Facing two losses, the Men’s rugby team is not turning their backs on the season. With three games left before the start of playoffs the team is keeping their spirits high and focusing on improvement, after losing to University of Pennsylvania 19-12 and York 26-17.
“We have had two very close losses, the team is playing well just a bit of bad luck. We have a number of young players learning how to work together. I have a positive feeling for the next few week,” said Head Coach Bryan Hymes. “ The team is starting to gel and we should win at Shippensburg this coming weekend.”
This season may be a far cry from last seasons undefeated season and league championship, but all is not lost. If the team can put together three straight victories against Shippensburg, Lock Haven and East Stroudsburg, they will be able to make a playoff experience.
“Right now we have an outside shot at getting into playoffs. I think we can go far and overcome the setbacks of the first few weeks of the season. The team will play a more cohesive game,” Hymes said.
Focusing on fitness and mental preparation, are two of the aspects of the game Hymes puts a lot of emphasis on, as well as developing fundamentals. The team’s biggest difficulty according to Team Captain Braden Story, is finding the missing piece.
“I think our biggest hurdle is getting the ‘x’ factor down. We have all the concurrence, good players and strong guys we just haven’t found that certain edge it takes to win,” Story said.
The team faces another hurdle they did not face last fall: they play off campus. They play their home matches at Centerville Elementary School which makes it difficult to gain attention.
“I think our biggest hurdle is that we don’t play on campus. The field we used to play on was taken away from us when they built the new baseball stadium,” Hymes said. “That hurts us as far as espouser. We do not get people walking by and noticing us and that hurts recruiting. It is a sport people usually pick up in college and we go unnoticed because of not having a home field.”
Hymes’ coaching philosophy allows everyone to play. On game days there is an “A” game and a “B” game. The first game matches each teams best players against each other. The second game is for players with less experience.
“I want kids to play. Standing on the sidelines doesn’t do anyone any good. Being out there running around getting muddy is what it is all about,” Hymes said.
Those interested in joining the men’s rugby team should contact the club sport department or come to a practice. No previous experience is needed, as they will teach newcomers the game.
With the end of the season approaching, it is crunch time and the rugby team is preparing to face Shippensburg on Saturday at 1p.m. at Shippensburg.