Divisional playoffs for men’s rugby began this past weekend, and it saw the Mavericks lose a tough one, falling to Montana State University (MSU) by a final score of 65-18. The team had a tough time keeping the game close, leading to an early playoff exit.

The Mavericks faced off against MSU earlier in the year, losing that match 39-12. The first half offered a competitive and fierce match between the two teams. The Bobcats turned the match upside down and ran away with it during the second half.

The Bobcats have many athletic players that can turn it on at any moment. The Mavericks kept the score close, battling at the point of attack and doing their best to respond offensively. Montana stuck first with an early try, but CMU responded quickly with their own try. It wasn’t long until Montana scored again, but the Mavericks were still in it. They played a physical first half, and although losing 17-10 at halftime, CMU had a lot of solid momentum heading into the half.

The second half was an entirely different story. The Bobcats came out on a mission, willing their way to scores and gaining good position on the field. The momentum the Mavericks had crumbled, and so did their composure. A punch was thrown from a CMU player, and he was ejected. The mental mistake cost the Mavericks greatly. They were forced to play a man down for the rest of the game.

“There was a stupid decision that was made,” Head coach Mackenzie Lewis said. “It turned the tide of the game. If we could have hung on with Montana it could have been a different story to this weekend.”

Playing a man short, the Mavericks had a tough time stopping the MSU offense. It put the Mavericks at a severe disadvantage and put them in a hole that was difficult to climb out of.

The team has displayed their talent all year, playing tough games at the University of Northern Colorado and Colorado College, and they will hope to carry it over to the spring season. Although the team faced adversity, they do have one accomplishment to be proud of: this is the first time in four years the team was able to make the playoffs.

“I think we have a solid core that is committed,” Lewis said. “Spring season is seven’s, which means we only dress twelve guys, so if I have twelve guys that are willing to go the distance, I think our spring season will be really solid.”

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Josue Perez is a junior mass communication student. He is from Montrose, Colorado. He began writing on staff for The Criterion in the fall of 2017 and will be assistant sports editor in the spring. He has a passion for sports and wishes to pursue a career in sports journalism.

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