By Adam Bushell

USC travelled to UC Irvine on Saturday for their league opener in the Gold Coast Conference. After a successful Fall campaign, first year Head Coach Loa Milford tested his expectations for the Trojans. The game kicked off with the Trojans dominating play and the back line exploiting ample room. It took only three minutes for Center Joey Krassenstein to make a line break after showing a dummy and breaking free to score under the posts. The successful conversion made it 7-0.

Minutes later, the Trojans were back in their opponent’s half, making consistent strides toward the line through several phases of play. After stealing a lineount on the attacking 5-meter line, the USC forwards methodically drove closer to the try line. Lock DeMarco Scavuzzi made the final hit-up and scored in the corner. The conversion fell short. 12-0 Trojans.

Momentum stayed with the Trojans throughout the rest of the first half, allowing freshman Center Dmitry Veremeenko to find room out wide and score his first try for the team. Winger Mitch Suzuki also got his first score after a flawlessly executed play by the backline left the UC Irvine defense in shatters. The Anteaters got on the scoreboard with their only try of the half with some well executed forward play. Veremeenko got his second tally right before the half time whistle, putting the score at 31-5.

Momentum slowed in the second half as the Trojan’s indiscipline at the breakdown proved costly. A Trojan in the sin bin left the team a player down for ten minutes and USC were up against their goal line for a majority of that time. Eventually, UCI notched their second score of the match. Substitutions came in and USC went back to full strength for the closing passages of play. Replacement Hooker Oliver Dabao got his first career try from a quick-tapp penalty deep into Anteaters’ territory. The game finished 38-10, marking a convincing first win of the season for USC and a proud moment for Coach Milford.

The Trojans travel to CSU Long Beach this Saturday for an important early season encounter.

By Adam Bushell

Our very own Joey Krassenstein returned from Santiago, Chile earlier this month after representing the USA in the Pan American Maccabi Games. The Maccabi Games is the third-largest sporting event in the world with over 78 countries participating. They take place every 4 years in Israel. On the offset 4 years, there are regional games such as the Pan-American Maccabi Games, European Maccabi Games, and others. 20 teams participated in this year’s games, with Argentina, Chile, the Prince of Whales Rugby Club (Chile), and USA comprising the rugby competition. Krassenstein had a wickedly successful tournament, winning gold and silver in rugby sevens and fifteens respectively, scoring a hat-trick against Chile in sevens. He played the entirety of every game, including a sevens thriller against Argentina that saw the US win by a mere conversion. 

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The USC center commented on his experience at the games, “It was an amazing opportunity being a part of a team that represents not only my religion but also my country. I got a chance to play rugby in a new country against opponents with very different playing styles, and got to enjoy socializing and exchanging with them afterwards.” He co-captained the sevens side and was the fifteen’s MVP in the backs.

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Krassenstein now returns to USC Rugby with new skills that will surely do USC great service in the upcoming Spring season. 

The current regular season schedule for the USC Trojan Rugby Team in the Gold Coast Conference of Intercollegiate Rugby.

Press Release

2015+Pan+American+Games+7s+Gold+MedalThe Maccabi USA Rugby squad has just returned to the United States following the 2015 Pan American Maccabi Games, which was held in Santiago, Chile. Before this year’s edition, Rugby was last played at the 1995 Pan American Maccabi Games, with the USA winning Gold in the 7s competition. This time Rugby XVs was added with Argentina, Chile and the USA taking part – alongside the Prince of Wales – winners of the National Chilean Club championships in 2015 (added as a warm-up fixture).

Results – XVs Competition:

USA 22 Argentina 28 
USA Tries: Andrew Berson, Dallen Stanford, Sam Rabb. USA Conversions: Jake Levine (2). USA Penalties: Jake Levine.

12465889_10205462044295187_4630921591609848423_oUSA 50 Chile 22
USA Tries: Joey Krassenstein (2), Tristan Sylk (2), Dallen Stanford, Howie Goldsmith, Rudy Rudzinsky, Sam Harrison. USA Conversions: Joey Krassenstein  (4), Jake Levine.

USA claims Silver Medal in XVs.

Results – 7s Competition:

USA 45 Chile 12
USA Tries: Joey Krassenstein (3), Howie Goldsmith, Adam Markun. USA Conversions: Dallen Stanford (5).

USA 14 Argentina 7 
USA Tries: Dallen Stanford, Eyal Hakim. USA Conversions: Dallen Stanford (2).

USA claims Gold Medal in XVs.

This tour was vital for the development of existing and new Jewish Rugby players, giving the program more structure as it competes at the World Maccabiah Games every four years. At the 2013 Games, the USA squad won Gold in 7s at the and Bronze in XVs. Preparation will begin soon ahead of the 2017 World Maccabiah Games – with application details to be released in March 2016.

Special thanks to the Maccabi USA Rugby Pan American Games Chairman, Erik Dollman, and coaches Aaron Davis and Dallen Stanford.

