Goff Rugby Twitter     Goff Rugby Facebook

Whitewater #1 But Now's Time to Prove It

College Men

Whitewater #1 But Now's Time to Prove It

Three weeks into the fall, Goff Rugby Report moved Wisconsin-Whitewater into the #1 spot in the Men’s DII College rankings.

That move was based on results - the Warhawks were beating good teams by large margins, while the previous #1, Minnesota-Duluth, was beating good teams by slightly smaller margins. That was the difference. Since then, Whitewater has continued to rack up the results, including convincing victories over Northern Iowa, Illinois State, Middlebury, and, in the national quarterfinals, Coast Guard. That Coast Guard game was a shutout, and in fact it’s their defense (31 points allowed in five major playoff  games) that opponents should watch out for.

Of note in the Round of 16 and quarterfinals was how the Warhawks were able to rejigger their lineup depending on the opponent.

“We’ve got some experienced, versatile forwards,” said scrumhalf Tim Grams, who has enjoyed a strong fall for Whitewater. “We’ve got guys who can go from lock to flanker, or from flanker to prop, so if we need a bigger pack, we can do that, and if we need to select for speed, we’re able to do that, too.”

The sting of losing the final the last two years stays with Whitewater, but Grams said they’re plenty worried about getting through Norwich, and thinking about revenge against Duluth … for now.

“We just try to build on what we’ve done in the past,” said Grams. “We’ just trying to move forward and get better through the season. We get to these games where it’s win or you’re done, we just need to buckle down.”

This is an experienced Whitewater team. They know how to close out games, and while they’ve got impressive offensive firepower - Grams, Robbie Sindic, Eric Pachowitz, Alec Teuthardt - it’s the understanding that defense is crucial at this time of the season that makes them #1. For now.