Falcon ruggers win again

Chris Rambo and Chris Rambo

Provided with one last opportunity to iron out the wrinkles in their game before resuming the Midwest Tournament, the rugby team traveled to South Bend on Saturday and took care of business, beating Notre Dame. Although it will go down in the books as a win for the Falcons, the result was anything but pretty. After establishing an early 28-0 first half lead over the Irish, whom they beat 48-0 on Oct. 25, the Falcons became mired in penalties and offensive inconsistency, scoring only seven points over the remainder of the contest to Notre Dame’s 14. Coach Tony Mazzarella attributed his team’s less than stellar performance to a lack of focus brought on by glancing ahead to this weekend’s resumption of the tournament. ‘Practice was lackadaisical all week, and it definitely showed out there on Saturday,’ Mazzarella said. ‘We started out strong, but for some reason, in the second half we just decided to pack it in.’ The strong start alluded to by Mazzarella came in the first 30 minutes of action when the Falcons, keyed by two tries from Duane Miller, could seemingly do no wrong, establishing a quick 28-0 advantage. The Irish got on the board right before halftime with a long drive, aided by a number of BG penalties, to cut the score to 28-7. Despite numerous second half ventures into Notre Dame territory, the Falcon offense could parlay their good field position into only one try. That score, along with a late try from the Fighting Irish, accounted for the final margin. Despite the lackluster offensive performance, the Falcons did receive a much-welcomed boost to their lineup with the return of Rich Hines, who had been out of action since November with a broken leg. The senior All-American played the entire game, and according to Mazzarella, showed no lingering effects from the injury. ‘Rich was a little rusty at first, but he was able to stay in the whole game and did not seem to tire,’ Mazzarella said. ‘I thought he did very well.’ Up next for the Falcons is a date with Indiana in the Midwest semifinals at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Bowling Green Rugby Field. The winner will advance to Sunday’s championship match where they will meet the winner from the first semifinal on Saturday, pitting Ohio State against Minnesota. The Falcons matched up with both Indiana and OSU earlier in the season, rallying from a 7-6 halftime deficit to beat the Hoosiers 26-17, and flattening the Buckeyes by a score of 49-12. They have yet to face Minnesota. ‘I expect that this will be a much harder week of practice than the others,’ Mazzarella said. ‘We need to regain our edge and our hunger real quick if we hope to advance this weekend.’