GVSU men’s rugby blows out Ferris State

GVL/ Rane Martin
Mens Rugby VS Xavier University

Rane Martin

GVL/ Rane Martin Men’s Rugby VS Xavier University

Brodie Orent

The Grand Valley State men’s rugby club traveled to Ferris State on Friday and made a statement against the Bulldogs.

The Lakers were up just 7-0 after 20 minutes, but then came out firing.

GVSU (3-0) took a 29-0 lead into halftime, as it surged on to a dominating 69-7 victory.

“Part of the slow start was me actually telling them to start very carefully and let it build, so we went out there and kind of played a boring game so we could maintain control of the ball, get ourselves in good fundamental positions and they were successful doing all that,” said GVSU head coach John Mullett. “As the game went on, I told them now you can pick it up, and they’re pretty disciplined about following instructions in that regard and it worked.”

Mullett said the Bulldogs didn’t play poorly – the Lakers simply had too many offensive weapons. The back line of Dylan Bergbower, John Ouellette, Chris Cantu and Zach Ebsch attacked relentlessly all game.

The Lakers dominated the scrums, despite not having one of their best players in Alex Clemons, who suffered a pinched nerve two weeks ago against Saginaw Valley State. Clemons said before the game against FSU that he wanted to play, but Mullett kept him out of the game as a precaution.

“I feel like the personnel we had were efficient and there was little reason to kind of push him, so I think he will be playing next week. I expect him to be starting next week again,” Mullett said.

Kyler Ayres stepped in for Clemons, and the Lakers didn’t miss a beat.

“(Ayres) has been totally focused on being a team player, maintaining possessions, being in the proper position, finishing tackles,” Mullett said. “He’s one of our most physical players and he’s done a really good job.”

Fly-half Louis Ricard is, in Mullett’s words, “the best college fly-half I have seen in a very long time,” and a special part of the team. Ricard came to Michigan as a foreign exchange student from France and, after enjoying his time in Michigan, decided to attend GVSU.

According to Ricard, even though the Lakers pulled out a 69-7 victory, his team has only unlocked a fraction of its real potential.

“I feel like playing like we play right now, we are on the right road to make it as far as we want, but still have a lot of ways to improve,” Ricard said. “So far it has been kind of a roller coaster because we know what we want to do and we know what we want to achieve – a national championship – so every time we kind of have an off game, we will actually take it as a loss.

“We played against Oakland and won 27-10 and for us, it was like losing because we did not play our game at all, so I know what we can do.”

The Lakers are ready for their first home game of the year, on Oct. 3. Mullett thinks the Lakers have an advantage at home because of the regulation-size field. He said playing on a non-regulation field is a disadvantage because, as a team, “we are fit, we are fast and when we have a lot of space we can really impose the game plan we want to play.”

The Oct. 3 tilt is scheduled for 2:45 p.m. The Lakers will face off with Oakland for the second time this season.