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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
September 29, 2023

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Rugby holds off upset-minded Mountaineers


Ryan Koenig, fullback, cuts on a West Virginia defender as he moves the ball up the pitch.

The BG rugby club ended its spring break tour with a win against West Virginia, despite a rusty start in near-freezing temperatures.

The long drive combined with some nagging injuries nearly cost the Falcons a game that could have gone down as one of the biggest upsets in recent BG history.

BG met a team that came out and fought from the first whistle. The Falcons weren’t on the same page to begin the game, and it took a while for the team to play as a cohesive unit.

“It was beyond fortunate that we had a forwards unit that has played together for a long time because they kept the game from getting out of hand until the backs settled down,” said coach Roger Mazzarella.

Wing Steve Fritsch powered over the goal line for the first try and a 5-0 BG lead after a long stalemate between the two squads. The past has shown that BG usually pulls away and pours on the points after the first score. However, West Virginia did not back down, scoring on the next possession to tie the game.

West Virginia’s forwards matched the Falcons down the field four times, only to see a dropped ball, a miss-run play, or a penalty nullify a score.

BG showed great composure throughout the game and forced turnovers on defense. Prop Dane Szente’s penalty kick gave BG an 8-5 lead going into the half.

A missed tackle gave West Virginia a chance to win the game. Punching in a try and making the extra point, the Mountaineers led 12-8 with only eight minutes to play.

Flanker Frank Viancourt and fly half Mike Ziegler had spotted a reappearing hole in the Mountaineers’ defense that BG would only get a shot at exploiting. Faking an attack towards the backs, Ziegler fed Viancourt a pass that he used to wiggle through the rapidly closing defensive hole to score the game-winning try and give BG a narrow 13-12 victory.

“We made a lot of typical mistakes that you would see in the start of the season,” Viancourt said. “Now, we can focus on our next three matches, which will be a good challenge.”

The Falcons take on a senior men’s club this Saturday, as they travel to play the Detroit Tradesmen at 1 p.m.

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