Over the course of the 2012 fall season, the Washington Furies’ developmental B-side has seen tremendous growth- a promising sign for the future of the Furies.
Building Towards Division 2
Last year, the team set the goal of developing the second side to be competitive in the Division 2 bracket. Going into the fall season, the team decided to aim for a 2013 start for the competitive B-side, using the current season to build in numbers and talent. The high number of aggressive new players have made this goal even more attainable, and one that the team will continue to work towards with the anticipation of a 2013 start.
A key element to having a successful competitive B-side is to have a large team roster. This fall season saw an explosion of rookies on the Furies. Coming from from as near as the District and as far as California, Canada, and the UK, the Furies’ pride grew through an expanding number of new players. Many rookies sought out the Furies as a way to get their rugby fix after whetting their appetites at the collegiate level. Several others showed up to practice eager to try rugby for the first time. These ruggers, new and old, embraced the Furies’s obsessions – lightning bolts, blue and gold, “Delta Dawn”. In response to the consistently high turnout, Match Secretary Darcy Miller added games to the match schedule, providing all with the chance to step on the pitch in blue and gold each weekend. With a total of 12 matches, the B-side finished the season with 214 points given and a whopping 354 earned!
An Overview of the Season
The fall season for the Furies’ B-Side started off with consecutive losses, but turned around in late September to end with a record 7-5 record. With an influx of new players comes the challenge of learning to work together as a team. The Furies suffered losses to the Stingers (10-15), Navy (5-19), and Beantown B (5-44) early in the season as a result. However, weeks of training together started to shape a cohesive team from the individual players on the field. Moreover, aggression was on the rise. Despite losing to Beantown B on the road, the Furies really showed their potential as a team for the first time. They started to connect on the field and forced the opposition to fight for their win.
Two weeks later the Furies hosted Georgetown University (41-0) and local rival NOVA (65-0). Fueled by a demoralizing loss in the previous week against Norfolk, the Furies were hungry for their chance at a win. Crushing victories over both opponents helped the B-side to turn the corner for the season. Both matches were shut-out wins, logging a total of 106 points for the day. With the thrill of two wins under their belts, the B-side geared up to play George Mason University in their next match. In true Furies fashion, the team helped out the opposition by providing players to fill out their side. It was a solid victory for the Furies, winning 30-10 over GMU. In fact, all points of the game were scored by Furies, some who just happened to be playing with the other team at the time.
The momentum continued to build for the B-side; hard work during the week paid off on game day with a greater understanding across the board of the attacking patterns and defensive game plan. Mid-October brought a match-up against Maryland’s Severn River, a team that crushed the Furies in the spring. DC played hard defense all game, defending countless phases within their 22. Ultimately the stronger team was Division 2’s Severn River, but the Furies walked away with their head’s held high. Severn won the game (0-49), but the B-side had continued to improve, frustrated their opponent by forcing them to work hard, and kept the point differential much lower than the previous time these teams had met. After such a physical game, the Furies’ C-side match against Salisbury University’s B-side was an exercise in offense, squelching the college team with a 63-point shut-out.
Facing opponents across a wide range of skill levels, the developing Furies learned quickly how to take advantage of less-seasoned players. It takes a great deal more discipline to stick to the game plan practiced all season. The last two games of the season, against Catholic University and University of Maryland Baltimore College, were a platform for the Furies to focus on disciplined rugby, playing 15-as-1. Throughout the course of those two games the B-side showed their strength and potential by working together and holding themselves to a high standard of play, regardless of the level of competition. The Fury B’s finished the season with consecutive wins over Catholic (50-7) and UMBC (65-5).
Two of the biggest losses the Furies faced this season were against Division 2 teams Norfolk Storm and Severn River. Both opponents proved themselves on the pitch, slicing through the DC defense and dominating possession throughout the game. Surely, these losses painted a potentially challenging future for the Furies entering the D-2 competition. As it turns out, the local Division 2 competition is nothing to sneeze at. Recent regional championships determined seeding for the up-coming D-2 competition at Nationals; the seed for first place going into the nation-wide competition is held by Severn River, with Norfolk slotting at not-so-shabby seventh. Beantown, who the Furies also faced this fall, enter the Division 2 tournament at fifth.
All in all, the 2012 fall season has seen the Furies grow, in numbers, in skill, in pride. The B-side worked hard. At practices they challenged the WPL players, raising everyone’s level of play. As the season draws to a close rookies and veterans alike are thinking of ways to continue to improve over the winter and looking ahead to the spring season. With anticipation, we wait to see what the future holds for the Furies!