The California Lutheran University Knight’s rugby team won in dominating fashion 34-5 against Westmont University on Saturday, Dec. 7.
The game was the second of the preseason. The Cal Lutheran Knights are part of Division III Gold Coast Conference Intercollegiate Rugby.
At halftime, the Knights led 17-0 and had no desire to look back.
“We put in a great effort in the beginning and kept doing that as the game went on. We were doing the little things right. That helped us get the win,” Knights captain Austin Malabuyoc said.
The game was physical throughout. Players from both teams had to leave the game and head to the sidelines to get blood rinsed off their legs or get taped up, but eventually everyone returned to play.
Although this team is new to the game, Knights player Ryan Munoz said he feels this team has passion and love for the sport.
“The thing I really like about this team is that they show a lot of heart. Nobody backs down. Whenever we need somebody to step up, someone steps up and makes the play we need them to make. This team always rallies around each other and that’s really good going into the season,” Munoz said.
After halftime, Westmont managed to score with about five minutes left in the game.
“We got in a groove and once we did, I don’t think there is any team that is stopping that. Once we got going everyone started doing their job and it went well,” Knights player Owen Lusztig said.
Although the Knights got the win, Munoz said there is always room for improvement.
“I think we still need to work on our conditioning. We are a very fast team, we do get tired very easily. We do have some strengths but I think endurance is the biggest factor to us getting better,” Munoz said.
Malabuyoc explained what he thought could have been done better during the game.
“There are a lot of new guys that are still getting familiar with the game and sometimes don’t know what’s going on during certain parts of the game, but for the most part everyone is learning very quickly and we will keep getting better at that,” Malabuyoc said.
Starting strong was a factor many players on the team emphasized after the game was over.
“I think we need to come out of the gates hot. We can’t get down early. There was about 15 minutes there where we almost let them score on tries, so we need to get out of the gates firing and get in the groove as much and as soon as possible,” Lusztig said.
Coach Allan Knox, assistant professor of exercise science and sports medicine, said he was very pleased with the effort and the win by the Knights.
“The message for the team was simple: rugby wins games. Stick to the game plan and we will have a very successful season,” Knox said.