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September 19, 2023

Rugby falls to Lindenwood in elite 8 of national tournament


Grasping for the ball a scrum of BG players compete in a game this past season.

Speed defined BG’s win against Rice on Saturday, but Lindenwood was well-prepared Sunday to knock the Falcons out of the national tournament.

Saturday belonged to BG. Every time a Falcon was tackled, there was support to take an offload and keep the offense rumbling down the field, almost always resulting in a try.

Unlike in football, the team that is scored upon has to kick the ball back to the team that just scored. By the end of the first half, BG had possession of the ball for 33 of the half’s 40 minutes.

Halftime score was 70–0 in favor of the Falcons.

It was not until head coach Tony Mazzarella put in all of BG’s allowed seven substitutes that the brakes were put on the scoring onslaught.

Rice seemed stunned by the relentlessness of the Falcon attack. Clearly bigger than the Falcons in the front row, most of Rice’s attack was built around 250 lb props Agha Nkama and Murtuza Marfani.

Flankers Justin Stevens and Frank Viancourt and eight man Bryan Kean continued to stop the two men in their own backfield before they could generate any forward momentum.

Center Michael Ziegler led the scoring for the Falcons with five tries while center Dominic Mauer added three more and wing Sam Polzin had a pair.

Also scoring tries were wing Steve Fritsch, hooker Mike Brown, flanker Frank Viancourt, lock Mike Treon, wing Nolan Cavano and flanker Cyrus Sharif. Scrum half Mike Powell kicked seven conversions for 14 points.

The final score of Saturday’s match was a 94-17 BG victory.

The Falcons only held the lead one time early in the game against a powerhouse Lindenwood squad with a final score of 55-24.

“Regaining composure when a team scores a try because of our mishaps is never an easy task,” Cavano said. “Certain errors and penalties ended up being the primary cause of our downfall.”

Polzin and lock Alex Garnaut each made it into the endzone, but that wasn’t enough to overcome the mistakes.

Lindenwood entered the game after a 60-0 win over Northern Illinois the previous day. LU advances to face Western Washington in the Final Four with the other match being Central Florida-Dartmouth.

BG is the site for the Final Four of the National Collegiate Rugby Championship, which is set for May 11-12.

As for the Falcons, the season didn’t end as expected. The team will graduate a handful of seniors and will miss the experience going into next season including Cavano, the club’s President.

“I can only strive to express my experience playing rugby for BGSU,” Cavano said. “I believe Pele said that soccer was the game of life. Well, Nolan says that Pele never played rugby.”

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