*This article was written by Jaime North of the Office of Marketing and Communications. Pictures were taken by players, family, and friends.
As the No. 1 seed, Bloomsburg University Men’s Rugby Club recently capped off its perfect regular season winning the Mid-Atlantic Rugby Conference championship for the first time ever defeating then-undefeated York College 29-12.
BU now advances to the National Sweet 16s at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., where the men will face UNC-Charlotte on Saturday, Nov. 18, for a spot in the Elite 8 the following day. The Final Four will be played on Dec. 2 in Greenville, S.C.
BU (6-0) entered last weekend’s MARC Championship Tournament as its top seed and No. 5 in the nation, according to the Goff Rugby Report. The men defeated No. 4 seed University of Scranton handily 53-18, setting up the championship match with No. 2 seed York (No. 6 in the nation), which advanced by defeating Millersville University 90-5.
“York jumped out to an early 12-0 lead against us, but we didn’t panic and got back to our game,” said Nico Disabatino, BU’s head coach, club president, and flyhalf. “The score at halftime was 12-10 York. (We) dominated the second half and ultimately came out on top 29-12.”
The season has been quite a ride, according to Disabatino.
“We have 41 players on our roster (although only allowed to dress 23 per game), so it is never an easy decision on who gets to dress for these matches,” Disabatino said. “The team is understanding of that, and they support the decisions and also have an input on how we do things.”
Disabatino added, “Our vice president, Joe Ferrara, also plays a key role in the team’s success as our other captain along with myself. Several players on our team have played prior to coming to college and their rugby IQ and dedication are also a huge factor in the way we do things. We are extremely excited for this great opportunity and hope to bring a national championship trophy back to Bloomsburg.”
- Mike Appleman (inside center), finished the regular season and playoffs with 12 tries (4 in playoffs).
- Jabari Johnson (outside center), finished the regular season and playoffs with 9 tries. He led the entire MARC in regular season tries with 9.
- Nico DiSabatino (flyhalf) finished the regular season and playoffs with 9 tries (2 in playoffs) and 8 conversions.
- Shawn “Scooter” Gordon had three tries throughout the playoffs.
- Phil Boyle had 26 conversions and 52 points on the season
BU had 56 regular season tries and 29 conversions (338 total points). In the playoffs, BU scored 14 tries and 6 conversions. Prior to this championship, BU won the Keystone State Collegiate Rugby Challenge in 1993. BU is 8-0 heading into nationals.