PITTSBURGH, PA – We are thrilled to announce that the Mystics are the D1 East Champions and will be playing in the D1 National Championships for the first time since 1992! The boys showed huge grit and determination in Pittsburgh this weekend as they claimed muddy, hard-fought victories against Metropolis and Old Blue. We will be sharing more details about the Championship match in due course, but we already know that we will be playing last year’s losing finalist, the Austin Blacks, in Glendale, CO on June 4.
Elite Eight vs Metropolis: 28-3
The first match against Metropolis saw a rematch of the 2012 Elite Eight matchup that occurred at this venue, but the result was a much better one for the Mystics. The match started off with Metropolis kicking a penalty to take a 3-0 lead, but it was all Mystic after that as converted tries from Alatasi Tupou, Jared Collinson, Vini Daley and Mike “Spike” Armstrong led the Mystics to a 28-3 victory. It was a huge turnaround from four years ago, when Metropolis ended the Mystic playoff run at this same field in the Elite Eight.
Final Four vs Old Blue: 10-5
The match on Sunday afternoon against Old Blue was always going to be a huge contest, and the muddy, wet conditions neutralized both backlines. It was going to be a 10-man game about territory, ball-retention and defense, and the game truly delivered on all of those counts.
The game opened up with both sides kicking instead of keeping the ball, but the Mystics struck first through a penalty from Alatasi Tupou to take a 3-0 lead. After putting up a huge defensive stand and drawing an Old Blue yellow card, the Mystics took advantage of a counter-attack to get Evin O’Driscoll over the line, giving the Mystics a 10-0 lead, which they held onto until the half.
As the second half got underway, neither team made much headway until the Mystics finally gave way to an Old Blue try off a lineout maul. Old Blue missed the kick, and the Mystics’ lead was cut down to 5 points with plenty of time on the clock. Old Blue ratcheted up the pressure and camped out in the Mystic 22. The Mystics stayed steadfast and disciplined, fighting off huge pressure for what felt like forever, including multiple five meter scrums from Old Blue. The guts and sheer determination to defend for that long was awe-inspiring to watch. With five minutes to go, the Mystics finally drew an Old Blue infraction and earned relief downfield. Soon after, a kicking exchange ended with a late hit on Robbie Malneek, and the Mystics got a penalty in the Old Blue 22 with two minutes to go. They went for the corner, but a knock-on soon after gave Old Blue the ball and some hope. The Mystic defense didn’t relent, however, and Old Blue only made it to half way before the Mystics forced a knock-on and a hugely deserved 10-5 victory.
Many of us have been there when the goal-line defense has cracked or a penalty has been given away due to the pressure, so it was truly amazing to watch the boys stopping Old Blue time and time again without giving an inch mentally or physically. Let’s make sure we get behind the Mystics as they gear up for their shot at the National Championship!
Congratulations once again to all the Mystics involved in this season-long effort!