Undefeated rugby pummels Badgers

John Becker

The NMU Rugby team earned another victory last weekend as the team looks forward to its first road game of the season next weekend.

Team president Matt Kehrer said the team is proud that they are undefeated.

“The game against UW-Madison was the first legitimate game of the season and we came out and handed it to them,” Kehrer said.

At the half, Kehrer said the Moosemen only led 5-0 because they failed to capitalize on multiple opportunities.

“The first 10-15 minutes of the game was really sloppy, but for game one, we did pretty good,” he said.

The Moosemen were able to hold the Badgers to zero tries (like a touchdown, but worth five points instead of six), and Kehrer said the points the Badgers did score was just a stroke of luck.

Senior outside center Kyle Aho delivers a strong (and legal) stiff arm to a Badger opponent. The Badgers were unable to stop the Moosemen, who went on an offensive rampage, scoring five tries during the game. // John Becker/NW

“We have a solid defense and our pack played very well. The only reason they scored was because of a penalty kick,” Kehrer said.

Senior winger Elijah Handelsman said he saw improvement in the ruck, which occurs after the ballcarrier has been tackled. The opposing team must vault over the ruck to try and get the ball, they may not simply go around the pile of players on the ground.

“In the first game, we didn’t ruck well, and this game we did a much better job in rucking over guys,” Handelsman said. “We still need to work as a team and communicate in a positive way; not get too hot headed over mistakes during the game.”

With such a large incoming class, Kehrer said the new players are doing their part to improve the team.

“The ‘newlies’ have stepped in very nicely, we had a big turnout and they’ve all bought into the way we play, very aggressive,” Kehrer said. “They understand what we’re trying to do out there.”

Handelsman agreed and said he felt the new players who were on the pitch stepped up to the challenge.

“I believe as we get deeper in the season with some of the newer guys get some games under there belts we will be a team to be reckoned with,” Handelsman said.

The Moosemen will head to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Saturday, Sept. 18, to take on the Marquette University Golden Eagles, where Kehrer said the team will face a new challenge—a diminished depth chart.

“With a long trip like that, we don’t always travel so great number-wise, we might have half the players,” Kehrer said. “In the past they’ve been a solid team, they’ve lost some key players. We’re expecting a good match, but we’re expecting to win.”