GVSU men, women club rugby teams rout SVSU

Natalie Longroy

The Grand Valley State men’s and women’s club rugby teams dominated their matches against Saginaw Valley State Saturday, September 24. The women were across the state at SVSU while the men held down the fort at home.

“We didn’t start out the best but once we started playing Grand Valley rugby, things got a lot better,” said captain Leah Fast. “We were very fluid in attack and we had some great passes and play calls.”

The GVSU women defeated a rookie-laden SVSU team, 63-7.

With this only being their second match and win, the Lakers’ chemistry is still coming together.

“As more games happen, as the weeks go by, we’re just coming together as a team more and more and really showing that we’re going to have a great season,” said the Lakers’ Lizzie Randall. “I’m very positive this team is going to go far.”

There was a lot of positivity coming out of this match, from the play-calling to passes and tackling, but conditioning is still a work in progress.

“Just a lot of workouts, a lot of fitness, lifting, everything we can do to get ourselves in shape and ready for the Davenport game,” Randall said. “We try and do things as a team, go to the gym together, go on runs together, do as much as we can, making sure we’re keeping each other going.”

Back home, the men had similar success and notched a 92-5 win over the Cardinals.

“Our whole second half was played with primarily guys that are playing either in their first game or who are not playing a lot for us,” said GVSU coach John Mullett.

SVSU was short-handed with some players out due to injury. GVSU had players to spare, but the team might have gotten too caught up with the emotion of the rivalry.

“I think we were kind of too frenetic,” Mullett said. “We need to just slowly cycle the ball and control it a little more instead we threw a couple panicky passes that really don’t help anything, they just make the game unstructured and that’s no good for us.”

Offensively, the back lines had good running lanes to move the ball. Defensively, however, they feel they need to be tackling lower.

Team conditioning is usually only once a week, but this past week the men did sprints Tuesday and Thursday.

“Those guys (SVSU), they had their heads down, they were cashed by 10 minutes into the game and we kind of looked at each other, I was like, ‘Are you guys even tired?’ and we were like, ‘no absolutely not’,” said captain Cam Maher.

The team has a good feel for what they can expect from their roster going forward this season.

“We only returned about eight guys, so all the guys are new,” Maher said. “Everyone knew each other by name, which is very big for this early in the season, and we were all laughing on the field, having a good time and that’s what it’s all about.”

Having fun with the sport and team seem to be a recurring theme, as Kent Fannin, who played on the inaugural GVSU rugby team 19 years ago, and four other men came back to watch the Lakers defeat their rival.

“They come back to the games, they say hello and we have a great relationship with the old boys that keep us all connected,” Mullett said.

Up next, the Laker men and women both play Calvin College Saturday, Oct. 1. The women play at 11 a.m. followed by the men at 2 p.m.