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Rugby falls in national championship

The Falcons men’s rugby team fell in the Division I-AA Fall Championship game in Greenville, S.C. on Sunday morning, losing to the Notre Dame Falcons 39-17.

“We just made way too many mistakes early,” Falcons head coach Tony Mazzarella said. “We didn’t capitalize off a couple of push fours and it was tough sledding after that point.”

The game began with Notre Dame scoring the first try of the game in the first half at the 7:00 mark, however, their conversion attempt was no good, as they led 5-0 early. Less than four minutes later they were able to score another try, where the conversion attempt was missed again. At 15:15, Notre Dame increased their lead with another try, this time scoring on the conversion attempt to go up 17-0. They added another try and conversion at the 24:00 mark, but the Falcons were able to get on the board before the end of the half as senior fly-half Nick Ross scored on a penalty kick, making it a 24-3 game at halftime.

In the second half, Notre Dame countered with a penalty kick of their own for a 27-3 advantage at 54:22, then getting another try and conversion at 60:38. The Falcons scored their first try of the game from sophomore hooker Philip Bryant, with Ross putting through the conversion to make it a 34-10 game. However, Notre Dame would get another try at 73:10, but missed on the conversion for a 39-10 lead. The Falcons were able to get one more score with 44 seconds remaining in the game as sophomore fly-half Chris Labadie scored a try with Ross getting the conversion, but that would be all the Falcons could get as Notre Dame took the 39-17 win.

“We gave up two quick tries just off of mishandled balls,” Mazzarella said. “Then we allowed them to play in our end for quite an extended period of time and they were able to capitalize once again. They capitalized on just about every mistake that we made, especially in the first half and we weren’t ready for it or weren’t as ready as we should have been.”

The team felt that the mistakes they made, particularly early on, was where they were hurt the most.

“They just made a lot less mistakes than we did,” Mazzarella said. “Our forwards actually played pretty well against them, we had some pretty good scrums, but we had way too many mistakes and they capitalized on it.”

The team will play next in their rugby sevens season in March 2017.

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