First Person Perspective To Men’s Rugby Tournament: The X-Men Finish Off Their Season in South Carolina

Rugby team fighting to finish off their phenomenal season on a high note. Photo courtesy of Anthony Mattariello.

Rugby team fighting to finish off their phenomenal season on a high note. Photo courtesy of Anthony Mattariello.

By Anthony Mattariello

Asst. Perspectives Editor

On Nov. 17, the Sacred Heart X-Men went to Greenville, S.C. for the Division II National Tournament.

The team needed to win both games in order to advance to the final eight bracket.

Some of you may, or most of you should know, that we finished our season as undefeated conference champions. Winning our Tri-State Conference earned us a spot in
Nationals.

So there we were, sitting in front of the William Pitt Center loading up our bus for the 14-hour ride. Most people were complaining, but, honestly, I enjoyed every minute of that bus ride.

I mean yeah, I was trapped in a bus for more than half the day while my head coach was sitting comfortably on an airplane, but I was trapped with 35 of my best friends.

Not to mention, we drove through many states I have never been in like Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina.

The bus ride was filled with good movies, card games and, of course, the best Spotify playlists.

We arrived at our hotel around 3 a.m. Friday morning.  Knowing we would have practice at noon, going to sleep was an immediate necessity.

The next morning was a little rough in terms of getting out of bed. The promise of breakfast was really the only thing that motivated me to get up.

Our practice, and the tournament as well, were held at Furman University about 15 minutes away from the hotel.

With that 15 minute ride through Greenville, it was pretty interesting to see the southern culture. Fast food restaurants as far as the eye could see.

Burger King, Wendy’s, Chick-fil-A, Jack in the Box and Waffle House. You name the fast food chain and we saw it down there.

When we arrived at Furman our jaws dropped quite low.  We were on campus for no more than two minutes and we saw not one, not two, but three fountains.

Needless to say the campus was beautiful. The pitch had us thinking we were in rugby heaven. The rugby facility had us wishing we didn’t have to come back to practice at Veteran’s Park in Bridgeport.

Which brings me to our first game Saturday morning against Furman. Furman was ranked third in the nation this year, coming into Nationals with a 10-0 record.

Furman had a good history in this tournament placing second numerous times and even winning it a couple of years.

We would’ve had to play our best game to beat them.  Unfortunately we didn’t play the game we should have and with a few good try line stand by Furman we left the half down 34-7.

A good pep talk from our coach and we scored a quick two tries within the first 10 minutes of the second half.  Sadly, our effort wasn’t good enough.

The final score of our first game 68-31. The game wasn’t a blowout, but it still wasn’t what we expected.

In the end, our coach was happy with our effort. We played a highly ranked national team and put the most points up against them than any other teams this year.

Our next game was the day after, Sunday morning at 10 a.m. and it was against Southern Connecticut State University.

That’s right, two teams a half hour away had to drive 14 hours in order to play each other.

Both of us went into the game with a loss but nonetheless, we both wanted a victory.

The X-Men came out strong the first half scoring 48 points and only giving up seven. Our coach, Ray Peterson, decided that the game was over and started subbing out players.

Thankfully we were able to hold them off the rest of the game with a final score of 48-30.

Overall, it was a good weekend. We came out with a win and became the first team from Sacred Heart to win the Tri-State Conference and go to Nationals.

                  

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