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Experience, Team Unity Drive MSU Mankato to Win Northern Lights

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Experience, Team Unity Drive MSU Mankato to Win Northern Lights

The MSU Mankato team is ready to make a splash.

Minnesota State Mankato keeps battling on and should be a team to worry about in the Men’s D2 national playoffs this fall.

The Mavericks won their second straight Northern Lights conference championship, winning a back-and-forth final with North Dakota State 38-33.

It capped off a 7-0 run in conference play, plus the final, and sets up a play-in game November 11 with an as-yet-confirmed opponent, but which will likely be a team from the Midwest such as the GMW #3 or a team from the Great Lakes Conference (which at first glance looks close, but isn’t really). 

For the coaching staff of Dustin Evans and Nick Mans, this has been the result of a total team effort.

With a group of seniors who provide leadership and are also solid on the field, Mankato has players who know what the experience was like playing in the play-in round last year, when they fell 74-31 to Mira Costa College.

“Many of the seniors have become impact players,” said Evans. “They have learned from our experiences last season. Knowledge has been one of our pillars, and their rugby law knowledge has led to scoring many opportunities.”

But separate from dispassionate rugby law knowledge is team unity.

What sets this team apart, said Evans, is “the heart, focus, and drive that the guys expect from one another. High expectations breeds success. Coaching this type of athlete is quite the experience.”

It helps the coaches, too, he said, and Evans praised the addition of Mans to the coaching team.

“We are also backed by a supportive alumni network of over 52 years that wants to see us progress and become better is motivating as well,” said Evans.

Tested and experienced, Mankato wont be looking past anyone this year and still come in largely as an unknown. No one else knows them … but they know themselves.