Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

RUGBY EAGLES SOAR ; Club Moves on to Regional Qualifying Round for the First Time in Its History

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

RUGBY EAGLES SOAR ; Club Moves on to Regional Qualifying Round for the First Time in Its History

Article excerpt

The University of Southern Indiana's Rugby Club is celebrating its most successful year in club history, going undefeated in conference play, winning the National Small College Rugby Organization State Championship for the second year in a row, and advancing to the regional qualifying round for the first time in club history. The team, part of Division III (small college) rugby defeated Wisconsin Parkside, the team that defeated them a year ago in the qualifying match. They competed in the Mid-Central Regional Tournament Saturday and Sunday in Elkhart, Ind. Only four of the 56 Midwest teams advanced to the regional.

Winners of the four national regionals move on to the national finals in April in Glendale, Colo., headquarters of the USA Rugby Association.

The Eagles took on Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, in their first semifinal match, winning 31-17 at Moose Rugby Grounds in Elkhart, Ind.

Aaron Gelhousen and Tyler Duke gave USI a 14-0 lead, but the Barons tied it at 14-14 at the half. Scores by Tyler Pipes and Berto Campos lifted the Eagles into Sunday's final against defending national champions St. John's University of Collegeville, Minn.

The Johnnies took a 22-5 lead into halftime and the Eagles could never catch up, losing 22-10. USI flyhalf Doug Rose was named tourney MVP. The Eagles' Adam Kunkel and St. John's Tony Bauer were selected by their coaching staffs as recipients of the Heart & Soul award.

"This is a great bunch of student athletes," said Kurt Murrell, head coach. "They run most of the organization on their own. It's incredible to see where they've come from and where they're going now. Most of these guys haven't had past rugby experience."

This is Murrell's fifth year volunteering to coach the club along with two other volunteer coaches. Until recent years, much of the coaching was done by the players themselves. …

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