The Golden Eagles rugby club capped a successful first half of the fall season by almost making history.
In their annual Alumni Game, the Golden Eagles fell to the Silver Eagles by a try, 38-33.
“In the past four years that’s the closest it’s ever been,” said Matt Dye, senior and Rugby Club President. “It shows our improvement and our ability to play hard, learn and play the game well.”
Dye said that the spread is usually 20-30 points, so a close game means the team is making strides.
“I’m really happy with the way we played,” said junior Mark Harris. “We played hard, we played with heart. If we can play against these guys well, we can play against anyone else.”
The Golden Eagles actually jumped out to a big lead in the first half before the alumni methodically came back for the victory in the second half.
Harris said their first half success was due to a good game plan and good preparation and in the second half the Golden Eagles played a slower game that favored the alumni.
“We started playing their game,” said Harris.
“I thought we were going to take it at the beginning, but they fought it out,” said team captain Kent Bakker. “They didn’t get as tired as we thought.”
The rugby team’s performance in a high quality matchup spells success down the road against bigger opponents, said Dye.
“We are always the smallest team physically, so we have to do the little things right,” said Dye. “It shows that we have the ability to play some good games.”
The Eagles have also found success in league games, going 2-0.
Dye pointed to the teams high turnout as a reason for the early season success.
In my time here this is the largest team we’ve ever had,” said Dye. “We have a lot of players and a lot of guys really eager to learn.”
He also pointed to an early season friendly tournament at Oklahoma State University.
Despite going winless in that tournament, Dye said the team was able to play all its freshman and give them needed experience.
“They’ve done an amazing job,” said Dye. “This year they’re more eager to learn.”
“We’ve been fortunate to get some really good freshman,” said Harris. “You don’t start to see the results until you see freshman getting to play a lot.”
Harris said that experience will impact how the Eagles can play the game.
“The guys who we have been playing have a lot of experience playing together,” said Harris. “We have the ability to play the game faster … Because of [that] experience.”
Dye still wants to see improvement from his players as the season wears on.
“We want to see the continue desire to learn,” said Dye.
As for next year’s alumni game, it be getting any easier. The Silver Eagles get the Golden Eagles most experienced players.
“We’re going to graduate a lot of good guys to their team,” said Harris.