The Tennessee Tech Rugby Football Club Eagles edged out a win over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in the second game of their two-game stretch Saturday.
Tech started the game out fast with a quick try,a six point play that is similar to a touchdown in American football, in the first five minutes of the match. Miguel Lastres, team captain, touched the ball down after a maul, when three or more players[including one player from opposing team] engage with the ball carrier , and a big push from the forwards. The two-point kick came from the fullback, Zach Murdaugh.
The game started to slow down for Tech after the score. There were several opportunities missed by the Eagles, especially near the goal line. There were many times when the Eagles were within five meters of the try line and would carelessly pass the ball forward or knock the ball on.
“If we want to win this game, we need to commit less penalties than last game,” said Noah Stansfield, team treasurer, who was sidelined by injury. “There were a lot of times when we made dumb mistakes and shot ourselves in the foot. If we don’t do that again, we should be fine.”
Tech did clean up the penalties and scored another try right before the half. This try, much like the first, came from Lastres, but Murdaugh missed the two-point kick.
The Eagles looked strong at halftime with a lead of 12-0, but the Hilltoppers fought its way back into the game, scoring two tries and a drop kick.
Tech’s Lastres responded with another try of his own, giving him a hat trick for the match; Murdaugh missed the two-point kick. This left five minutes left to play in the game and the score tied up 17-17.
The clock ran out with the score tied, but WKU committed a penalty, allowing Tech one penalty kick from 40 meters out. Jeff Alwes, outside center, kicked it through, giving Tech the victory over WKU 20-17.
“I was so pumped when he made that kick,” said Murdaugh, who normally kicks for Tech. “Both of our [kicks] are somewhere around 45 meters, so I knew he was going to have to get some power behind it. When he made it I freaked out. We all freaked out. It was awesome.”
Tech has an away friendly match against Sewanee Saturday, Sept. 26. Sewanee is Tech’s biggest rival in the conference, and even though this is a friendly match, it should be a hard-fought one.