Saturday, July 2, 2011

OTW with Matt Miller, Part IX: Temple Challenge Cup Semifinal v. ASR Nereus

UVa through Fawley, Temple Semifinal (Photo: Allen Miller)
The UVa men carried a great deal of momentum into today's semifinal v. a talented Dutch crew from ASR Nereus. The Cavs fought well, but when all was said and done, the verdict was 1 length to Nereus, and one of the most successful seasons in the history of the UVa Men's Rowing Program came to a close. On the other side of the bracket, California's frosh eight, coached by UVa alum Wyatt Allen, defeated the Harvard freshmen to reach the final. En route to victory, the Golden Bears broke their own course record to Fawley again. Here's Matt's take on Saturday's racing in Henley:

Saturday at Henley is bustling with energy and spectators. It seems like the number of Virginia fans doubled overnight. We’ve gained the support of a number of eliminated American crews, as well as the English crews we beat earlier in the week. It was great getting so many cheers on our way to the starting line.

This morning’s race against Nereus may have been our best performance here in Henley. Despite our clean start, they were already ahead by the island, and continued moving away through the barrier. We were pushing hard to stay with them, but it wasn’t enough. Although I was disappointed by the loss, it was a good way to go out, ending a great season. I’ve heard rumors that Nereus has beaten the Dutch U23 boat more than once this season. Regardless, they are a very fast crew.

UVa contingent in front of the boat tents (Photo: Allen Miller)
We were on the water to see the finish of the Harvard-Cal race. Cal looked phenomenal. I was impressed by Nereus, but I have doubts that they can hang with the Golden Bears. Racing Sunday would have been a thrill, but we are happy to have set a new standard in overseas performance for Virginia. I think everyone on our team considers the trip a success. -MM

Thanks very much to Matt for all his hard work, getting these stories to us following days of travel and racing, as well as to Allen Miller for his great photography. We hope that this series will be valuable record for Matt and UVa, and that just as UVa has set a new standard for itself overseas, so have we done in our coverage. It was a great ride, and while it's always tough to end the season on a loss, it does mean that the UVa squad will get some well-deserved time to reflect on an outstanding year, possibly over a pint or two. I recommend the Brakspear bitter.

-RR

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