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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
September 21, 2023

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Mens rugby team moves on to Final Four

Playing in front of a capacity crowd during the weekend at Cochrane Soccer Stadium, the BG rugby team defeated its opposition to earn a birth in the Final Four of the National Collegiate Rugby Championships.

The Falcons defeated Iowa State University 37–12 on Saturday and the University of Missouri 53–10 on Sunday in a pair of games.

Missouri had beaten Middle Tennessee State 46–10 on Saturday to earn the matchup with Bowling Green.

Scrum half Mike Powell led all scorers in the two-day event with seventeen points on two tries, two conversion kicks and a penalty kick against ISU and 18 points on two tries and four conversion kicks against Missouri.

“We have been to the Final Four several times in the past, but this could be the year we win the whole thing,” said head coach Tony Mazzarella.

The Falcons are ranked second in the nation behind the University of Central Florida.

The Falcons offensive and defensive dominance was never more apparent than in Sunday’s match against Missouri. The Tigers did not get to run an offensive play until eighteen minutes into the first half and did not cross into Bowling Green territory until the 28 minute mark.

The Falcon forwards constantly had their opponents on their back heels. Bowling Green won not only all of its own scrums but also 42 percent of their opponent’s scrums.

“It’s tough to generate any offense when you are constantly being driven backwards,” stated BG’s vice captain Mike Brown. The veteran pack, led by Brown at hooker and captain Dane Szente at prop, effectively bottled up Missouri that the Tigers only option was to kick away any possession they did achieve.

“Missouri had one chance to get back into the game and we snuffed that out with our goal line stand,” said Bowling Green flanker Frank Viancourt.

With Bowling Green holding a 31–5 lead, and taking advantage of a penalty that left BG short a defender, the Tigers mounted an attack on the Falcon goal line that was met with an eight-minute long goal line stand by the Falcon defense. Gang tackling and defensive penetration left the Tiger offense with no success, play after play until BG lock Ed Luther stole the ball and fly half Teddy Terezis’s kick resolved the crisis.

Along with Mike Powell’s points, wing Steve Fritsch, center Trent Szente, lock Bryan Kean and flanker Justin Stevens each scored solo tries while Dane Szente scored a pair, including a 50-yard pinball-like cruise through seven Missouri defenders.

The Falcons will carry a 42–2–1 record with them into the Final Four on Saturday, at Stanford University in California. Their opponent there will be the University of Arizona while Central Florida and the University of San Diego face off on the other side of the bracket. The National Championship final match will be played Sunday.

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