Dixie State University’s rugby had its hands full Saturday as it welcomed defending national champions and nationally-ranked No. 1 Brigham Young University to St. George.
BYU came into the contest boasting an undefeated record of 7-0 and winners of the last four national championships.
DSU held strong in the opening possessions, keeping BYU off the scoreboard for nearly 10 minutes. The Cougars, however, proved to be too much for the Storm to handle. BYU junior back Ryan Lever finally got the Cougars on the board before the 53-12 onslaught ensued.
DSU coach Scott Moffitt said he was pleased with his team’s effort despite the final score.
“We never want to lose,” Moffitt said. “But [BYU] is a national powerhouse, and we knew it would be extremely tough to do. We have a lot of respect for those guys.”
BYU scored twice more before halftime and went in to the break with a 22-point cushion.
The second half wasn’t much different from the first as BYU jumped out to a 46-0 lead before Liana TiaTia finally broke the shutout with a score’s try and added conversion in the 64th minute.
DSU followed that up with another score try by Robert Schwenke in the 75th minute to make it 46-12 before Lever tacked on a final score for BYU in the match’s last minute.
“We’re still working on some things,” Moffitt said. “We have a lot of guys who haven’t played a lot of rugby before, so we’re still learning. It’s a process, but I think we’re making strides.”
Coach Jon Aloi shared Moffitt’s thoughts, saying the team is getting better.
“We are improving every game,” Aloi said. “BYU is a program that has helped us get better, and we have a lot of respect for them for that. It’s good to be able to compete with them. I thought we played tough and were really physical and that makes me proud.”
Next up for DSU rugby is a match with Utah Valley University Saturday.