Rugby: Season ends on sour note for 'Cats

Coach Willie Griffes summarized Ohio’s club-rugby team’s weekend as “a weekend where the ball did not bounce our way.”

The Bobcats’ ended their season last weekend in Cottage Grove, Wis., at the Midwest Rugby tournament.

The Bobcats did not produce the overall outcome that they had hoped for but still managed to stay positive after losing both games. They were defeated Saturday by Northern Illinois 35-10, and by Wisconsin-Milwaukee in a 19-12 decision Sunday.

“In both games, we fell victim to missed opportunities and penalties that our opponents capitalized on,” Griffes said.

On Saturday, Northern Illinois struck first and often. The Bobcats were down 10-0 before Mike Bendokaitis scored a try and made it 10-5. Both Northern Illinois and Ohio would score another try before the first half would expire. Troy Kenner scored a try as time ran out to give Ohio momentum going into the half.

Even though Ohio had an opportunity to turn the game around, it was Northern Illinois that came out firing on all cylinders. The Huskies scored on two penalty kicks and two more tries in the second half and made all of their conversions, which would end the Bobcats' chance for a Midwest Rugby title.

Ohio would have to put the tough loss behind it and prepare to battle for third palce against Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the morning. Once again, the Bobcats’ opponent was the first to score. Wisconsin-Milwaukee scored a try 16 minutes into the 40-minute half.

The Bobcats would answer twice on two tries and one Pat Van Horn conversion before halftime. Shane McNea scored 30 minutes in, and Jamil Robinson scored as time expired.

Ohio once again did not score in the second half and lost to the Panthers.

“Despite the disappointing finish, we’re going to hold our heads high and build off the successful season into next spring,” Griffes said. “We were able to improve on last season by accomplishing two of our main goals in winning the league and advancing past the first round of playoffs to the final four. In accomplishing these goals, we were able to beat two teams — Ball State and West Virginia — that we lost to last fall.”

The Bobcats will not have much time to rest before they start preparing for next year. They will be conditioning and working on fundamentals in the winter and start their first practice on the first Monday of Spring Quarter.

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