Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective
Greensboro, NC — April 22, 2011 — Six University of Maryland players, including freshman Matias Cima who was named Atlantic Coast Rugby League Co-Player of the Year, headline the inaugural All-ACRL First Team announced today. Cima is joined by University of North Carolina senior Alex Lee as conference Co-Player of the Year.
After Maryland’s six first team selections, North Carolina, Virginia, and Virginia Tech followed with two first team selections apiece. The conference’s head coaches chose the All-ACRL teams.
Coaches were permitted to vote for only one of their own players. The conference announced an All-ACRL First Team, Honorable Mention All-ACRL, and an ACRL All-Academic Team.
Former University of North Carolina head coach Mike Groenewald was named the 2011 Atlantic Coast Rugby League Coach of the Year. Groenewald, who wasn’t even on the ballot after having to step away from his coaching role after the first game of the league season, was a write-in vote by six of the conference’s nine head coaches. No other coach received more than one vote.
After defeating University of Maryland in the only ACRL match in which Groenewald coached the Tar Heels this season, Carolina ran off five more victories to finish the regular season in first place with a 6-0 record.
ACRL Commissioner Patrick Kane said of the conference naming Groenewald Coach of the Year, “I think the other coaches recognized that even though Coach Groenewald wasn’t on the sidelines for most of the season, North Carolina’s success was directly attributable to those kids having been coached by Mike for the last 18 months. He instilled in them the desire and ability to succeed, and the fact that they were able to come together after his unexpected departure and run the table was evidence of how great of a job he had done in molding these young men into a team.”
The 2011 Atlantic Coast Rugby League season will conclude on Saturday, as #6 North Carolina (6-0) rematches with #10 Maryland (5-1) in the conference championship game in Charlotte, NC. The ACRL Championship is presented by World Rugby Shop, adidas ®, and the Charlotte RFC.
The game features a total of 13 players named to either the All-ACRL First Team or Honorable Mention. The winner will advance to the USA Rugby Division I Round of 16 next weekend in Bowling Green, OH to face #4 University of Florida.
The Atlantic Coast Rugby League is not endorsed by, affiliated with, or sponsored by the Atlantic Coast Conference.
ACRL Co-Players of the Year: Alex Lee, North Carolina; Matias Cima, Maryland
ACRL Coach of the Year: Mike Groenewald, North Carolina
First Team All-ACRL
Honorable Mention All-ACRL
ACRL All-Academic Team