Falcons fall short in American College Rugby Championship


A BG club rugby player competes in one of the team’s matches earlier this season. This weekend the Falcons ended their season with a loss in the championship.

Scott Sadowski and Scott Sadowski

American International College defeated Bowling Green club rugby 46-40 Saturday in one of the most anticipated American College Rugby Championship bowl matchups of 2014.

AIC is a varsity rugby program, meaning they can offer scholarships, paid coaches and things of that nature.

Captain Alex Garnaut knew that one team had to lose on Saturday but was still proud of his team’s effort.

“No one was hanging their head because we all knew that everyone of us gave their best effort,” he said after the game.

AIC showcased a bit more speed and BG showed more power but, for the most part, both teams were evenly matched.

The Yellow Jackets jumped out to an early 24-0 lead over the Falcons to begin the game. BG needed a big play and momentum or else the game could have become a blow-out.

BG’s Griffen Palmer and Frank Viancourt, who have produced big plays throughout the entire season, converted on two tries to go into the half losing 24-14.

With 10 minutes to go in the second half, BG found themselves in another hole down 41-21.

The Falcons made one final push, knowing this game was all or nothing.

Tries from Alex Garnaut and Mitch Sora brought the score to 41-33 AIC, causing a big momentum shift and bringing the crowd to their feet.

Steve Fritsch’s diving score brought the Falcons within one point of the Yellow Jackets, 41-40 AIC.

AIC responded with a try of their own. On the kickoff after the AIC score, BG recovered it and an AIC defender tipped the pass, allowing time to expire. AIC won 46-40 after a thrilling final 10 minutes.

Head coach Tony Mazzarella was proud of his team for never giving up until the final whistle was blown.

“We may have lost on the scoreboard but we won the intangibles – grit, determination and commitment. I wouldn’t trade these guys or this team for anyone” he said.

BG finishes the season ranked eighth in the nation with an 11-2 record, both losses coming against varsity programs, AIC and Davenport University.

After graduating 18 players last year, many thought the Falcons would have a down year due to their youth and inexperience. Niall McNamara said he was pleased with how this youthful team played.

“We just came back even stronger this year” he said.

With such a young team, the upside and potential for BG club rugby is clear. With more experience, next season could result in even more success.