Men’s rugby handled the cold, rain, and hail and still beat Cal State Monterey Bay 24-22
Players, coaches, and fans braved the bitter cold, rain and even a little hail as the Humboldt State men’s rugby team pulled out a close victory over the Otters of Cal State Monterey Bay, 24-22.
It was a tough and physical game at the College Creek Field as HSU dominated their share of possession and won the majority of the scrums, where the players lock arms with their opponent and try to get the ball to their side of the formation.
The weather made for tough conditions throughout the day as passing and ball movement for both teams seemed sloppy.
“The weather was a big factor in the game,” HSU coach Vince Celotto said. “It was an ugly looking game, if I was a fan, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it at all.”
Scoring was hard to come by for the majority of the first half but finally, HSU was able to put a try on the board and add the extra conversion by sending the ball through the uprights to make the score 7-0.
A turnover near their own try line for the Lumberjacks resulted in a breakaway try for the Otters later in the first half cutting the Jacks lead to 7-5. HSU was able to get to the try zone a couple more times late in the first half, making the score 19-5 heading into halftime.
The sloppy play continued for the Lumberjacks in the second half as they were outscored by the Otters 17-5, including a late score from a turnover by the Lumberjacks. This led to a late Otter try right before the final buzzer sounded, making the final score 24-22 in favor of the north coast squad.
Teammate and club Vice President, Andre Hascall said that there are issues that the team needs to work on together.
“We didn’t pass the ball when we should’ve, and a lot of selfish ball was played,” Hascall said.
Even though the Jacks ended up winning the game, the mood among the team was anything but celebratory as the team felt like they let the game slip away.
HSU’s forward, Latu Kolopeaua said that as a team the men’s rugby needs to work on their fitness.
“We felt like we were getting too tired too early in the game,” Kolopeaua said.
In the postgame huddle the HSU coaches stressed teamwork and taking care of the ball has HSU finished the game with 36 turnovers.
“As coaches, we felt that we performed poorly as a team,” Celotto said. “We felt like we should’ve beaten this team by a lot more than what we did.”
Celotto also stressed the importance of re-evaluating and refocusing the team heading into next weekend as the Lumberjacks head down to Moraga, California with a 2-0 record in conference play to take on a strong St. Mary’s squad.
The next home game for the Lumberjacks is March 2, at 1 p.m. where they take on Sonoma State with a berth in the playoffs on the line.