By Gabriel Wiest —
With momentum going into the off season, men’s club rugby will face off in the Mid-Atlantic Conference Playoffs starting Nov. 9. Louisville enters the tournament seeded No. 2 and will match up against No. 3 Bowling Green State University.
The Cardinals (6-2) will enter the tournament ranked No. 13 nationally while facing stiff conference competition. Out of eight teams in their conference, four are ranked.
Louisville’s first matchup of the tournament style playoffs will be against defending national champion BGSU. Louisville enters the game at full strength as head coach Emil Walton made an impact and turned the team into a national competitor in three years.
The Cardinals entered the playoffs as back-to-back MAC South Champions in 2017 and 2018. Louisville has strong players who will help solidify wins in the off season. Sophomore Issac Bales, junior Terran Meek and sophomore Sipi Save ranked top 10 in the nation for their positions.
Meek leads the conference as the top try-scorer with 12 tries and 60 points. This is followed by senior Kameron Glandey with six tries and 36 points this season.
Seniors Tommy Luc and Gladney will be team captains heading into the tournament. Senior Cameron Bernard leads the team with 17 penalty kicks.
The men’s only losses of the season were in away games. The Cardinals will need to hit the field with confidence in order to take down BGSU.
The Cardinals played BGSU as an underdog over the regular season. Louisville upset BGSU 27-18, boosting the Cardinals national rank from No. 21 to almost top 10. This win secured Louisville’s dominance on their home field and was their last home game of the regular season.
Other competitors in the tournament include the likes of Western Michigan University and Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. If Louisville defeats BGSU, the Cardinals could face one of these two teams. The top preforming teams from the MAC playoffs will have spots in the National Championships.
“WMU is a very strong team but if the Cardinals play like they did the past weekend, it should make for a very exciting weekend.” said Walton.
Photo Courtesy Cardinal Rugby / The Louisville Cardinal