Philadelphia-Whitemarsh, the number one seed from the Mid-Atlantic, travels to Virginia Beach, Virg. to take on the Saratoga Stampede, champions of New England for the DIII round of 16 this weekend. Philly-Whitemarsh is one of two teams, along with the South Bay Rhinos, returning to the tournament from the 2012 DIII Final Four, where they finished second.
The top scoring players for Philly-Whitemarsh are outside center James Rosato and fullback Louis Tulio. The forwards and backs play off of each other well.
“Our scheme works. Our forwards are pretty good at spreading the field and overloading the other teams’ back line,” Whitemarsh co-captain Bob Haller said.
Participation numbers have almost doubled in the last year for the Saratoga Stampede according captain Rob Michelin. The players who put up the points include Kiwi flyhalf Trent Jackson and Scottish hooker Cal Davies. Michelin said Saratoga’s tries are very split between backs and forwards.
“One of our biggest assets is our loose forward orientation. They are very athletic, strong and physically fit; they play like back players as far as ball handling,” Michelin added.
Saratoga was in the DIII final 16 two years ago in 2011.
“We basically played our heart out in our Saturday match,” said Michelin. “Then on Sunday we played a team that was much like us, balanced between back and pack.”
“They just outplayed us,” said Haller of Philly Whitemarsh’s loss to New Orleans in the 2012 final. “[We are] looking forward to getting back to where we should be. We’re expecting a good outcome this weekend. Anything less will be a huge disappointment.”
As they step on the pitch Saturday, Philly Whitemarsh will be trying to take care of unfinished business and Saratoga will be trying to finish their season undefeated.