By Kari Condel
It is that time of year again for the intramural fields to serve as home to the DeSales men’s rugby team until the early November.
The men’s team began competitive play in the Lehigh Valley Rugby Tournament to assess their strengths and weaknesses before the season begins.
Founded in 2011 as a 7s program, with seven players per team, and later transitioning to the standard 15s program, with 15 players per team, in 2013, the team has always had the long-lasting qualities of hard work and tenacity.
Participating in a three-tiered division, the university team is currently seated in the second-tier. Focusing on the level of competition and looking to further his team’s experience, Level 200 certified club coach and player Matt Heineman notes his season goals, with no hesitation:
“…to go undefeated and to get back into the first-tier.”
In order to accomplish such a feat, the team must remain undefeated throughout their season, and win in a match against the lowest ranked team in the first-tier. The team competed in the first-tier last season and experienced some difficulty maintaining their elite status, ending the season 1-61. With grit and determination, the team aims to reclaim their first-tier status and reputation.
The team is currently composed of 20 men, including four new freshmen. A weakness of the squad is retaining players, as they have quick turnover time.
“One of our longstanding goals is to make rugby more popular on campus, gain support and get more numbers to join the team,” noted club president and player John Arcidiacono.
Dedication does not fall short with the upper-tier management of the club sport, as players continue to step up to provide their teammates with the best experiences possible. Heineman and Arcidiacono are two players that exemplify such devotion. Heineman uses his abilities to educate and teach the lineup, while Arcidiacono motivates and pushes the entirety of the team to reach their fullest potential, as seen through his long-term goal for his group:
“…ultimately looking towards growing the program and becoming one of the top teams in tier one.”
Enthusiasm for the future is a main focus for the team, as they are constantly reaching for goals both short- and longterm, both individually and united.
“One of our goals this season is to win the championship,” noted Arcidiacono with an affirmative nod from Heineman. The journey to this destination commences on Sep. 16 as the senior and junior duo, respectively, will look to lead their unwavering group of players to victory.
DeSales men’s rugby team will look to make a statement of their allegiance and adherence for one reason and one reason alone: the love of the game.
Be sure to catch the rising group during their home opener on Sep. 23 against Kutztown and stay tuned to hear about their soon successes.