The Wildcats overwhelmed host Malden Catholic, 49-0, on Wednesday night in the Div. 2 state semis.

MALDEN -- Communication and fitness.

Those were the words Milton High rugby coach Joe Dolan used to describe the keys to the Wildcats' 49-0 playoff victory over Malden Catholic on Wednesday night.

Milton (8-2) got tries from six different players, including two each from junior Alex Caputo and senior Pat Taugher, to power past the second-seeded Lancers (4-2-1) in the Division 2 state semifinals.

The third-seeded Wildcats will play for a state crown on June 23 at Newton South High. Their opponent will be determined Thursday when No. 4 Hanover (5-2) visits No. 1 Catholic Memorial (6-1) in the other semifinal.

“Today was all about defense," Dolan said. "(Malden Catholic) held the ball for the first 10 minutes, but our guys stayed patient, they communicated and they were able to keep them off the scoreboard."

The Lancers hung tough for the majority of the first half, controlling possession and advancing to within 10 yards of Milton’s goal line. The teams traded blows until Alex Caputo opened the scoring with 13 minutes remaining in the half on a try (the rugby equivalent to a touchdown) from 5 yards out. Junior Gerard Davoren added a conversion kick to stretch the lead to 7-0.

“I think our fitness level was key today; (MC) were a strong team, but we were a little more fit," Dolan noted. "Nobody wanted to come out of the game, so that says a lot.”

The Wildcats' superior conditioning was on full display in a second-half explosion that saw them score 34 points in 35 minutes. Milton gained favorable field position deep in the MC zone time and again thanks to deep punts by Davoren, and great pursuit by the Wildcat backfield.

Malik Jean-Guillaume set up two second-half tries by pinning the Lancers deep with solid tackles following punts by Davoren.

The win sends Milton to its sixth consecutive state championship game -- and second since rugby became an official MIAA sport last spring. The Wildcats fell to Hanover, 29-20, in the inaugural MIAA final.

"That’s what we think about every year on March 15th" when preseason practice begins, Dolan said. "We’ve always got our eyes on that prize and every day we just try to get a little bit better."


The MIAA will hold a girls wrestling tournament in the winter of 2018-2019. Female wrestlers will continue wrestling for their school teams during the winter season, but will be given the option before the MIAA sectional tournaments to declare which post-season tournament they’ll compete in -- either the traditional mixed-gender one or the girls-only one.

The inaugural girls tournament is slated for Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019, which coincides with Day 2 of the All-State tournament. There will be no assigned weight classes for the girls tournament, instead using the Madison Grouping format. According to an MIAA press release, Massachusetts becomes only the 10th state in the country to offer a wrestling tournament for girls.

“We are thrilled to provide an opportunity to showcase the tremendous female wrestlers that work tirelessly throughout the season. We look forward to the continued growth of girls wrestling in the state of Massachusetts,” Phil Napolitano, MIAA wrestling liaison, said in a statement.