Traverse City Record-Eagle

Sports

August 18, 2013

Teams open season with Cherry Pit Rugby tourney

TRAVERSE CITY — With the Cherry Pit done, it's time to move on for both the Traverse Bay Blues and Traverse City Alliance.

And both have big plans.

The Alliance — playing with a team of alumni — posted a 1-1 record and the Blues were 0-2 Saturday at the Cherry Pit Rugby Tournament at the Civic Center.

The Blues opened up with a 12-0 loss to Central Michigan University, and dropped a 43-0 decision with eventual champion Third Halfers, a team comprised of players from Kalamazoo and the Tri-Cities.

"We had a few players that were missing and some key subs that I was hoping we were going to have," coach Matt Szatkiewicz said. "But I definitely saw some good positives — ball movement, good play by several of our new players.

"We will continue to use what we saw out there (Saturday). We will continue building, continue to make improves on stuff. That shoudl be expected. That's one of the advantages of having this tournament, is it lets me see how the guys are going to come together. But they played hard, and that's what I was really proud of. It's something we can build off."

The Blues travel to Kalamazoo next Saturday to kick off a nine-game fall season. They return for a Sept. 7 home game against Michigan.

The Alliance topped Michigan State — which combined with Oakland University — 31-22 in its first contest, then fell to Grand Rapids 17-5. After that game, Grand Rapids would forfeit the championship to the Third Halfers due to injuries.

"We were really impressed with how we played together, coming together from different angles," said Alliance coach Chuck Benson, who assisted with player/coach Cornel Olivier. "Jared Belovich, his father came out and played prop as well. That was kind of cool.

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