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Lessons learned

After losing 33-26 to Florida Atlantic University and winning by forfeit to the University of Miami at the Florida Rugby Union College Championships in Tampa, Fla., the UNF rugby club is proud of the resilience it showed but knows it could have done better, UNF Rugby President Jackson Frenot said.

The UNF rugby club entered the championships with high expectations and a lot of confidence, team captain Max Schwartz said.

After upsetting FAU earlier in the season, UNF quickly fell behind in the first half of the two teams’ tournament match. UNF executed a surge in the second half but came up short in the final minutes.

“We didn’t play our best in the first half, but we showed a lot of character in the second half,”  Frenot said. “It’s frustrating because we didn’t really feel like we accomplished what we went to Tampa to do. Instead of going home after FAU, we wanted to fight and take out our aggression on Miami.”

After their loss, the Ospreys were slotted to take on the Hurricanes in the third-place match, but Miami forfeited its match with UNF after it suffered a close loss to University of South Florida.

“It’s a slap in the face to us because the last several years we have been facing grief from Miami’s coach for not following the rules, and then he just goes and breaks them himself,” Schwartz said.

The first-place match of the tournament featured FAU facing off against USF in a rematch of 2007’s championship match. FAU won the tournament crown by defeating USF 12-7.

“Due to limited funding and other problems we face as a program, our performance wasn’t necessarily an accurate representation of what we’re capable of,” Frenot said. “We’ve had to deal with a lot of changes this year such as switching fields and working around schedules, but we just need to continue pushing through the problems.”

The Ospreys will return to the rugby field in the spring with their eyes set on the U.S. South Matrix Championship.

“This tournament will help us to remember in the spring that we can’t underestimate anybody and that we can’t get ahead of ourselves,” Frenot said. “We just have to take everything one day and one match at a time.”

If the Ospreys reach the U.S. South Matrix Championships, it will be the first time the team has accomplished the feat since its creation in 2003.

“Reaching the South tournament is the ultimate goal of our team,” Schwartz said. “If we want to stand a chance at playing with those teams, we have to quit playing fancy and just go out there and play rugby.”

E-mail John Weidner at [email protected].

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