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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Men’s club rugby goes undefeated at home tournament

The seniors on the club rugby team pose after their last tournament. (Photo courtesy of Matt Cherry ’23)

This past weekend, the men’s club rugby team hosted and participated in its final tournament of the year. The team went undefeated over the course of the weekend, winning 29-21 against Albright College, 24-12 against rival Lehigh University and 28-14 against Marywood University.

Leading into the weekend, the team continued with its three-day-a-week practice schedule. The team focused on technical work early on in the week before pulling skills together to run through plays towards the end. The Leopards also focused a lot on mentally preparing heading into their first and only home tournament of the season.

“From the beginning of the week, the team was getting focused and hyped to play well in our home tournament,” sophomore flyhalf Tommy Goslau said.

Some standout plays came from freshman Jack Blackmar and sophomore Cale King.

Both had a really great day and a really great season even though they [had] never played before this year,” senior hooker Matt Cherry said.

The team played strong as a unit, with cohesion in its passing and offloads throughout the course of the tournament.

“The team did an amazing job of playing as one unit … Nobody was making selfish plays, nobody was thinking solely about themselves,” Goslau said. He added that everyone kept “high spirits” throughout the games and had fun playing.

Men’s rugby finished the season fourth out of 22 teams in the region. (Photo courtesy of Matt Cherry ’23)

In addition to celebrating the end of a great season at home this weekend, the team also honored its five seniors: Cherry, Boris Shmuylovich, Sam Arnold, George Gaspar and Mike Kobayashi, for their commitment to the team.

“The home tournament this year especially was meant to be a ‘send-off’ for our seniors, and it was definitely shown by how our upperclassmen performed. They were making plays, leaving it all out there on the field and setting great examples for the young guys,” Goslau said. “I couldn’t have asked for more from them, and they deserve all the recognition.”

Cherry said that there was a live band at the field, and the team had a tailgate and senior jersey ceremony in the parking lot after the game.

“I really thought Saturday was the highlight of the year. We all played really well … It was a really fun day,” Cherry added.

The successful weekend comes after a strong season for the men. The team made three tournament appearances over the course of the regular spring season before this weekend’s matches. The Leopards took third at Penn State Berks, first at Ursinus College and fourth at Susquehanna University where they secured a place in the regional playoff tournament at Gettysburg.

“We performed better than we have in years … Everybody on the team was committed, they put in a lot of work throughout the season, and that all came to fruition,” Goslau said. “We had an excellent season, we became friends throughout the process, and of course, we won a lot. I’m very proud.”

The team ended up placing fourth in the division, which had 22 teams in it, many of which were larger than the Lafayette team in terms of program size.

With wins both on and off the field, Goslau said that the club has served as “a really nice escape from all the responsibilities of being a student.”

Cherry echoed these thoughts when reflecting on his final games with the team.

“The whole day it was always in the back of my mind that this would be the last time I’ll play rugby in a Lafayette uniform. That really motivated me to keep playing throughout the day,” he said. “The club has had such a great impact on my college experience since I joined as a freshman, and it was kind of hard to have to let that go, but I think we ended it right.”

Looking towards the future, the team is planning an appreciation dinner to say a final farewell and good luck to all the senior teammates before starting to plan recruitment for the fall.

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Fiona Cannon
Fiona Cannon, Staff Sports Writer

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