Bates rugby, while technically a club sport, is certainly both physically taxing and entertaining to watch. The Bobcats started off their 2015 campaign with a big win over University of Maine on Garcelon Field Saturday.

After the game, junior Harrison Brown exclaimed, “It was a battle, man, just back and forth—a hard fought win.”

It seemed like it would be an easy win for the Bobcats, as they jumped out to a 17-0 start in the first half, with four penalty kicks (worth three points) from first year David de Luzuriaga and a try (grounding the ball in the opponent’s in-goal zone, worth five points) from senior captain Sacha Zabotin. UMaine, however, did not give up, and they fought their way back to tie it at 17 apiece. The second half was extremely physical, with players from both teams being carried off the field with cramps. As time wound down, UMaine made a final push towards the goal line before being rebuffed by a steady Bates defense. The Bobcats took the final seconds of the game to make a last-chance effort to score, and they were rewarded, scoring a penalty kick from about 30 yards out with no time on the clock, as de Luzuriaga steadied his nerves and calmly laced the ball through the uprights for the winning points.

I spoke with senior captain “Dr.” Dre Brittis-Tannenbaum after the game. He was impressed with his team and the fight the visitors put up. “They came out and played a great game,” Brittis-Tannenbaum said. “We were up in the first half and did not expect the challenge coming in, but were happy they gave it to us and were happy with the result. We’re looking to pull out a great season.”

First-year de Luzuriaga was also excited about the victory. “It was a scrappy game, but that kick at the end felt pretty good. I don’t usually make those but, oh well, I made it this time.”

His kicking prowess was certainly tested in this game, but he excelled and made a total of five penalty kicks for 15 points. Well done David, and well done Bates. Next up for the rugby team is Bowdoin, which should be an absolute battle. Come support your fellow Bobcats as they scratch up the Polar Bears.