USA Rugby Squad:

Eitan Babcock; Milwaukee Rugby Football Club, Andrew Berson; Dartmouth Rugby, Erik Dollman; Albany Bootleggers / Albany Knickerbockers RFC, Jon Fonvielle; Mystic River Rugby Club, Dan Freedman; Santa Barbara Grunion RFC / Coach at Santa Ynez Valley Youth RFC, Joe Freundlich; Chicago Westside Condors RFC, Zachary Getson; Auburn University RFC / Griffins RFC, Howard Goldsmith; Chicago Westside Condors RFC, Eyal Hakim; Boca Raton RFC, Sam Harrison; Head Coach at Colorado College RFC, Zachary Hiller; Houston United Rugby Team, Jaeson Kaylegian; UIC RFC / Chicago Riot RFC, Robert Keene; South Valley Rugby / Pacific Club Rugby, Joseph Krassenstein; University of Southern California RFC, Max LaVictoire; New York Rugby Club, Jake Levine; Dartmouth Rugby, Eli Mandel; University Washington RFC, Adam Markun; Middlebury RFC, Samuel Rabb; San Francisco Golden Gate, Ben Rotstein; New York Rugby Club, Michael Rudzinsky; USC / Mystic River Rugby Club, Matthew Sarna; Maryland Rugby, Adam Satz; University of South Carolina Men’s Rugby, Dallen Stanford; Tiger Rugby, Tristan Sylk; Philadelphia Fight Rugby League / Media Rugby Football Club.

For more information on the Rugby competition in at the Pan American Maccabi Games, contact Maccabi USA Rugby Chairman Erik Dollman at erik.dollman@tbs.toshiba.com.

About the organization:
Maccabi USA (MUSA) is a federally-recognized not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization with an extensive history of enriching Jewish lives through athletic, cultural and educational programs. The organization is the official sponsor of the United States Team to the World Maccabiah Games, and the Pan American and European Maccabi Games, as well as a sponsor of the JCC Maccabi Games for teens in North America. As the official Maccabi representative in the U.S., Maccabi USA supports Jewish athletic endeavors, enhanced by cultural and educational activities in the United States, Israel and throughout the Diaspora.

MUSA develops, promotes and supports international, national and regional athletic-based activities and facilities.  It strives to provide Jewish athletes the world over the opportunity to share their heritage and customs in competitive athletic settings.  MUSA supports programs that embody the Maccabi ideals of Jewish Continuity, Zionism and Excellence in Sport.  Maccabi USA Builds Jewish Pride Through Sports.

Maccabi USA has been selected by the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) as a Multi-Sport Organization (MSO). The nonprofit organization becomes one of 35 MSOs nationwide to be recognized by the USOC for its ability to cultivate a national interest in sport and increase opportunities for participation internationally, nationally and at the grassroots level.

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The USC Men’s Rugby Team visited ‘A Place Called Home’ this past weekend to teach intercity children the great sport of rugby. It was a fantastic experience for the team and we feel very privileged for the opportunity to work with such a delightful group of bright young kids. We hope to continue this relationship with A Place Called Home moving forward. Fight on!

Here is a player perspective from team member Jeff Stratford:

“It is both a privilege and a fulfilling opportunity when Trojan Rugby has an opportunity to give back to the community. For many of us, things like financial security and family support are taken for granted. We do not have to travel far from our campus to find communities where these things are not a given. Thankfully there are those in LA who have diagnosed the problems that face densely populated urban environments and offer a remedy in the form of love and understanding. One such organization is ‘A Place Called Home’ at 28th Street and S. Central. We have Trojan Rugger, Mikey McMonigle to thank for introducing us to this group. Having already volunteered his time with them he recognized what an opportunity there was for USC Rugby to give back to the youngsters at A Place Called Home. On November 20th, USC Rugby took a short drive from campus to share their time, energy and enthusiasm for rugby.

After arriving, their field was swarming with a mixture of college athletes and children of all ages. The children began in three stations to learn the basics of the game. The critical skills of passing and tackling were taught before putting it all together for a game of touch. With a little instruction and a whole lot of encouragement, the kids quickly started to look like a team putting on moves against the experienced Trojan Ruggers. Ask anyone on the team about the kid’s tackling and they may be embarrassed to tell you the truth. But let it be known that these kids could hit and more than once I found myself knocked down and absolutely flabbergasted. All it takes is hard work and determination for rugby to take these kids places. That much became evident. Finally a game was organized to illustrate the importance of having fun on the pitch. USC Rugby was pitted against all the kids in a modified sort of tag. The ball was passed among USC players who after catching the ball had to keep their feet still. If any of the kids were tagged by the ball they were out. With that, the day culminated with smiles and screams of joy for everyone involved. In moments like this, it becomes obvious how volunteering one’s time is perhaps the simplest and most rewarding thing one can do. Rugby already has so much to offer in the way of teamwork, discipline and physical fitness. These are all concepts that make for bright and healthy people. It truly was a privilege to give our time to A Place Called Home. We hope to maintain a continued relationship with this amazing organization and the entirety of our surrounding community. Thanks for having us!”

