Rugby loses heartbreaker to UNF in South Cup final

ALL TOGETHER- Tech's rugby team gathers for a huddle following its 59-7 victory over Sewanee Feb. 6. Photo by: Jim Dillon

Tennessee Tech’s rugby team lost the South Cup final to the University of North Florida March 20 in Atlanta, Georgia.

 “One of the biggest heart breaks I have ever been a part of,” said team captain Logan Simms.

Tech suffered many injuries before and during the game resulting in only having three substitutes by the end of the match.

“Trent Nash suffered a knee injury and then on day 2 basically everyone was suffering from soreness or some minor injury that they played through,” said Blake Holder, president of the team. “Then, finally, there were some key injuries that were suffered during the regular season that kept them from playing in the playoffs.”

Simms, Robert Buck, Jeff Alwes and Alex Harbison suffered injuries during the regular season.

“We gave UNF the toughest game they have ever played, and who knows what the score would have been without so many keen injuries,” said Simms.

 Tech claimed the Dixie Conference Championship with an overall record of 11-3 and a conference record of 7-1 in its last 14 games.

Tech got its first conference win of the season against Sewanee Oct. 24 in a close 17-12 game. The victory came a week after losing its first conference game to North Alabama. Oct. 31 the team defeated Dixie Conference enemy Lee University in a high scoring affair. Tech pulled out the 48-32 win against Lee.  

The team continued its winning streak against Chattanooga defeating the local opponent 24-17. Tech gained some revenge Jan. 30 when it won its rematch with UNA, 20-14.

Tech’s opponents were out scored 134-29 in its next three contests against: Sewanee, Chattanooga and Lee. The team carried the momentum into the National Small College Rugby Organization South Cup tournament. The squad won its first round match against Valdosta State, 31-22, before losing the South Cup final

Tech Rugby started the season ranked 47th and is expected to be ranked higher when new rankings are released in May.

 “It was a dream season. Only losing one conference game is basically all you can ask for besides of course winning them all. We went further than any other Tech Rugby team had gone, won our conference, and almost won the south cup to continue moving on. For me personally I couldn't be happier with the season Tech Rugby had,” said Holder.

The schedule for the team’s fall 2016 campaign has not been released.