Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Champs remain undefeated

The men’s club rugby team might have forgotten what losing feels like. On Sunday, the Warhawks won the Midwest Sectional for the third consecutive year, increasing their win streak to 30 matches in a row.

The 31-18 victory over Northern Illinois University in the Midwest final also clinched a spot in the NCAA National Tournament.

The men’s rugby team won its third consecutive Midwest Sectional and extended their winning streak to 30 games after defeating Northern Illinois University 31-18 on Sunday. With the win, the team clinched a spot in the NCAA National Tournament come spring. Photo submitted

The ’Hawks began the tournament on Saturday against UW-Milwaukee. After a great first half in which the team took a 28-point lead, the ’Hawks dropped their guard and let the Panthers back into the match.

Although they ended up winning 38-22, coach Pat O’Connor thought the lapse kept the team from becoming overconfident and motivated them for the championship match.

“We let them back into the game and it was not our best half, but we looked at the film on Saturday night and the boys came out very motivated on Sunday,” O’Connor said.

Against NIU, the ’Hawks jumped out to a 19-3 first half lead. However, in the second half, the ’Hawks lost a man because of a penalty. In the end, the team battled hard and held on for the win.

Sophomore flanker Danny Krause was the man of the match against NIU. He said he believes the team came together at the perfect time.

“Our team clicked at the right time in the Midwest Championship,” Krause said. “We made some changes position-wise throughout the season, and everything seemed to come together at just the right time at this point in the season.”

Because of the win streak, the national championship win last year and their current No. 1 ranking, the ’Hawks go into every game knowing they are “supposed” to win.

Krause said the success the team has previously experienced adds a little pressure to each game, so the ’Hawks have to focus on never looking ahead and approaching each game seriously.

“We can say that we’re national champs last year, but we can’t walk around with our chins held too high,” Krause said. “We come into every game expecting it to be a battle and knowing that we always have something to prove.”

Many of the team’s players have now won the Midwest Championship and qualified for nationals every year they have competed. Even though the ’Hawks have experienced so much success, O’Connor said qualifying for the tournament is just as fulfilling as the first time.

“The team was very excited about winning,” O’Connor said. “There are no givens because on any game-day a couple mistakes can give a team that really wants to win an edge. Fortunately our guys remained focused and committed and brought the Midwest Championship home to Whitewater again.”

The ’Hawks rounded out their fall season with the Midwest Championship, finishing a perfect 10-0. The NCAA National Tournament is not until April, but the team will play some warm-up matches before then, and O’Connor said the team is hungry for another chance at the national title.

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Founded 1901
Champs remain undefeated