The NMU rugby club closed out their season last weekend in Minnesota, where they competed in the Midwest Regional tournament.
Saturday, the Moosemen took on the club from St. Cloud State University in a close match. They were unable to come away with a win in the end, losing by a score of 30-22.
“We started out playing the game pretty well. As the game went on, we kind of tapered off,” said Moosemen coach Will Thompson. “It was kind of a tough loss, They didn’t really out play us, it was a fairly evenly matched game throughout.”
A key personnel shortage might also have accounted for NMU’s difficulties, as the Moosemen were without Tom Breilein, who plays fly-half.
“[That] kind of put a damper on things from the get-go,” Thompson said.
The team fared better the next day, routing the Western Illinois University club 57-0.
“From the beginning, we more or less beat up on them,” Thompson said. “Our forwards played real well, and our backs hit the holes.”
Kyle Ruff led the Moosemen offensively, accounting for three tries on the afternoon.
For some of the NMU players, like senior Bill White, Saturday was the last time they would play as Moosemen. White made the most of his last game, scoring a try and making several other plays.
“That was my last game playing with those guys,” White said. “It was good that we won our last game in the way that we did.”
Thompson also commended White’s play.
“He played very well,” Thompson said. “[He’s] a really fundamental player, he never tries to do too much, he’s always in the right spot. He’s a good support player.”
Overall, Thompson was very happy with the way this season developed, and that his team had a chance to play in the regional playoffs.
“Its really just a big confidence booster,” he said. “That was really the first time in a while our team’s been in that position, so I think we know how to handle ourselves. I think we’ll be able to carry it over into next year.”
Thompson has one year remaining with the club, and is excited about what might be in store.
“We get to go into next year looking for good things, because we like to win and everyone likes to have fun, and that’s what we plan on doing,” he said.
The Moosemen will formally wrap up their season at an awards banquet on Dec. 5.