2B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - November 14, 2005
Rugby sets high goals for next season
By Colt Rosensweig
Daily Sports Writer
After four years at Michigan, rugby captain Matt
Trenary was ready to reminisce about his collegiate
"There are a lot of similarities between where we
are now and where we were two years ago," said
Trenary, a senior inside center.
Two years ago, the team lost in the Division II
Midwest regional. But, it returned the core of that
team and was rewarded with great success.
Last year, the team had a stellar season in which
it went undefeated and won the Division II Midwest
Championship. Michigan came within one win of
advancing to the second half of nationals at Stan-
ford before losing 27-17 to Humboldt State. This
season, Michigan moved up to Division I. But 15
of the 22 top players left the team, mostly due to
"(Making the jump) is difficult when you've
lost that many guys to graduation," Trenary said.
"You're building experience at the same time as
you're going up a level - it's a tough combination.
But guys did really well, and we should be (in Divi-
sion I) from here until forever."
The team also lost a considerable amount of sheer
size, which it made up for in speed and adaptability.
"Guys needed to be more versatile, free-flow-
ing and creative," Trenary said. "This year, guys
really see the game. That's the way rugby should
After starting off 0-2, Michigan rebounded to
finish 4-4 overall in its first season in Division I.
The team made Midwest playoffs, where it lost to
Ohio State in the first round. In the tougher division,
games tended to be much closer than last season's
"Winning some close games, some real nail-bit-
ers (was a highlight)," Trenary said. "We didn't have
that last year, and it was quite an adrenaline rush to
win in the last four minutes or so."
The outlook for the team's future is universally
positive. The core of this year's A-side, the top
group of players, will return for next year's fall
season. Many members of this year's enormously
talented, undefeated B-side, comprised of less expe-
rienced players, will join that core.
"I see a really deep team next year, especially with
all the new guys that came out this year and were
playing on the B-side," said Matt Russell, a junior
lock and the club's vice-president. "That obviously
proved their worth, winning all those games."
The team will have about six friendly matches
between now and next season. All the club members
have shown an intense drive to improve and win,
continuing to practice despite their regular season
being over. Michigan hopes to be ready to give the
perennial powers like California some stiff compe-
tition for the national championship.
In contrast to the less-driven club of about six
years ago, this group is committed to maintaining
a very competitive and quality program for years
"Ideally, everybody wants to get to the point
where we're something like Ohio State," said Brett
Barna, a senior outside center and president of the
rugby club. "To reach something like that would be
a long-term goal for us."
Ohio State boasts three outdoor rugby fields,
along with a powerful club-varsity team
In addition to concentrating on improving their
play, the rugby players are once again looking for-
ward to using their spring break to help others.
Rugby alum Wes Farrow is trying to organize a club
trip to Mexico, where the team will work with dis-
advantaged youth, as well as play in a few matches.
The spring break community service trip is just
one example of the many opportunities rugby pro-
vides for camaraderie. A brotherhood exists even
between members of opposing teams. For instance,
when Northern Michigan came up short of players
during a B-side match, Wolverines donned oppos-
ing jerseys without hesitation so the game could
"(I love the) spirit of the game," Trenary said.
"It's the ultimate team sport of every game in the
world. Each person at every position has to run,
kick, tackle, pass and hit and do it for 80 minutes."
Despite the pain rugby tends to inflict on the play-
ers who love it, they keep coming back for more.
The rugby club currently has 45 official members,
but 60 players often show up for practice. Over 100
people subscribe to the online mailing list and wait
anxiously for scores and updates each weekend.
Junior match coordinator Nick Harris, who moved
from the No. 8 position at the back of the scrum to prop-
ping in the front row this season, epitomizes this spirit.
"When I'm playing rugby, I'm just hating life,
every second of it," Harris said. "And then I get off
the field and think, 'That was awesome! I have to do
that again.' "
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Athlete of the Week
Name Amadou Ba Team: Men's basketball
Hometown: Nouakchott, Mauritania Class: Senior
Why: The fan-favorite Ba played just six minutes in Friday
night's 101-56 exhibition win over Northern Michigan but made
every one of them count. He grabbed five boards, and the free
throw he made - one of his three points - put Michigan at the
11/14 M Tennis Singles Championship East Lansing
11/17-19 W Swimming/Diving College Station, Texas.
at Texas A&M Invitational
M Swimming/Diving vs. Michigan State Ann Arbor
M Basketball vs. Central Michigan Ann Arbor
Wrestling Intrasquad Ann Arbor
Volleyball at Wisconsin Madison
W Basketball at Notre Dame South Bend
Football vs. Ohio State Ann Arbor
11/19 Volleyball at Northwestern
11/20 W Basketball vs. Miami (Ohio)
Galaxy claim Cup
FRISCO, Texas (AP) - The MLS
championship featured the season
scoring leader against the career
playoff scoring leader. So guess who
scored the game's only goal?
A guy coming off the worst offen-
sive season in league history.
