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Aircraft Charter Solutions PoW - Austin Haecherl

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Aircraft Charter Solutions PoW - Austin Haecherl

Austin Haecherl takes the ball forward for Minnesota-Duluth. Henry Elholm photo.

If you read Goff Rugby Report a lot you will realize that we have a soft spot for the unheralded players.

This statement, of course, is a bit of a joke in that we at GRR are the heralds, and therefore, if mention them, are they still unheralded? Well, what we mean is, the players who don’t always show up on the scoresheet, and the players not always mentioned in team game reports and things like that.

So that’s why we’re talking about Austin Haecherl. Every good backline needs a play who is the link in the chain - the player who runs the decoy lines, and catches and passes quickly; the player who makes his tackles, catches kicks, and creates opportunities for others.

This weekend with University of Minnesota-Duluth, that man was Haecherl.

Dummy runner. Haecherl's work sets up chances for the likes of Logan Hansen. Henry Elholm photo.
Austin Haecherl

Not big or imposing, Haecherl stood tall at inside center by doing his job, every time. His biggest play may well have been pouncing on a loose ball inside UW-Whitewater’s 22, and from the ground, seeing the flashy and deservedly heralded Logan Hanson coming on quickly. Haecherl popped the ball up, and Hanson was soon celebrating a try under the posts.

“Logan’s our best athlete,” said Haecherl. “Trace is a great play. I am surrounded by Trace, Logan, and Matthew Martin. I am the luckiest man in DII college rugby. I just try to work with them. We’ve always got another guy on our butt. That’s why we go 100% all the time. We know we’ve got someone with us.”

They needed all 100% of that 100% as Whitewater was a constant scoring threat, and pinned Duluth on their goal line for long periods. At 15-9, the Fighting Penguins had a slim, slim lead. Too slim.

“We knew Whitewater gives us a really good match. I give it up to Whitewater, especially their 15 [Eric Pachowitz]. They are a great team and put us under pressure. It was tough. it’s never an easy match in the final four. Those are the best four teams in the nation. We come in every year and believe in the game plan.”

Haecherl said the culture and approach of the team is important. They win, but they also expect a lot of themselves. The key, though, is while the standards are high, morale has to be higher, too.

“The players just play; the coaches coach. We try to keep that how it is. We like the coach to coach the players. We don’t get chippy with each other because then it goes downhill. I mean, we get chippy sometimes; we’re boys. But we strive for 100% positivity.”

#12 has plenty of talent to work with. Henry Elholm photo.
Austin Haecherl

There were several impressive performances from the top DII teams this year and this final weekend. Certainly Duluth got a big boost from their second row of Connor Gleason and Andrew Buntrock. Certainly Luc Desroches was a game breaker, and Bolstad the deserved MVP of the final. Hanson was brilliant and Martin equally so. But kudos to the guys just getting it done, guys like Austin Haecherl, our Aircraft Charter Solutions Player of the Week.