The men’s rugby team won the national title for the first time in their 50-season history over the weekend. The team faced off against St. Joseph and beat them handily 24-7.
The game started out hard-hitting from both sides. The Falcons got on the board first with their first try to make the game 7-0 at around the 20-minute mark. Around 10 minutes later the Falcons would widen the gap with another successful try to get the Falcons’ lead to 14-0. St. Joseph then picked up a yellow card for a high tackle, leading to the end of the first half with the Falcons leading 14-0.
The second half started out with a lot of jostling for position, and both teams trying to get something going on offense. With around 25 minutes left in the second half, St. Joseph intercepted a pass leading to a successful try and closing the gap to 14-7, still in favor of the Falcons. Later, the Falcons scored a 5-point try to widen their lead to 19-7. St. Joseph didn’t make it easier for themselves either when one of their players got a red card for unsportsmanlike actions a little after the Falcons widened their lead. The Falcons then scored on another stolen try to put St. Joseph away. The final score to the game was 24-7.
The Men’s Rugby Head Coach Tony Mazzarella talked about his feelings about bringing a championship to the University.
“It was great to bring a championship to BGSU,” he said. “I was 10 years old when I watched the hockey team bring one home, and I’m just glad to be a part of one now.”
Mazzarella also said that the team “just had to find the right combination and peak at the right time.” The team had some up and downs this season. They went 8-3 in the season, and also defeated the top-ranked program Mary Washington and Kentucky to get to the final game on Sunday. Mazzarella also talked about how the national title win will help the team’s relevance to recruits.
“I think it will open the door to getting more and more student-athletes from all over the country,” Mazzarella said.
The last few years, the team has been close to winning the national title. In the 2017 season, they finished third overall and the year prior they were the runner-up. However, this year the team was able to capitalize and finally win the title for the University.
“I’m just very proud of the seniors who worked to get this and the underclassmen who made sure it happened,” Mazzarella said.
The men’s rugby team has had 100 consecutive winning seasons and 37 straight Mid-American Conference championships, and this national title will only help the program’s case to get better in the seasons to come.