Rugby season ends rather abruptly at Ball State

After winning their qualifying games in the first round of the National Collegiate Tournament held at Ball State, the BGSU club rugby team ended their season somewhat prematurely.

The semifinals, held in Elkhart, Ind., on Nov. 11 and 12, pitted the Falcons against Wisconsin Stout, and later against Ohio University.

Up 12-0 at halftime against Stout, BG let the lead slip away in the second half and lost the game 17-12.

The loss placed BG into a consolation game against OU, which hadn’t beaten BG since 1980. The Bobcats stunned the defending Mid-American Conference champions 38-34, ending the fall season for the Falcons. BG ends the fall season at 24-3.

According to coach Roger Mazzarella, after winning the qualifying games, the Falcons got some time off from the playing field, and that caused them to lose some of their edge. Also, some backfield changes before the semis led to a bad weekend.

“During the games, we were thinking it was in the bag,” Mazzarella said. “We made the mistake of taking a week off, and didn’t have practice for a couple of days. In the end, people were trying to win the games on their own.”

“I’ve been the head coach for 22 years, and I learned a valuable lesson,” Mazzarella continued. “Don’t change what you’ve been doing. It was a mistake to have a weekend off.”

But even with the losses, there were still some positives to look at from the first half of the year.

“We lost 17 guys from last spring,” Mazzarella said. “We weren’t expected to accomplish very much. But to play the way we did and to win the way we did was really something.”

Next up for BG rugby will be a string of games in the southern part of the country next month, against Vanderbilt, Florida State University, Alabama and others.