[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B76yLef095M”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]APCH 008[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

By Adam Bushell

Nearing the end of the preseason, the skills and strategies implemented by new Head Coach Loa Milford are beginning to fall into place. The team travelled to Cal State University Northridge this past weekend to gauge this progress.

Off the kickoff, USC was sluggish and slow to set the tempo of the game as was the mission statement established beforehand. Within ten minutes the Trojans had conceded an unconverted try to put the team down by five. Shaken up by the unexpected first few passages of play, USC shifted up a gear and was able to level the score after a more promising passage of play. USC’s second score came from a line break through a porous CSUN defense and a last minute offload to Carl Acquire meters from the line to put the score at 12-5 before the half. The second half saw both teams enter a grid lock of possession for the majority of the half, each teams only getting one more score a piece. USC become evermore nervous as CSUN closed in on Trojan territory with only one try between the two teams, but USC’s defense held off the Matadors. The score at the final whistle was 19-12. 

The Trojans would have liked to have created a bigger deficit, particularly in the second half, so there is still more work to be done late on into the preseason. However, a win will be accepted graciously and the gain of momentum will be important going into the Trojan’s last preseason game against UCLA on December 5th.

Bennett (left) and Scassellati (right) will serve as USC's new team captains

Bennett (left) and Scassellati (right) will serve as USC’s new team captains

By Adam Bushell, Public Relations Chair

USC Rugby would like to congratulate Corbin Bennett as Team Captain and Guido Scassellati as Backs Captain for the immediate future. Bennett, a returning starter for the program will also be the team’s Forwards Captain.

Bennett will be assuming the responsibilities for the role after long standing captain Joseph Krassenstein decided it was in the team’s best interest to hand the reigns down to the next generation of Trojan Ruggers. Krassenstein, now a graduate student, will however continue to play for USC during the spring season.

Bennett possesses natural leadership characteristics and although this is only his second year playing the game, he has proven to be an incredibly quick learner. Rugby does run deep in the Bennett lineage however as his father, Tom Bennet, also played for USC (Class of ’87). Corbin Bennett however focused on baseball as his sport of choice and played at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon for two years before arriving at USC. After realizing his desire for contact sports and oddly shaped balls, he decided to give rugby a try and has excelled at it ever since.

“As coaches we chose Corbin because he has strong potential to lead the team and the quality of work he has put into this team is amazing. He gets respect from all the players on the team and will lead by example,” commented Head Coach Loa Milford.

Bennett will also have the resources of Guido Scassellati, a third-year starter from Rome, Italy who is no newcomer to the game. Scassellati, the team’s scrum-half, has had a long development experience with Unione Rugby Capitolina in Rome and has proved that he is very capable in his knowledge of the game. 

“We’ve given Guido the responsibility as assistant captain as he’s proven to be responsible and resourceful in the game of rugby. Especially at scrum-half where he’ll have to talk a lot throughout the game, the captaincy gives Guido a greater say in the team’s on-field and off-field decisions,” said Coach Milford.

USC is currently undefeated in the XV’s preseason after defeating UNLV, UCSB, Pepperdine, CSUN, and the Alumni. The Trojans finish the preseason against crosstown rivals, UCLA, on December 5th in Westwood.

 

 

 

Join USC Rugby at Blaze Pizza on Figueroa December 2nd to help us raise funds for the upcoming season! Bring some friends, make a delicious pizza…outrageous fun.

20% of the proceeds raised between 7:30 and 10:30 will directly support the USC Men’s Rugby Club!

Blaze Pizza
3335 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, California 90007

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By Jonathan So

Homecoming weekend means the return of USC Rugby for the annual Alumni Game. Trojan rugger grads put their boots on again to take on the Students. As the teams lined up for kick-off, both had something to prove: the Students wanted to show the Alumni firsthand how the program has progressed since 2014; the Alums wanted to continue their three year winning streak.

The match was fast-paced and high-energy, with the Students applying a more direct, physical brand of rugby. Despite a few handling errors, the Students dictated the pace of the match and put up 34 points in the first 60 minutes while holding the Alumni to 5. Credit goes to current Head Coach Loa Milford for not only drilling and preparing the current USC Team throughout this pre-season, but also putting up two tries as he suited-up for the Students. In the final 20 minutes of the game, the Alumni settled in, caught a second wind, and played positive rugby. After a great back-line play and try, the Alumni picked up momentum and put an additional 2 tries up on the board, ending the game with a final score of 41-20. The Students were pleased to finally end their 2-year losing-streak against the Alumni.

Many thanks to all players, families, and friends for coming out and participating. It is always a pleasure to host our former Trojan ruggers and we hope you enjoyed the Alumni Weekend as much as we did. Fight on!

A big thank you to our alumni for coming out and participating in our annual Alumni match this past Homecoming weekend! Always a pleasure to host our former Trojan ruggers!

A big thank you to our alumni for coming out and participating in our annual Alumni match this past Homecoming weekend! Always a pleasure to host our former Trojan ruggers!