Rugby sets goals to earn a playoff seed this year


Last year, the Rugby team missed its playoff spot by one point in the Rangers’ last game of the regular season. This year, they are looking to avenge their late-season loss from last year and make a run for the playoffs this year.

“Last season was great, although loosing a playoff spot by one point was hard to take,” Coach Kenneth Smith said. “We are a club sport, so getting players to come try something new is hard. We don’t get much publicity and when you say to people, ‘Come give it a shot,’ they get scared because of the lack of pads. The fact is that it is a lot safer than you think, even safer than sports with pads. The seasoned players have helped with recruiting others to come out and play. The sport takes all types of players. We get a great variety of players that can contribute to the team.”

Ending with a strong season will be tough to live up to in this upcoming season, since there will be many challenges the team will face.

“It is a different team this year with a lot of newer players,” Smith said. “With the division being changed, it is going to be hard season, but I believe we can do great. However, we still need some more players to ease the pressure of the whole team.”

Rugby will be face to face with some intimidating competition this year. The Rangers’ first game will be against West Catholic. The Falcons are going to be one of the teams’ hardest opponents. It will be hosted at West Catholic High School on April 11. FHC Rugby expects to come out of the game with their heads held high and a sweet victory.

Later in the season FHC will be competing against Grand Haven, arguably the toughest team to beat. The Rangers and Bucs will be battling it out on Wednesday April 18 at home. It should be a very close matchup, but so far FHC is projected to take the win.

A key rugby player for this season is senior captain Seth Udell. Last year, Seth was a huge contributor to the team’s record. Seth is the only senior on the team, and his hopes are for the newcomers to pick up the game quickly in order for the team to have a chance to make it to the playoffs.

“One of our team’s strengths are that we have good chemistry,” Seth said. “We also know what our jobs are on the team and how to do them.”

Not only does Seth want to achieve his own goals, but he is looking forward to achieving team goals. In his mind, the team goals consist of making the playoffs and going on a run to states.

Seth isn’t the only one who has his mind on setting personal and team goals. Sophomore Brandon Weiskopf has his own goals he is going to work hard for.

“My goals are to hit as many people as I can,” Brandon said. “I started this sport to hit people, so I want to score and help out the team. I also want to work on my technique and get better. I’m going to practice a lot to be able to do my job in the games.”

Everyone on the team is excited for the new season to begin. All are looking forward to redeeming themselves after losing their playoff spot by one point, especially Coach Smith.

“As always, it is a goal to make playoffs, and if we stay healthy that is very possible,” Smith said. “More importantly is that the kids learn about rugby and hopefully continue with it in college and even after college, as there are city clubs all over the state. We also have a couple issues with team morale. This will be a big concern, but I believe even though there are a lot of new players, the seasoned players will help by working with the new kids and senior leadership will play a huge role.”