Guillermo Ramirez perfectly
timed a deflected shot from the top
of the penalty box, sending it past
a fallen goaltender and between two
would-be defenders in stoppage time
of the first overtime, giving the Los
Angeles Galaxy a 1-0 victory over
the New England Revolution in the
MLS Cup on yesterday.
"You can't really describe what
you're feeling when you score a goal
like that," Ramirez said through
The Galaxy celebrates its 1-0 overtime victory over New England In the MLS Cup.
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a translator. "It was a beautiful
Nicknamed "Pando," the Guate-
malan term for someone who is bow-
legged, Ramirez had just one goal on
62 shots this season, the worst ratio
in the 10 years of the MLS. His only
goal came in September, after he
lost his spot in the starting lineup,
and it came on a penalty kick, plus
needed a carom off the post and the
But with the title on the line, he
did what teammate Landon Dono-
van (14 career postseason goals)
and New England's Taylor Twell-
man (17 goals this season) couldn't
do - score.
Donovan started the play with
a corner kick from the right side.
Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis
ran out to punch it away, only to
send it directly to Ramirez. With no
defender near him, Ramirez leaped
and kicked the ball out of the air
and into the net.
"I'm very proud of Pando
Ramirez, a guy who suffered all
year and didn't score one goal in the
flow of play all season," Los Ange-
les coach Steve Sampson said. "If
he had scored more goals during the
course of the season, we would've
won more ballgames. But he found
the right time to get it done."
As if to prove his lumpy touch,
Ramirez missed a close-in chance
for a second goal in the closing min-
utes. Regardless, he was selected
the MVP, quite a feat for someone
who entered in the 66th minute.
"I'm stunned, impressed and
extremely happy for him," said Don-
ovan, who won his third MLS Cup,
but first for his hometown team.
"He deserves his reward."
The Galaxy won their second
championship in five finals. This
was the least expected considering
they went 13-13-7 this season and
claimed the eighth and final play-
off seed. They have both the fewest
wins and lowest seed of any league
"It was a great finish to a wonder-
ful run," said Sampson, best known
as the coach of the 1998 U.S. team
that finished last among 32 teams
in the World Cup. "During the play-
offs, we finally found our form."
Roy Williams caught three touchdowns In Detroit's 29-21 win over Arizona.
TDs i ions victory
DETROIT (AP)- Roy Williams
found a way to silence his critics.
Williams caught a career-high
three touchdown passes from Joey
Harrington to lead the Detroit Lions
past the Arizona Cardinals 29-21
Playing an entire game for the
first time since Oct. 2, Williams
had seven receptions for 117 yards
and caught touchdowns passes of
seven, 21 and 29 yards. The last
Lion to catch three scores in a game
was Herman Moore in 1995.
Williams had been out with a
quadriceps injury until returning
last week, when he was in for three
plays. Early in the season, teammate
Kevin Jones screamed at him on the
sideline for a route he ran, and Wil-
liams publicly lamented a lack of
chemistry with Harrington.
"Winning cures all," Williams
said with a grin.
The second-year receiver might
be forgiven after his latest per-
formance, in which he made Har-
rington look good by making tough
"You don't have to be perfect
with him," Harrington said. "A guy
like Roy can make plays that aren't
Harrington was 22-of-32 for 231
yards with three touchdowns and no
interceptions. He started his second
straight game in place of the banged-
up Jeff Garcia and didn't hear many
boos at home for a change.
"You complete balls and people
tend to keep the boos in their pock-
et," Harrington said.
Detroit (4-5) ended a two-game
losing streak and Arizona (2-7) lost
its third straight.
The Lions led 19-3 at halftime
and by 15 with 8:35 left before Ari-
zona came back.
The Cardinals pulled to 29-21
with 2:24 left on Kurt Warner's 8-
yard pass to Larry Fitzgerald. After
not recovering the onside kick,
Arizona got the ball back at its 18
with 1:01 left. The Cardinals' hopes
ended at their 39 with a deflected
pass on-fourth down.
"It was obviously good to see every-
body fought in the second half and put
ourselves in a position to win," Warner
said. "But I guess when you spot some-
one 30 minutes it's tough to battle back
in this league, no matter who you're
Unlike Arizona, the Lions had
some success running the ball with
Jones gaining 81 of Detroit's 157
Cardinals coach Dennis Green
said his defense had its worst tack-
ling game of the season.
"We didn't really make any big
plays on defense," he said.
Warner started for the Cardinals
over Josh McCown and completed
29 of 45 passes for a season-high
359 yards with a touchdown and
no interceptions. Fitzgerald had
nine receptions for 141 yards and a
The Cardinals had their first
rushing touchdown this year when
J.J. Arrington scored from one yard
in the third quarter, but they had
just 38 yards on the ground.
"They throw the ball well, but
when we can take away the run,
it makes them one-dimensional,"
Lions coach Steve Mariucci said.
Despite Harrington's perfor-
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