The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Men’s club rugby season comes to an end at National 7’s

Blugolds go 1-3 in D.C. in the final matchups of the season
Cal Schmidtz (left) moves the ball forward while Thomas Moesenthin (right) defends. Photo by Emma Stowe used with permission.

The UW-Eau Claire men’s club rugby team’s season came to an end this last Saturday at the Collegiate Rugby Championship National 7’s in Maryland.

On Friday, the team would come into Nationals as the 8th seed taking on the 1st seeded John Carroll College, in which they would lose in a close 14-17 final score, almost creating the upset. 

Club President Andrew Boucher said the team had dug deep in the final minutes, but lost on a last second illegal knockout, which is when one hits the ball forward, with stoppage time doing the rest.

“We had an opportunity to score at the end,” Boucher said. “We lost by inches, we went to place the ball down and came literally inches short and then we lost on a knockout.”

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They would later take on the University of Denver in the bowl bracket tournament the next day losing by a score of 12-27.  Boucher said that this was a game that they should have won.    

“The score doesn’t reflect the game, it was a lot closer,” Boucher said. “We put a couple of tries away at the end, but we were a little flat footed in that game. It was a team we should have beaten.”

After being moved down to the Bowl tournament, the team would then take on Wesleyan University, winning 22-14. This was made possible by the scoring efforts of second-year Thomas Moesenthin who came away with 10 points on the day. 

“Today was his first career try,” Boucher said. “We’re really proud of him. He eats up hits, one of the most aggressive players in the tournament, he loves contact.”

This win would take the Blugolds to the Shield bracket tournament championship against Howard University, where they would lose by a score of 5-22. Coach Matthew Krische said that this was largely due to two of their starters being out of the game due to injury. 

“Our starting captain Cal Schmitz ended up being injured at the game the day before, and so he wasn’t able to play,” Krische said. “And then Luke Pugh, our starting center, came down with the flu the night before, so he was out as well.” 

The Blugolds would end up taking 14th place out of 16 in the men’s small college section of the championship in the shield bracket final.  

Despite a 1-3 nationals finish, there is still much optimism about what the next season holds in store for the team, with all of the current roster returning for next fall. 

“We have no seniors graduating, so we’re bringing back our full squad for the fall and the spring,” Krische said. 

When it comes to the team’s strengths on the year and beyond, Krische said they lie in the solidarity of the team. 

“The camaraderie is the biggest thing. That’s one of the biggest strengths we have,” Krische said. “These guys really do care about each other and they’re going to push each other to do better.”   

In order to make these strengths possible, Krische said that much of it is made possible through the efforts of playmakers such as team captain Cal Schmitz, a third-year student. 

“With Cal especially, we’ll be looking for leadership,” Krische said. “He brings just a level of commitment that is a notch above everyone else.” 

The Blugolds club rugby team would end the season with a 21-6-1 record, along with advancing to nationals. Krische said this was the end result of a team full of improvements. 

“This was a very successful season, and we had built on from what we had done last year,” Krische said. 

Teske can be reached at [email protected].

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