Headed to nationals

Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure can help in other ways.

That’s what the men’s rugby team is finding out in trying to secure funding for its trip to the USA Rugby Division II national tournament in Albuquerque, N.M. this upcoming weekend.

Coach Gary Brown said his squad has been unsuccessful in securing money for travel and lodging from ASUVSC. He expects, though, to find a way no matter what. Part of that includes receiving several significant donations that will go a long way to make sure the Wolverines are comfortable as they play two matches in two days.

One of the reasons the team is having problems receiving additional funds from ASUVSC, Brown said, is that student government doesn’t want to pay for travel. Rather, money from the school should be used for other expenses.

Brown added that the lesson he learned is you have to prepare to go to nationals every year when figuring out the team budget, or you could be left in the cold.

"We just have to raise it, whether you go or not," Brown said.
The fundraising headache is a welcome one for the team.

That’s due to the fact that it will be the first time the Wolverines will appear in the DII quarterfinals after sweeping a pair of matches on campus April 4 and 5.

The clincher came in a 22-17 win against Santa Clara on April 5. Brown said the team had to overcome winds approaching 20 mph in coming back from a 10-point deficit.

But Brown credited the opening coin toss for giving his team the advantage in the second half, despite losing the flip.

"They gave us what we wanted as far as direction and wind," Brown said.

That proved to be the deciding factor, as the backs had no problem kicking deep and into touch.

It seemed like Utah Valley liked to play the role of the comeback kid as it beat Cal Maritime 34-22 the afternoon before.

As in the finals, the Wolverines overcame a deficit — this time going down by 17 before storming back with 34 straight points. The comeback was complete around the 60-minute mark with the go-ahead try.

Next up is East Carolina on Saturday, a team Utah Valley knows virtually nothing about. The Wolverines’ brutal schedule, which includes DI powerhouses BYU and Utah, is tougher competition than most other teams have to face.

"You have to look beyond the stat sheets and the tally of points," Brown said of the losses to the Cougars and Utes. "It"s about the character of the match."

That being said, Brown is still trying to get as much information as he can about the Pirates in order to not take anything for granted.

"We kind of have to mine the Internet," Brown said.

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