Men’s Rugby Falls Short in Season Opener
Connor Daniels
cdani404@uwsp.edu

Heading into the 2013 season ranked 28th in the nation; the Pointers Men’s Club Rugby team is prepared to put up another impressive year.

The Pointers went undefeated during the 2012 regular season, but fell short to their conference rivals, the University of Wisconsin - Parkside Rangers.

That postseason loss requires the Pointers to put their focus on the first game of the 2013 season.

When the Pointers hosted 5th ranked UW-Parkside this past Saturday, there was no doubt that this game was going to set the tempo for the season.

“We’re just looking to play a solid and fundamentally sound game,” said Pointers Head Coach John Blakeman before the game.

Blakeman was clear that this game was going to be a big test for his team right away in the season.

Senior captain Neiko Levenhagen knew exactly the type of mentality the Pointers needed to have going into the game.

“We’re going to bring our intensity 150 percent. We should have beaten them last year,” Levenhagen said. “We have the talent. We have the skill.”

With the strong mental attitude heading into the epic showdown between two nationally ranked teams, the Pointers were prepared for battle.

UWSP struggled throughout the first half of the game. The Rangers dominated on offense and had solid field position for the majority of the first half.

With the Rangers scoring on three pickoff passes, the Pointers quickly found themselves down 21-0 at halftime.

Senior captain Ben Geurts said the Pointers “Felt a little rusty getting out of the gate.”

UWSP went into the second half with more energy and showed the Rangers that there is still plenty of fight left in them.

The Pointers retaliated by outscoring the Rangers 19-5 in the second half. Scoring for the Pointers were Chris Ferguson, Dustin Thomas, and Sven Casper.

It was a very strong comeback for the Pointers, but it wasn’t enough to knock off the Rangers as they fell 26-19.

Assistant coach Juan Jimenez said “I am very proud of my team because I feel that the team wasn’t pitiful. This was a big game”

“We didn’t come out hard in the first half. That was our warm up, and that can’t be our warm up,” Levenhagen said. “Second half we were warm, we were ready and we exploited that.”

The Pointers emphasize conditioning during practice and it definitely showed in their opener. They played a very well maintained speed throughout the game and the Rangers could not keep up with the tempo in the second half.

Senior Captain Brady Dallman explained how the seniors’ role is essential to the team’s success.

“We are trying to be mentors all the way around both on and off the field,” Dallman said.

Despite losing to their rivals, the Pointers look to rebound and finish the season strong. Dallman said the team’s focus is still to, “Win conference again and get back to that number one goal of getting back to the playoffs.”​