The Western Washington University men’s rugby team finished fourth in the Western Washington University 7s Invitational tournament on Saturday, Sept. 28.
Western hosted the eight-team all-day tournament starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, and teams from all over the Pacific Northwest traveled to Bellingham to take part.
The University of Victoria, the University of Oregon and the University of Washington were grouped in Pool A. The Vikings took the pitch first to take on the Oregon Ducks. The Ducks fought their way to a 17-12 victory over the Vikings to get the all-day tournament underway.
The University of Victoria won Pool A, going undefeated with three sizable victories over their opponents: 17-0 against the UW, 24-0 against Western and 33-14 against Oregon.
“This game is all about decision-making, and a lot of times we made the wrong decisions on the play,” Paul Horne, director of rugby, said.
For Western, the tournament was mostly about getting experience playing together with many newcomers taking the field, Horne said.
The team has spent two weeks of practice time together.
“You don’t get better at making decisions until you get a lot of playing experience,” Horne said. “So we played a lot of kids today who are getting quite a bit of experience.”
Western’s final game in pool play came against the UW, and the Vikings were able to eke out a defensive 12-5 win, which was their only victory in pool play.
Head sevens coach Adam Roberts noted Jonathan Kaimmer as someone who “made huge strides” and stepped up in a leadership role along with Jacob Romano.
Communication was the key to the improvement for the Vikings in game three, freshman player Nick Bonovich said.
“I saw the communication got a little bit better from the first couple of games,” Bonovich said. “By that last game it felt like we were playing as a team a little more, getting used to each other’s tactics.”
Bonovich, along with several others, was sidelined the rest of the tournament with a groin injury he sustained in the first game.
Club president Nicholas Solimano was injured in the first game against Oregon, bruising his knee. He was unable to finish the game and stayed out for the rest of the tournament. Neither Bonovich nor Solimano are looking to miss any more tournaments with their current injuries.
Pool B opened up their play with the No. 1 team in the nation, Central Washington University, dismantling Oregon State University 39-0 en route to an undefeated run to the championship game against Victoria. Central’s opponents in pool play were the aforementioned Oregon State, along with the University of British Columbia and Western’s alumni team.
Western took fourth in the tournament, defeating its alumni counterparts. Central fell to its Canadian foes, the University of Victoria, in the championship game.
Western rugby’s next tournament is Saturday, Oct. 5 at Oregon State University.