By: Josh Brannock, Sports Editor
The UNF rugby team is continuing its fight for a Division III championship as it travels to Eckerd College Feb. 25 to take on the Tritons in its final game of the regular season.
The team has won its last four matches by more than 30 points in each contest. The wins include a 60-0 trouncing of the University of Miami Hurricanes Feb. 11 and two blowout wins over Florida Gulf Coast University.
In its two games against FGCU this season, the Deadbirds have blown by the Eagles in a dominating fashion. In the team’s first match of the season, UNF beat FGCU 52-7 Feb. 5.
In the team’s most recent match, the Deadbirds defense continued to stand strong against the Eagles. Defense wasn’t the only key for the team Feb. 18, as the offense came out quickly and relentlessly. Scoring two tries within the first 10 minutes of the match, the Deadbirds came away with a 41-0 win.
Seniors Steven “Meaty” Hill and Lucas Romero contributed to the team’s 41 points. The two seniors were playing in their last home game of their UNF career.
In its first season of Division III play, the team has gone 7-0 up to this point of the season, with only one game left to play before the South Championships March 10. UNF beat Eckerd earlier in the season in a home game. In the Jan. 28 match, UNF took advantage of mistakes by the Tritons sloppy play and came away with a 19-10 win.
Prior to this season, the Deadbirds struggled against some of the elite teams in the state of Florida. The team lost to both the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida during the fall season.
Alex Mross, president of the Deadbirds, said the team’s dedication and maturity has led to the turnaround success this season.
“Our dedication and taking one game at a time are two major contributing factors to our success,” Mross said. “We have been developing our style of play into a much quicker and fluid form. Our squad last season had quite a few rookies who were still learning the game.”
Update: UNF Rugby beat out Eckerd College 24-22 and are now seeded #1 for the South Championships in Mobile, Alabama.
Email Josh Brannock at [email protected]