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More Teams Return For Men's College Action

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More Teams Return For Men's College Action

Bowling Green is back. Roger Mazzarella photo.

Easter weekend doesn’t see a break in college rugby, as not only does the Mid-South stay active, but a few programs long quiet are back on the field.

West Point takes on Queens University Charlotte at a neutral site so neither team has to stay overnight. This will be the first time Army has played since they beat Navy back on October 31. Fixtures after that were canceled but it appears to be a go for the Black Knights against the Royals this weekend.

Queens played Life last week and looked pretty handy in getting a slim lead into halftime. Life pulled away in the second half. Dominic Tianga, who transferred to West Point last summer, gets to play against his old college, who he helped to a national D2 title in the fall of 2019 while in his first year there. 

Also back on the field are IUPUI and Bowling Green, and they begin a two-week home-and-away series in Indianapolis this weekend. It's been a hard slog for both programs to get to this point and these teams have seen cancelations on the way. 

"At least its something," said BGSU Program Director Roger Mazzarella, who was part of the Mid American Conference leadership that canceled the conference season back in August.

Western Michigan is back practicing and should be able to play a little later this month.

Arizona picks themselves up after a rough loss to Central Washington to take on Grand Canyon.

"Credit to CWU, they are well-coached and have some good talent," said Arizona Director of Rugby Sean Duffy. "We are early on but we felt we could put on a better showing. Lessons learned for this group, and we hope to see CWU again in playoffs." 

Next up is Grand Canyon in a game that will be shown on For The Fans Friday night at 6PM Pacific Time. Arizona will start a few freshmen, including Frenchmen Lucas Agasse and Maxime Cathala, as well as Charlotte Tigers USA U18 second row Jack Brown.

"He's worked hard, and continues to grow each week," said Duffy of Brown. "[He] does a lot of little things that you need, and the sky's the limit for him as a true second row, which is hard to find in this country."

And Davenport picks itself up after a loss to Arkansas State and hosts Life University this weekend. Life is splitting its squad as it also has sent a team to the Tropical 7s in Orlando.

Life Head Coach Colton Cariaga wasn't overly impressed with his team's performance against Queens, but turning a 10-3 deficite into a 32-10 victory has its positives, too.

"Fair play to Queens' program. They were ready to play and we knew they would be. As for us, we saw some good flashes of Life U Rugby in the latter part of the match, inspired by the likes of veterans George Phelan and Filippo Parasmo, but also impact substitutes Tyler Goosen and Donovan Law," said Cariaga. "These guys really gave us a much needed spark. Overall, there is plenty of room for growth."

Lindenwood is idle this weekend but will play mid-week against McKendree. The new McKendree program played a series of 7s matches against Iowa State two weeks ago and came away with a creditable 1-1-1 record.

"Considering all the guys playing out of position and regular starters on the bench, we did well. Big thanks to Iowa State for having us up and hosting three quality matches. They are a good side and pushed us all day," said McKendree Head Coach Joe Lippert

Also active this spring but not this weekend, Wheeling has been playing 7s fairly regularly and has beaten Alderson Broaddus twice and Franciscan six times. 

"I think we played well, especially with the matches so close together. Playing three matches of 7s in 90 minutes isn't typical, they're usually spread out over most of a day, so that was a good test of our fitness. I was very happy that we lowered our penalty count significantly from last week, and that's a big credit to the guys for putting in the effort and come into training looking to fix those mistakes," said Wheeling Head Coach Micahel Geibel.

Wheeling is among the college/U23 teams at the Tropical 7s this weekend.