Ruggers advance to final four

The BGSU rugby team won their final tune-up before entering the final rounds of the Midwest playoffs. The Falcon ruggers took a triple-header from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point with scores of 34 – 5, 14 – 0 and 10 – 5.

After victories in the preliminary rounds of the Midwest regional over Pittsburgh and Miami, BG enters the semi-finals of the playoffs with a match at 3:15 p.m. on Saturday against the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Columbus. Ohio State takes on Purdue in the other semi-final.

With the playoffs having been dominated by teams from the eastern half of the Midwest for over a decade, Stout makes for a true wild card entry.

“Ohio State, Penn State, us, and Indiana have kind of owned the final four for quite a while,” BG coach Roger Mazzarella said. “I’m kind of interested to see what they bring to the table. I remember when we were a young and hungry team like Stout. Indiana stood in our way back then. It doesn’t take much in the way of complacency to become yesterday’s news.”

It only took the opening kickoff to make Stevens Point yesterday’s news on Saturday. BG’s Alex Demma recovered the opening kickoff to set up a scrum deep in Point territory. Halfback Sam Pietrangelo recovered Rob Pace’s hooked ball and fed fullback Matt Johnston a behind-the-back pass as Johnston streaked down the sideline for a try. With Johnston’s conversion kick it was essentially game, set, match and a point differential that Point couldn’t overcome.

Johnston later added a penalty field goal and wing Chad Cunnigan danced through fifty yards of Stevens Point defenders before touching down in the corner to give BG a 15-0 halftime lead. The second half belonged to BG flanker Alex Demma.

Taking the second half kickoff, he raced 75 yards untouched for a try and put the game out of reach for Stevens Point. The Falcon forwards took control of the remainder of the match as Demma completed his hat-trick with his second and third tries of the afternoon. Johnston converted twice as BG won 34 – 5.

In the second match wing Kyle Sitzes and eight man Gordon Kropp scored tries and fly half Derek Imes converted both in the 14-0 victory. BG took the third match as well by a 10 – 5 score. Eight Chuck Fiala scored BG’s only try and Imes landed a conversion and penaty field goal.

BG, now 31 – 5, will travel to Columbus to take on Wisconsin in a first ever meeting of the two teams at the Midwest regional finals.