 - Morris RFC - Away: W: 93-3
9/22 - Suffolk RFC - Home: W: 75-10
9/29 - N. Jersey RFC - Away: W: 82-0
10/13 - Suffolk RFC - Away: W: 59-0
10/20 - Morris - Away: W: 112-7
11/3 Union RFC: Home: W (forfeit): 20-0
11/10 N Jersey RFC: Home: W (forfeit): 20-0
EGU 15's League Playoffs 2019
3/30 Quarter-LIRFC vs Brooklyn - Home: W: 75-14
4/6 Semifinals vs Danbury RFC - Home: W: 64-5
4/13 EGU finals LIRFC vs Buffalo - Home: W: 89-0