Three times a finalist and the MIAA’s inaugural Division 2 champion in 2017, the Hanover boys’ rugby team began its 2023 postseason run in convincing fashion.
The second-seeded Hawks raced past No. 7 Chelmsford, 50-0, in the quarterfinals of the Division 2 state tournament at Harry Gerrish Field on Wednesday in Hanover, a win coach Andrew McLean said came down to the execution of the basics.
“We’ve stressed working hard for each other,” said McLean, a native of Scotland who teaches biology at Hanover High. “We’ve definitely got some dangerous runners on the ball, but they can only do that if everyone does their job.
“Chelmsford is not a bad side. We just played really, really well.”
Seniors Nick Freel and Christian Carlson took turns playing lead for Hanover (8-0) in the first half, scoring three tries apiece to help open up a 50-0 lead after 35 minutes.
McLean, who has coached Hanover since its inaugural season in 2017, said the best part of the victory was being able to play his entire 40-man roster. The program has routinely fielded anywhere from 40 to 50 players.
“Everybody did exactly what I asked them to do,” McLean said. “We’ve got some guys who stand out because they carry the ball, but everyone played amazing.”
Hanover beat Milton, 29-20, in the first D2 final, then lost to the Wildcats, 32-14, in 2018, and then fell, 43-28, vs. Weymouth, last spring.
Hanover earned a berth in the semifinals against the winner of Thursday’s 4 p.m. quarterfinal matchup between No. 3 Weymouth and. No. 6 Braintree. The Hawks, winners of the Patriot Rugby Conference regular-season title, defeated the Wildcats (26-24) and Wamps (33-5) earlier this spring.
Assabet 17, Whittier 5 — Owen Keenan and Nolan Tomczyk rifled in four goals apiece for the host Aztecs in the semifinals of the State Vocational Tournament in Marlborough.
Division 2 State
Leominster 3, Granby 1 — Daniel Caetano registered 25 kills with 12 digs, two blocks and 11 service points for the No. 10 Blue Devils (19-3) in four-set victory over the No. 23 Rams in a first-round match. Andy Truong (11) and Troy Truong (10) also reached double-figure kills for Leominster.
Correspondents Ethan Fuller and Zachary Lyons contributed to this report.