Hudson Valley Sevens Tournament


POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - The Vassar Men hosted Marist College, SUNY-New Paltz, Seton Hall and Bard on a gray damp and sporadically rainy day at the Farm. The teams were divided into 2 divisions so each of them played 3 games and the tournament was essentially a warm-up for the Conference 7s Championship that will take place next weekend. In the A-Division bracket the Marist College Men went 3-0 with wins over SUNY-New Paltz, an Invitation 7 and Seton Hall University. In the B-Division bracket it was the Vassar College Men that went 3-0 with victories over Bard College, Marist College B and SUNY-New Paltz B. Vassar College Men 30 v 5 Bard College Men Tries: Nate Cuson (2), James Christensen (2) & Stephen Kpundeh (2). The Brewers got off to the perfect start as they pressured the Brad kick-off receiver and forced a scrum. The opening try was also a result of intense defensive pressure as Stephen Kpundeh harried his opposite number into an error and the loose ball was kicked ahead by flyhalf Nate Cuson and he dived on the ball for a score. In fact the Vassar defensive pressure in the form of line speed and all enveloping tackles was to be a constant in all 3 games and it meant that Vassar not only prevented the opposition from scoring but the Brewers regained possession. James Christensen scampered over for a brace of tries as did Kpundeh. While the 3 scorers grabbed the headlines it was the work of others that was critical to success. Up front hooker Louie Brown and Mike Cardenas dominated the set piece while every player worked hard defensively. Team: 1 Mike Cardenas 2 Louie Brown 3 Jeff Montoya 9 Stephen Kpundeh 10 Nate Cuson12 James Christensen 14 Joe Nowacki. Subs: Ankit Khosla, Roy Ochieng, Brian Cuautle Garcia, Ali Sadek, Levi Tuck & Max Lawrence. Vassar College Men 27 v 5 SUNY-New Paltz Men B Tries: Nate Cuson (2), Stephen Kpundeh (2) & Mike Cardenas (1). Cons: Stephen Kpundeh (1). Once again it was Vassar that scored first having kicked off to the visitors and again it was defensive pressure that led to the try. SUNY-New Paltz tended to be more deliberate in their play and offered a different threat to the first game. The Hawks punched up around the fringes or passed the ball one out but the Vassar defense held firm. Vassar flyhalf Nate Cuson certainly looks comfortable at standoff but he went a tad off-script late in the first half when a simple pass would have sufficed. He did tackle well and indeed Vassar only conceded 1 try over the full length of the game, testimony to their hard work for New Paltz had more possession than Bard in game one. Both teams handled the ball quite well in testing slippery conditions but it was Vassar who took the opportunities. Kpundeh ran in a lovely try from the halfway line and Mike Cardenas alertly took a quick tap penalty and dived in for a score. The win set the stage for a battle of the 2-0 teams as Marist also had seen off the same two opponents, 20-17 and 20-10 respectively. Team: 1 Mike Cardenas 2 Louie Brown 3 Jeff Montoya 9 Stephen Kpundeh 10 Nate Cuson12 James Christensen 14 Joe Nowacki. Subs: Ankit Khosla, Roy Ochieng, Brian Cuautle Garcia, Ali Sadek, Levi Tuck & Max Lawrence. Vassar College Men 31 v 5 Marist College Men B Tries: James Christensen (2), Nate Cuson (2), Stephen Kpundeh (1). Cons: Stephen Kpundeh (3). In contrast to the other games Vassar fell behind 5-0 following a series of mistakes right at the outset including a dropped pass and two missed tackles! But the Brewers bounced back and showed good shape to stretch the Marist defense and in the process scored 5 tries. Stephen "Roy" Ochieng replaced rookie Joe Nowacki who had injured his shoulder after accounting himself very impressively in the opening games and the former was outstanding on defense. Ochieng made a couple of try saving tackles to keep Marist at bay. Louie Brown was a rock throughout the day and his tackling exemplary. Marist fell behind 17-5 and Vassar always looked dangerous with ball in hand. Team: 1 Mike Cardenas 2 Louie Brown 3 Jeff Montoya 9 Stephen Kpundeh 10 Nate Cuson12 James Christensen 14 Roy Ochoeng. Subs: Ankit Khosla, Joe Nowacki, Brian Cuautle Garcia, Ali Sadek, Levi Tuck & Max Lawrence. Next: Sunday April 7, 2019 The Tri-State Conference 7s at Vassar College Farm 9:00 am

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