Moosemen spearhead charity effort

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Team camaraderie is an important factor for success in any sport. The Moosemen, NMU’s rugby team, feel that they have established a great friendship through their sport.

With this in mind, the Moosemen decided that it was time to give a little back to the community that helped to make them what they are today. On Saturday, Sept. 1, the Moosemen partnered with Marquette County’s Habitat for Humanity for the first ever benefit game against the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs.

The final was 33-17 in favor of the Moosemen.

“We did this for the love of the game and to basically give back to the community which has supported us for so long,” said head coach Chris Hathely.

After two years as an assistant coach, this is Hathely’s first season as head coach of the Moosemen.

He said he thought things look bright for the year ahead and that if his team play like they did on Saturday, they should have a great season.

“We’ve got a great bunch of returning players and a lot of good new players,” Hathely said. “It should be a really fun season.”

The roster has 15 new players some of the players on the team have football or soccer roots and there are also some who played rugby in high school.

“Rugby is a sport that grows on you,” said incoming freshman Alex Hazen. “Playing at the college level is pretty sweet. It’s a lot tougher and faster.”

Among the returning players is second year wingman Chris Humphrey, who had two trys in Saturday’s victory against the Bulldogs. A try is scored when a player runs the ball into the oppositions goal area.

“Today we went out and worked hard. All in all, we are looking good for a solid year” said Humphrey.

NMU rugby is looking to improve from their 3-2 season of last year with a chance for a playoff birth this season.

The Moosemen compete in the Wisconsin Union League B Pool. If they finish first in that pool they will have a match against a team from the A pool and could possibly play in that pool next season.

“We hope to make the playoffs this season,” said team captain Patrick Murphy. “We are hoping to turn our name in the right direction and make an even better program for NMU rugby.”

NMU rugby is the oldest of Northern’s club sports. It was founded in 1979 and tradition is a big part of who they are. Another tradition was displayed after the match with bulldogs on Saturday when the alumni scrimmaged the second-string of the Moosemen in a friendly match.

Aaron Schneider, who played with the Moosemen for five years, said it was a great idea for this game to help the community and hoped that it will become another great Moosemen tradition.

The NMU men’s rugby team earned $180 from donations that benefit Marquette County’s Habitat for Humanity.

“A lot of people think we’re just a bunch of druggies and partiers, but with this we just like to give a little back to the community,” said Jim Tompkins, team captain.

The Moosemen compete in five more games this season with two home matches. The first will be against the Milwaukee School of Engineering on Sept. 15, while the second will be against the University of Wisconsin-Madison-Platteville on Oct. 13.

The three road games will be against Marquette (Oct.6), the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (Sept. 29), and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside (Sept. 15).

The next game for the Moosemen is Sept. 15 against the University of Wisconsin Parkside, a big rivalry for NMU.

“Playing against Parkside is always a lot of hard work I can’t imagine this year to change,” said Tompkins.